What Issues Are Social Justice Issues?

What Issues Are Social Justice Issues?

Some terms have currency with others even if you don’t grasp their substance. For instance, many progressives talk about social justice’s importance but don’t know the diversity of causes that fit under that umbrella.

Broadly defined, social justice causes connect disadvantaged peoples with resources, resulting in a fair and equal society as the final goal. To learn what issues are social justice issues, consider these four examples and others they bring to your mind.


First, poverty usually occurs as a result of a complex web of negative life events and structures and not through the fault of the victim. Losing a home or going without meals isn’t simply unfortunate—it leads to worsened health outcomes, stifles kids’ growth and personal development, and generally places people in limbo.

To support them, you can employ a few ways to fight against poverty in your community. Though there are many approaches, supporting local homeless shelters and food pantries is a good start.

Incarceration and the Death Penalty

Moreover, incarceration and the death penalty are related issues that affect certain people more than others. In the US, these and many other issues relate to racial justice because of the widespread nature of racialized injustice.

In this case, because of an overzealous War on Drugs spearheaded by presidents from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, the prison population boomed to over two million people today. One factor among many was the elevated sentencing for crack cocaine possession relative to near-identical cocaine, the former infiltrating black communities while the latter was common among more affluent white users.

On top of that, several southern states unjustly sentenced black men to death row while avoiding such sentencing in similar cases involving white men. In some cases, judges even unequally changed these sentences themselves after a jury’s verdict.

Voting Rights

Voting rights are another social justice issue. Throughout history, both governments and private citizens restricted voting rights from certain people. Women and people of color could not vote upon the country’s founding. Even after the 13th Amendment, white supremacists intimidated black citizens from voting through violent displays around election time.

Today, gerrymandering—elected representatives’ manipulation of voting district boundaries for their benefit—limits the influence of a vote by someone in the other party. In addition, many argue that voter identification laws keep people without the means to obtain an ID from voting.


Our final social justice issue to address, though there are many more, is ageism, which is any discrimination or prejudice on the basis of age. This is noteworthy in workplaces that fire, lay off, or force into early retirement older staff members without regard for their ability to do their job.

In daily life, ageism expresses through stereotypes about the qualities of an older person. Someone may not receive fair treatment because of a perceived mental inability or closed-mindedness. This treatment affects seniors’ self-image, something that’s especially fragile as they age and experience health problems, changes in their appearance, and other struggles.

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