Equality and justice are both aspects of the American dream. The availability of equal opportunity is the supposed foundation of this great nation. Martin Luther stated that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects a person directly, affects the other people indirectly. The entire society is in a network of mutuality, from which none can escape. However, the reality is that there are several people for whom this dream is unattainable. The presence of stratification in the society is a major cause of inequality and injustice. This stratification can be justified by the history of the country; the slavery and the racial segregation. Inequality and injustice are created by the systems of privilege and oppression that seem to be generational. Individuals do not choose privilege, but due to circumstances, they allow privilege to mould them and make them less sensitive to the plight of others. However, privilege and its dynamics are less invisible to those who benefit from them (Johnson, 26).
The matrix of domination allows individuals to fit within any space within the matrix. This matrix takes into consideration matters of race, religion, sexuality, class and ethnicity. For instance, a poor white person is considered better off than an average black individual. However, this poor white person will be regarded as insignificant among the other white people. This matrix therefore explains that individuals within the society are prejudiced, in one way or the other. This situation is worsened by the researchers inability to determine the relationship between the above aspects. However, it is true that privilege and oppression exist within the same fundamental structures. The absence of one would mean the same for the other.
With this in mind, it is necessary to analyze the human reaction, under various circumstances, towards those that have experienced historical injustices. Various aspects of the society are under trial for allegations of inequality and injustice. There have been court rulings that have been deemed unfair because of partisan judges and jury, and the oppressed races. Similar offences carry different penalties depending on the races. Black people are more likely to be handed heavier punishment as compared to the other races. Within the professional context, hiring and firing of employees has to done carefully, and by the book. Failure to do so would create nuances of injustice and unfairness.
Once we understand how privilege and oppression works, we have to bring a solution, and not be the cause of the problem. The two aspects are intertwined, but cannot be done away with while the society still encourages homophobia and sexism in all its forms. It is necessary to understand that while there are certain aspects that indicate privilege in one area, the same are an indication of oppression in another. The underlying rule is that oppression has to be done away with across all groups. Since individuals are different, any situation that causes a conflict of interest has to be avoided. The sense of identity is a personal matter and while we may be identified by the groups with which we associate, but there are those that we are inadvertently placed in by the society. The blurred lines tend to create constructionist approaches.
Most assumptions are made on the fact that backgrounds and religious affiliations determine who individuals are. This is termed as the essentialist approach. This approach elaborates that differences between the male and female gender are innate. It further adds that these differences are biological and psychic. When issues related to religion or sexuality arises within a formal setting, they should be handled carefully. The disproportions of color and race should not feature in decision-making processes. Historical injustices are a factor in most cases, but hopefully, they can be eradicated as the nation moves towards achieving the American dream. After all, the society, just like our bodies, are complex and in a constant state of change and motion.
Ethics and diversity
Ethics deals with issues related to human morality; how people relate to one another under various circumstances. It seeks to define, and differentiate between, terms such as vices and virtues, evil and good and wrong and right. Apart from enabling intellectual enquiry, ethics serves as a branch of philosophy that seeks to answer questions regarding how people should live and what is the best practice towards attainment of the same. In the views of Rushworth Kidder, the standard definition of ethics includes the science of what is ideal to human beings and what creates the ideal human character. These definitions are the summation of a humans moral duty. The application of morality and ethics are used interchangeably. Elder and Paul believe that a large percentage of people believe that ethics and religious beliefs are similar. However, it is clear that even those that are irreligious can be ethical and morally upright.
Diversity, within the social and political aspect, is used to refer to the different elements that depend on one another within a particular setting. It involves the promotion, and respect, of the multiple differences that are characteristic of that particular society. In politics, diversity describes backgrounds that are distinct and are easily identifiable. The term may also be used to define the different religious beliefs held by different people across the globe. In the Global Greens Charter, the respect for diversity is a major pillar. However, this diversity is frowned upon by various political individuals.
Issues concerning diversity and ethics are of importance in matters related to decision-making in an organization. Decision making is dependent on various codes of ethics. Actions have to be taken after careful consideration. Ethical issues are those circumstances that require proper evaluation of right and wrong decisions. The basic goal of this is to ensure that all parties involved are satisfied by the outcome of the process. Ethical issues create conflict between principles and morals. Unlike other circumstances that can be validated, or disproved, by the presentation of facts, the application of ethics, even in decision-making process, is subject to personal opinion and belief. In addition, ethics give several answers, depending on the concentration of diversity and an individuals belief system.
A code of ethics states what is expected of individuals within a particular setting. However, this code is subject to the nature of diversity within an organization. In religion, the various religious adherents have specific mores that guide their conduct. In spite of these differences, there are ethical behaviors that cut across societies, such as mutual respect, honesty and fair dealing with others. However, there are certain aspects that become different and more detailed and can create conflict in a work set-up. While it is necessary to consider the causative agents of certain behavior, leaders should consistently point out the effects of such behavior on the overall functioning of the organization. Under certain circumstances, an individuals ideology may differ from that of the organization. While there may be no rules broken, the individual has to be allowed to exercise their beliefs, as long as it does not affect productivity.
Niebuhr states that individuals depend on religion to provide with the moral, albeit the ethical, compass. There exists various ethical attitudes between the privileged and the less privileged and this creates conflict between the individual and what the society expects the individual to do under certain circumstances. This conflict is likely to create a backing on diversity. Politically unaware individuals are labeled as more ethical as compared to their politically aware counterparts (201).
Ferber, Abby L. The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 2008
Johnson, A.G. Privilege, Power and Difference. 2nd Edition, New York, McGraw-Hill, 2006
Niebuhr, Reinhold. Moral man and immoral society: A study in ethics and politics. Westminster John Knox Press, 2013
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