Racial Injustice is a Social Injustice

graphic protest poster — red fist raised with ND symbol next to text that reeds Black Disabled Lives Matter
#BlackDisabledLivesMatter protest graphics by Jen White-Johnson @jtknoxroxs

What causes Social Injustice?

A. Social constructs. Structural Inequality. Systemic prejudice.

What creates those constructs?

A. Words. Language is community transmission for ideas. Ideas create Labels. Labels create Prejudice. Prejudice creates Violence.

Labels are good for identity, but bad for people. It’s not empowering to label someone unless it is necessary. It doesn’t ‘empower’, it ‘others’.

The other, or atypical, only exists once you have defined what is typical. This is privilege.

What Privilege?

A. Privilege means a 'typical' or ‘normal’ state that doesn't need definition. Something that is too obvious to explain. White folk in a white world. Men. Straight. Cis. Abled. etc .. Now you have yourself some social inequality.

Black Lives Matter, because Black people get killed.

The word ‘Black’ is essential here. All Lives Matter deletes the context of the complaint. Sometimes a label is necessary. Often unnecessary, Normally we don’t notice.

The silent part is your privilege: the visible part is unjust.

  • If you aren’t using ‘Normal’ your sentence doesn’t need Unusual.
  • If you aren’t using ‘Brunette’ then don’t use Ginger, or Blonde.
  • If you aren’t using ‘White’ you won’t need Black or Brown.
  • If you aren’t using ‘Christian or Atheist’ you won't need Muslim or Jewish or Sikh...
  • If you aren’t using ‘Straight-sized’ you don’t need Plus-sized. or Fat. or Huge.
  • you aren’t using ‘Abled’ you might not actually need Disabled.
  • If your age isn’t important, then no one else should be Young or Old.
  • If you wouldn’t use ‘Cis’ you shouldn’t need Trans.
  • If you wouldn’t use ‘Allistic’ you won’t want Autistic.
  • If you wouldn’t use ‘Partnered’ you don’t need Single, Poly, Divorced, or Widowed.
  • If you wouldn’t use ‘Heterosexual’, why point out the Gays, the Lesbians, or Bisexuals?
  • If you wouldn’t use ‘a Man’ you don’t need to share that she’s a Woman.

Even pronouns are tools of structural prejudice.

Pronouns define your ability, capacity, opportunity, privilege. It’s not you. It’s the ‘he’.

It’s not empowering to label someone unless that is directly in their interest. We keep having to invent new labels, or reclaim old ones as they become stigmatised or curse words. It’s tiring policing a language of identity.

Racial Justice and Equality begins with White people’s words.

I don’t have an answer for this, I’m just describing the water.



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