I have learned many new things in our Social Justice class this semester. I came into this class with many ideas about what I might be learning, but I found myself very ignorant about many issues around the world. I soon learned that I was not a fair-minded thinker and that I needed to start thinking critically to understand the injustice that goes unnoticed.
A concept that has stuck with me since the beginning of the semester is sociological imagination. Charles had told us that this was going to be an important term this semester, and it sure was. Sociological imagination is defined as having the insight to see the world/ any give situation extends beyond the individual. This means we only consider external factors such as politics, economy, government and so forth, but most of us do not open our eyes or our minds to the many other factors that are affecting the world. My knowledge about globalization was that it was something that kept the world going and was exclusively beneficial to the power elite, and like social justice, was decided by the upper class members of society. After all it seems like common sense knowledge that those with power in our society determine what is considered right and wrong. Despite all the news we hear about the horrible effects of globalization on regular people like me. I believed social justice was keeping globalization in check. However, after realizing and understanding the concept of the sociological imagination I realize this is not necessarily so. In addition I realize that as much as I may think the world is unfair with one group of people profiting off capitalist ventures, which do harm to another person’s life, I realize it is an unfortunate zero sum game we all take part in.
For instance, globalization generally involves the economic gain of a developed country by utilizing goods and services on a global scale . A good example of globalization comes from Charles his love for cocoa beans. He explained that people in Ghana work endlessly to collect cocoa beans which is turned into chocolate goods such as chocolate bars, hot chocolate and many others. We buy these chocolate goods and therefore the money earned from the cocoa beans helps support the community in Ghana from which it came. It was very interesting and special that Charles shared his history with cocoa beans with us. This made me look at all my local goods from a whole different perspective. A lot of times I have stopped and thought of the labour and hard work that has gone into the things I buy, even if it is just a bottle of water. I think to myself, this bottle was made by someone and assembled in a factory somewhere around the world. I can say that I have gained a lot of knowledge on the collective efforts of merchandise be it food or technology, not only through Charles’s story but many others. I appreciate little things like a bottle of water much more.
I have always thought of social justice without thinking “outside the box”. I always thought that if you were being subjected to it you must have done something wrong. But now I’ve come to see social justice is more about just right and wrong and how it protects me as an individual. It takes into consideration the wishes of a collective group of people and works to better serve those people. This concept has opened my eyes to new possibilities and has taught me to ask questions and seek alternatives because I understand now that there is always another way to do something and I shouldn’t be afraid to speak my mind. This class has truly made me a more fair-minded thinker.