Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D.
“No justice. No Peace.” What exactly does this sign mean?
We think we know what it means — that we who want justice are willing to fight for it. The words have a deeper meaning, of course. They are intended to remind us that it is not possible to have a peaceful society as long as there is injustice, because inevitably those who are oppressed will rise up. As slogans go, this one is pretty clever, so clever, in fact, that it’s easy to get caught up in the words and forget to think about what they actually mean.
What is it that we really want when we say we want justice?
A year ago I would have easily answered “true equality under the law” — as opposed to our current criminal (in)justice system, in which race clearly plays a major role. More to the point, I would have said that I wanted the determination of guilt and the administration of punishment to not be correlated to race or any other demographic characteristic.