Could a perfect society exist in where everyone is treated like equals? Social Justice is a cause that aims to create equality for everyone in the world. However, this aim is prohibited by repressive groups that view only themselves as worthy of ideal lives. These groups try to put down the vulnerable minorities and keep the imbalances in their society. Therefore, their actions create Social Injustice. These Social Injustices affects everyone in the society, whether they realize it or not.
In the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the science fiction book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and the dystopian novel Unwind by Neal Shusterman, characters face various Social Injustices caused by unequal power. In these books, Social Injustice is created by an oppressive society viewing a more vulnerable group as inferior to them. Altogether, black people, and even people associated with black people in the historical fiction book To Kill a Mockingbird face Social Injustice caused by a majority seeing them as lesser than them.
The novel revolves around a major court case in the small Southern town of Maycomb, seen through the eyes of a young girl called Scout. Atticus Finch, a respected lawyer and the father of Scout, has to defend a black man over the accusation of rape. Through this experience, she learns about many of the Social Injustices that black people face. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout meets Mr. Raymond, a white man who married a black woman, outside of the courthouse where Atticus is defending Tom Robinson.
While speaking to him, she starts to feel uncomfortable and shifty. I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be here listening to this sinful man who had mixed children and didn’t care who knew it … ” (Lee 268). Because Mr. Raymond married a black woman, he was seen as a lesser person by the people of Maycomb. He was an outcast to both the white and black people of the town, because he did not fit into their standards of a traditional man. For doing nothing wrong, he causes fear and disgust. Later in the book, Atticus ends up losing Tom Robinson’s case. Tom is thrown in prison, with barely any evidence against him.
After this, Atticus goes on a tirade about how unfair and unequal the justice system is in the South. He tells his children about the iniustices that black people wil will face. “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life … ” (Lee 295). Atticus explains that white men will constantly cheat black men because they are protected by other white people and the law. They see black men as easy targets, and do not feel guilty because they see black people as lesser than them. When Tom Robinson was unfairly convicted, he was sent to prison.
After only a few days, he tries to escape over the fence. While struggling because of his lame arm, Tom was shot and killed. Tom knew he would surely be treated horribly, so he tried to escape. Even though the guards saw he was disabled, their first response was to shoot. “What was one Negro, more or less, among two hundred of’em? He wasn’t Tom to them, he was an escaping prisoner” (Lee 315). When Tom Robinson tried to jump the fence at prison, the first thing the guards did was shoot him. They did not consider any other options, because he was just some troublemaking black man to them.
The guards saw black people as worse than them, and did not care about what happened to one fence-hopper. Altogether, the troubles of black people in To Kill a Mockingbird show how Social Injustices are caused by a powerful majority looking down upon a minority. Overall, Ready Player One demonstrates how the powerful company lol creates Social Injustice by treating the users of the OASIS as inferior to itself. In Ready Player One, the world is dependent on the OASIS, an interactive, realistic virtual reality. The creator, James Halliday, leaves his “Easter Egg” behind after he dies. For years, the billions of people in the
OASIS have been searching for Halliday’s keys leading to his easter egg, a hidden entity that will grant the user billions of dollars and complete control over the OASIS. After Wade Watts, an impoverished teen finds the first key after five years of no leads, he becomes the most famous player in the OASIS. In Ready Player One, lol is an enormous company dedicated to taking control of the OASIS. Even though they are physically small, the power and influence they possess is extreme. IOI stops at nothing to obtain control of the OASIS, because they can then have power over the service that half of the planet relies on.
User anonymity and free speech would become things of the past. The moment lol took it over, the OASIS would cease to be the open-source digital utopia I’d grown up in” (Cline 33). IOI did not see the users of the OASIS as deserving of the free service. All lol cared about was making profits. The company completely disregarded how so much of the planet depended on the OASIS. When Wade discovers the first of Halliday’s three keys, he becomes famous in the OASIS world. Of course, he is then seen as a potential threat by 10l. The company decides to try to threaten him by hacking into his personal information. “How had they found me?
