Although certain citizens of the United States must abide by the laws, pay taxes, and serve in the armed forces, the rewards that go along with these duties and responsibilities are often not forthcoming. In other words, there is an inequlity between duties, responsibilities and privileges. Social injustice is a concept relating to the unfairness or injustice of a society in its divisions of rewards and responsibilities. It arises when the distribution of advntages and disadvantages are not equal. An example of this was the segregated South. Three of these examples from the past are segregated bussing, restaurant sit-ins, and voter registration.
Segregated bussing was a big part of social injustice in the South. Blacks were alowed to ride with the whites, but were made to sit in the back of the bus and surrender their seat if there were no other ones. A woman by the name of Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and was taken to jail. News of this spread, and the Montgomery bus boycott was planned. The black community decided to walk, get cabs, or carpool instead of riding the cities buses. The Mayor struck back by raising cab fair, making carpooling illegal, and arresting the leaders of the boycott. The black community still did not ride the buses. This lasted for 381 days. Because it affected the cities economy, the local officials were forced to integrate the buses allowing blacks to sit wherever they chose. Each person had a responsibility to pay the fair when they boarded the bus, but only whites had the freedom to sit wherever they chose.
The fifteenth amendment of the constitution gave black people the right to vote, but in the segregated South, this priviledge was often denied. A way to keep blacks from voting was the “Grandfather Clause”. It was passed by a number of southern states and stated that if your grandfather was a citizen and alowed to vote, you had the right to do so also. It excluded blacks because their elders were slaves. This clause lasted from 1895 to 1915. In 1915 the Supreme court declared the clause unconstitional because it violated equal voting rights gauranteed by the fifteenth amendment. Even with the Supreme courts ruling of the clause being unconstitutional, the law was still imposed on black citizens, thus denying them the right to vote. While these citizens had to pay taxes and abide by the local laws, they were denyed the priviledge of the right to vote.
Many families enjoy an evening out by going to a local restaurant, this priviledge was denied to African American families in the segregated South. In Febuary of 1960, four black college students sat down at a “white-only” lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. When the restaurant refused these students service, they stayed there until the store closed . The kids came back every morning for the next five days to sit at the lunch counter, joined by a group of protesters that kept getting larger and larger. The students came back until the store was forced to close down due to angry white customers and managment. The sit-ins started happening all around the south, and a group by the name of CORE (The Congress of Racial Equality) helped make that happen by their organizational skills.. Since the sit-ins were such a success, restaurants all over the south were being integrated by the summer of 1960. Eventhough African Americans we obligated to pay taxes on the state, federal, and local level, they were denied the priviledge of eating in a restaurant of their choice.
Eventhough African Americans were made citizens by the fourteenth amendment and given the right to vote by the fifteenth amendment, they were still denied the privileges given by the white citizenry. This indeed, was Social Injustice. The constitution and federal laws defined these injustices. But because of a few citizens, black and white, protested these inequalities and demanded justice. The laws of the constitution, we thus enforced, making Federal law champion over states rights. The point being, that all citizens of the United States, who have duties and responsibilities to the country must share into the rewards and privileges that are granted to all citizens.