The development of the modern world that is affected by the active inclusion of the minorities in the social and political paradigm imposes a variety of difficulties on the preservation of people’s ability to choose. In order to be able to do the right thing, a person needs to carry out a series of analyzing actions to interpret factors that influence his or her life. The idea of structural justice introduced by Young presents a perspective that the world is a structural concept. This idea provides an insight into the understanding of the relationship between an individual and the structure he or she is a part of. In the society that exists as a structure, a person cannot change the influence of structural inequality factors and is unable to make the right choices independently of external conditions.
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The core of structural injustice is in the positional differences of people in a particular society. According to Young, the social justice within the structure of society involves the ways “social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation” (“Political Responsibility and Structural Injustice” 3-4). Thus, an individual’s belonging to a particular position in a society predetermines the limited number of opportunities for decision-making processes.
One of the examples that can illustrate the influence of structural injustice on an individual’s ability to do the right thing could be a murder of an African American woman by a serial killer. In this situation, the determinants of structural injustice are related to the ethnic and cultural differences which impose inequality (Young, “Structural Injustice and the Politics of Difference” 274). They become a burden for a person who cannot voluntarily change his or her nationality to avoid a hazard of being killed by a serial killer, as applicable to the analyzed example.
Any young African American woman could be a victim of a murderer who chases this population as their target. Under such circumstances, a woman who belongs to this societal structure as a young African American female is unable to do the right thing, which is being cautious to protect herself from being victimized. Thus, such a structural injustice sets boundaries to the rightful opportunities of a society member to be safe and protected.
However, the reasons for structural injustice have a complex nature and reflect the influences of many factors. According to Lu, one of the causes of minorities’ structural vulnerability is their exposure to the unlawful actions of a criminal (46-47). However, another reason could be found in the “social structures” that place a particular population “in social positions of structural inferiority, marginalization, and disadvantage” (Lu 46). Thus, structural injustice exposes people of a certain nationality to be victimized more often in comparison to those of other social positions, which illustrates the limitation of society to do the right thing voluntarily.
In conclusion, the multiethnic and diverse modern world is often exposed to the influence of a variety of social issues related to justice and equality. The concept of structural injustice accurately addressed by Young explains the impact of the positioning in a society on a person’s ability to choose and to act rightly. In other words, an individual’s ability to do the right thing does not depend only on his or her moral background or free choice but is predetermined by external factors imposed by the structure. Thus, it is impossible to do the right thing at all times due to an inability to change the influence of the structure on a person.
Lu, Catherine. “Responsibility, Structural Injustice, and Structural Transformation.” Ethics & Global Politics, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 42-57.
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Young, Iris Marion. “Political Responsibility and Structural Injustice.” The University of Kansas, 2003. Web.
—. “Structural Injustice and the Politics of Difference.” Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power and the Politics of Location, edited by Emily Grabham et al., Routledge, 2008, pp. 273-299.