The News, The Government, and The Figureheads are calling for peace.....but we want justice.
To begin the most accurate analysis of two core values within the social structure; Peace and Justice, we must first define these terms as to avoid any misinterpretation of the following discourse that exists in conjunction with the concepts of peace and justice. Peace, as defined by Miriam-Webster Dictionary, is categorized as: A state of calm and quiet; public security under law; a state of concord (as between persons or government) also an agreement to end hostilities. Miriam-Webster Dictionary describes justice as: the administration of what is just (as by assigning merited reward or punishment); a public official authorized to decide questions brought before the court:Judge; The administration of law also fairness and righteousness. In contemporary society we are almost led to believe that peace and justice share equally the responsibility of establishing and maintaining order in this morally bereft wilderness of North America. In slight contrast, it is my understanding that mans affinity towards or, aversion against justice (reward or penalty for ones own ways and actions) is the determining factor in his daily behavior; moreso than his farfetched idealization of a global utopian state of peace or tranquility. To begin the debate, as to which of the two imposes the greatest affect on human psychology and interaction, I will test the weight of some of the most audacious crimes against humanity using the notions of peace versus justice to scale which of the two is a more effective mode of social change.
As a diasporized African who benefits from United States citizenship in the form of various civil liberties, it would be utterly remiss to fail in acknowledging the experience of the Maafa (Transatlantic Slave Trade) as clearly a hellish experience, that shaped much of the pejorative cultural hegemony that characterizes the U.S to this day. The process of creating African slaves and African slave culture was met with resistance in countless ways. Whether it be in the form of violent rebellion, subversive dissension, or suicide, Original People from the shores of Africa to the plantations of the Americas were not content with the savage exploitation of power by the European oppressor and sought justice in every possible form. Eventually, these bonds-persons were freed after justice prevailed in the form of civil war and amendments being ratified to the Constitution (at least thats what they say). As a result, we as blacks now (somewhat) have the benefit of the many freedoms granted any other US citizen, including the ability to have this discussion (expression of ones self on a plublic forum). Had the emancipation of millions of Blacks/American-Africans from captivity never taken place (which is a form of justice) we would not be having this conversation, more importantly, greater contributions to humanity would have never come into existence. By extension, I am arguing that had African enslaved people simply been concerned with maintaining peace instead of FIGHTING FOR and achieving liberation, then black people would be enslaved to this very day. Peace, in this particular instance can only be aligned with complacency, primarily because to maintain a state of calm or quiet in the face of brutal attack on you and your family is demonstrative of an individual with no regard for their own lives. Also in the context of legality and norms, it was widely accepted and encouraged to own slaves due to its association with high socioeconomic status. This means that for slaves to be at peace with the status quo meant to embrace their captivity and henceforth acquiesce to the widespread belief in racialized subjugation.
The example of the Transatlantic Slave Trade alone can be used as a figurative buttress for my next claim, which is that; In a world where justice played a subsidiary role in our modern day social structure to the pursuit of the most peaceable solution, society would cease to function entirely. Justice can be viewed as a poor employee being fired from a job, a student being told that their academic performance is unsatisfactory, or an athlete being told that they must work harder in order to make the starting line up. To remove that aspect of consciousness from the human psychological makeup is to, by extension, remove all expectations of higher achievement because of the lack of rehabilitative attention given to those who degenerate. The belief that we could exist in a place where general practice was to simply aspire towards tranquility to govern our everyday lives, presents itself as chimerical at best. Without question the properties that substantiate the ability to be at peace include a basic sentiment of what is just; the difference between right and wrong. This, on a basic level is how a thought, such as that of peace, can come into fruition. It is because of the fundamental understanding that it is right to treat others how you would like to be treated. This of course means that because you would not want someone to threaten your personal well being without provocation, it is equally wrong for you to act in that manner toward someone else.
With the forethought that one who threatens your well being will be met with the utmost defensive fury, it is only logical to assume that you would think the same of others, consequently guiding your actions more peace fully as to avoid an accidental ass whooping[pardon my colloquialism].The opposite position however, would disagree, and would avow that people do not need an alternative incentive for being respectful of the overall human condition. For those cavemen I would like to bring to their attention the West End of Atlanta, more specifically the four block radius between Fair St and Drummond St, bordered by the AUC Library on one side and Joseph E Lowery on the other, where generations upon generations of unarmed college students have found themselves victims of robbery, assault, kidnapping, rape, and homicide. These college students, who come in peace to the city of Atlanta for an opportunity to become leaders are met with hostility and aggression by the inhabitants of this area deliberately seeking to exploit their naivety, and claim that the reason why they do it is because of a lack of positive influence in their lives. This practice has become so common place that the popular music that is generated both for, and by this demographic, reference the celebratory consensus of the young black impoverished community to exploit the wealth of the collegiate community. Interestingly enough, members of the scholastic environment (whom one would think should reject this music to symbolize a repudiation of glorified ignorance) instead become full proponents of that message, implementing elements of that culture in their daily lives, which is by and large a far different cultural perspective.
Based upon these circumstances, its appears that those individuals who deal in peace when confronted with a conflict, often times find themselves on the loosing end. It is clear that one who deals in justice will always be prepared to do what is right to establish the most peaceful situation whereas one who lives life with complacency finds themselves under the heel of those who don't. For example, is it possible to assume that if the SW Atlanta community was in fear that AUC students were armed then would they be more cautious about their interactions with AUC students. Many areas in “will carry” States have seen a great reduction in crime rate since the increase in concealed or even open carry weapons. Take for instance in Kennesaw, GA, where in 1982 gun ownership was made mandatory for home owners and then saw a 74 per cent decrease in crime[Kennesaw Police Department 2004]. Those types of statistics prove that when people are scared of what may happen to the when they behave foolishly, they tend to behave more intelligently.
To conclude, I would like to restate my position that it is justice that takes precedence over peace in times of crisis. Peace cannot be achieved without support of justice because justice is to essentially establish the most peaceful solution. Quite possibly, the reason why the United States is currently spiraling into an Orwellian distopia, is because of the long withstanding history of certain individuals who find themselves above justice. The world could benefit from much more diverse forms of justice as well, not simply through the legal system. Using Kennesaw, GA as a model, one could parallel vigilante justice with the ultimate form of keeping peace. Who know what else could have changed in history if we didnt sit around and wait for legislation to provide us with broad solutions to specific concerns. Where would the country be had the sixties been more radical, if Cointelpro was never formed, if the European Jews resisted the Nazi's, or if abused females hit back? It is very feasible that if we were given the latitude to disseminate our own breed of justice, we would be much better off.