It was supposed to be impossible for anyone to obtain your OASIS account information” (Cline 142). In the challenge to find Halliday’s Easter Egg, IOI constantly uses dirty tricks, even resorting to bribing Wade’s teachers for his personal information. The company has no regard for decency, morals, or privacy of individuals. IOI will not stop resorting to crime until they acquire the Easter Egg. Later, Wade develops a plan to win the Easter Egg without IOI stopping him. He hacks into the lol database to find out what lol plans to do to the “High Five”, a group of five users that have acquired all three keys.
When Wade begins to hack into the Ol system, he finds out about a plan to use Art3mis and Shoto, members of the High Five, to find the Easter Egg. He learns they will become puppet of lol for a short while, and then killed. “Once the Sixers had obtained the egg and won the contest, Art3mis and Shoto would be disposed of” (Cline 293). IOI has tracked down both Art3mis and Shoto and threatened both them and their families until they give in and join the company. After the egg is found, they will both be killed. This horrible practice reveals the oppression of lol on the world.
Even though IOI was outnumbered by the OASIS users, they used their power to create Social Injustice by seeing the OASIS users as beneath them. When the populace of the United States turn their backs on the suffering Unwinds in the science fiction novel Unwind, Social Injustice is created. Unwind presents the struggles of three runaway teens trying to escape having their lives taken from them. In the future United States, parents can sign an order to have their teen unwound: taken apart piece by piece to be put in other people.
While Connor, Risa, and Lev all have different stories, they all share one goal: survive until they turn eighteen. However, this goal is close to impossible due to how society looks down on Unwinds. When parents in Unwind sign the order to have their teen unwound, their children cease to have rights and become property. Risa explains to Connor that they are no longer people, just organs waiting to be harvested. “Once the unwind orders were signed, we all became government property. Kicking-AWOL makes us federal criminals” (Shusterman 57). If Unwinds defy their unwinding, they become criminals.
Large groups are even dedicated to catching these “criminals”, who are just trying to save their own lives. Unwinds are not seen as scared children, but as bundles of parts that need to be divided. Before they can find a real safe place, the three have to be transported between homes of people willing to protect the escaping Unwinds. Their first home is in the basement of an antiques shop, owned by an old woman named Sylvia. When Sylvia takes the escaped Unwinds under her wing, she knows they will not trust her. Some will even try to escape out of fear.
However, she understands how it feels to be treated as less than a person. “She can tell they still don’t trust her – but then, why should they? Unwinds exist in the constant shadow of betrayal” (Shusterman 84). Unwinds are constantly betrayed by people who want to make a quick buck. Exploiters avoid thinking of them as real people. Unwinds to them are just a mash of body parts that each have their own price tag. Therefore, the Unwinds face many Social Injustices. Ultimately, unwinding was created to solve the abortion dilemma that caused a civil war in the United States.
People were so eager to finally end the Heartland War that just about any law would pass. They combined the technology of unwinding with the abortion dilemma so quickly that they forgot to consider the ethics of ending a teen’s life. “It didn’t take long for ethics to be crushed by greed. Unwinding became big business, and people let it happen” (Shusterman 224). People wanted cheaper, more accessible body part replacement. However, they did not think of the teens that would have their lives taken from them. They decided there was reason the teens were unwound, and considered the Unwinds as lesser than them.
In summary, the people in the dystopian United States caused Social Injustice towards the Unwinds by treating them as less than people. In conclusion, as demonstrated in the quoted novels, Social Injustice is produced when a vicious and powerful group judges a defenseless group as lesser than themselves. In To Kill a Mockingbird, black people were judged as not deserving of basic rights just because of their skin color. In Ready Player One, users of the OASIS such as Wade were constantly targeted and killed by the oppressive IOI.
Lastly, unwinds in the novel Unwind were seen as dangerous criminals undeserving of protection under the law, even though they were just scared kids trying to save their lives. People around the world still face Social Injustice every day caused by factors they cannot control. The only way to stop this suffering is for people to think about how they treat groups that do not have the opportunities that they do. Could humans one day live in a world where everyone has equal opportunities? It is possible, but only if people work together to end Social Injustice.