What does injustice mean to you? For some, the answer lies in how people are treated. It could be in abusive relationships, or a hostile work environment. It could also be acts that were done upon us that we can’t let go of. In any case, injustice is more commonplace than people realize.
There have been two times in my life I was accused of plagiarism. Both times I wasn’t guilty but I didn’t understand why it happened. The first time I was in high school. My parents sent me to a prep school with the money they had saved for my college education because the public school system at the time was failing me. I was in way over my head. I was surrounded by kids who had money and had no problem flaunting it. I don’t think I ever really fit in that world. When it came time to do a paper in my sophomore year, I worked really hard on it. I had it ready early. The wild thing was that the paper that the teacher got, was not the one I submitted. Instead it had all kinds of notes and information that I had used for the paper from multiple resources but my paper wasn’t there. Kids can be really cruel. At the time, I wasn’t aware that the paper had been switched due to a cruel prank. I almost got kicked out of school over that prank. My case was supposed to be taken to the student board. Apparently, something happened because I wasn’t kicked out and the case was dropped but I never knew who or why it happened.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that jealousy is generally behind the injustice in this world. I’ve been accused of many different things over the years. Some are justifiable and some make me wonder what the hell I did to others that caused so much pain and friction. When people are jealous of you, they will do whatever they can to bring you down. Such was the case when I was evicted from my favorite restaurant because the ex-girlfriend of a guy I really liked, wanted me completely out of the picture. So she got me thrown out. It didn’t matter that the guy involved and I weren’t dating. We could barely talk to each other. There seemed to be a ton of chemistry between us but nothing happened. She couldn’t accept that. She saw me as a threat. What better way to get rid of a threat than to destroy their reputation right? Well, she did. For a long time I was really angry with her. I helped to affect their business by slowing it down but in the end it didn’t solve anything. No one wins when people wish and inflict bad things on each other and their reputations.
I’ve not always been the most honest person. I’ve done a lot in my past that I don’t necessarily regret but I can’t take it back. Could I have handled things better? Yep. But so could those who were involved. What other people may gain may not be fair in your eyes, but it isn’t a competition. We are all conditioned to make necessary changes in our lives. So, to those I’ve wronged, I’m truly sorry. But that doesn’t excuse their actions. I can’t and won’t accept responsibility for their roles. I forgive those who have hurt me in the past. Holding on to anger and grudges doesn’t do me any good. But that doesn’t mean that I have to allow those same people to provide more drama and problems in my life. About the only socialization I’m doing these days is writing and studying. I may never write the great American Novel, but at least I’m writing.
A very good friend of mine was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. He lost eight years of his life serving in a federal prison for statutory rape of a minor. He’s now a registered sex offender. He will have all kinds of labels follow him for the rest of his life based off a lie that a young girl told because she couldn’t have him and therefore no one else could either. It didn’t matter that the family wanted a DNA kit done. The girl’s family refused. It didn’t matter that he had eyewitnesses who were with him when he supposedly committed this crime. Instead, the police got him to confess by lying to him saying that if he told them what they wanted to hear, they would let him go home. He was never read his Miranda rights, nor was he given an attorney willing to help get his client released. In fact, his attorney told him that he didn’t care if he was innocent, he was going to pay for this crime. Now, where’s the justice in that? He was a poor man dealing with a judicial system that was corrupt. All of this happened supposedly through a very powerful man in the area with lots of legal connections. Justice? More like injustice. My friend tried to tell the truth and no one would listen.
Another friend of mine was fired from his job and arrested for stalking and harassing a woman, even though it was his room mate all along doing those acts. His former roommate was supposed to have been his best friend. My friend fell really hard for a customer of his. He looked forward every time she would come by the bank he was working at and she would always put a smile on his face. It seemed that she was kind of reciprocating his feelings because she would come by, make the deposit and flirt incessantly with him. They would talk about all kinds of things and she would seem to get agitated if someone came behind her and she had to stop talking. Then things got weird. My friend started getting written up at work with complaints from this woman. She would act one way to him and then his bosses would tell him different things. Something wasn’t adding up. He had sent her in total 4 cards over a year’s time. He sent her three sets of flowers in a year. Keep in mind she never let him know that she was upset by this. In fact, it was the opposite. This was all spaced out so it wasn’t like he was sending her a lot. Anyhow, instead of telling him that she wasn’t interested, she told his bosses. Now, I’m the type of person that if a guy is making me uncomfortable, I’ll tell him I’m not interested. This woman involved didn’t tell him anything. No one likes head games. Apparently, my friend’s former room mate was telling this woman all kinds of things and sending her gifts in my friend’s name. I will never understand why men and women have to do these kinds of things to ruin reputations and lives. So where is the injustice for my friend? He’s had to rebuild his reputation, his finances, his profession, and his living arrangements because of jealousy while his former roommate is still roaming free. There’s not much justice with someone who has nothing better to do than to instigate drama. Neither my friend or the woman involved are happy. Both of them have suffered in their relationships and in their lives due to someone else’s deception. Until they can finally come together and have a conversation where healing can begin, it will be difficult for justice to not feel as an injustice.
It’s not too difficult to turn on the news and see stories of injustice among people in the community. Yes, there are always going to be people who stir the pot. But profiling is real. Men and women are profiled every day and people of color often have it much worse than those with white skin. Where’s the justice in that? I worry about our society when we base a description off a person’s color and not off of facts. If a black man robs a store, how quick is society to judge based off of what they see? Our society judges people based off how they dress, how they act, and how they function. A Muslim person is often chastised for someone thinking they are a terrorist when in reality they are trying to live a peaceful life and coexist with their neighbors. So are Islamic groups. Not everyone is out to destroy us. Having worked with Habitat for Humanity, I can attest that many of various religious sects are good people who want to live their life in peace and away from violence. It sickens me when I see the acts of a few represent the many because that in and of itself is unjust. People are not supposed to be judged based on the actions of others and yet they are.
When my best friend lost her son, she turned to religion to help heal the pain. There’s a lot of things that we don’t agree on within religion. But she has found a peace that in this world of injustice brings her the justice of knowing her son is with Jesus. That’s priceless. When you find something that gives you inner peace, regardless of what others believe, you can’t put a price on it. While I may not be speaking to her at the moment, there are reasons behind it that have nothing to do with her. Right now, I’m finding ways to deal with some injustices of my own. I don’t have to agree with or even talk to her right now because I believe that true friends will reach out when they are ready. Is that necessarily justice because I’m pushing her away? No. But neither is creating a scenario that she thinks she knows what’s really wrong when she has no clue the damage that was really done. So in this case, giving us both the time to heal is more of a justice than injustice.
There’s injustices all around us. The main thing is to not allow other’s arrogance to overshadow what we believe is right. I’ve found that some of the people who are too arrogant to admit their part in things, are some of the same people who cause others pain, heartache, and stifle their progress. It’s important to not people who do these things keep running your life. Choose your path. Be the you that you want to be. If others want to stand in your way, don’t let them. Stand up for yourself. More importantly, don’t let the injustice in this world prevent you from seeing the good in people. It’s really important to be able to believe in yourself even when the world knocks you down. Get up. Keep getting up. Because as long as we stay down, we will never be able to keep justice going.