Kansas City Playlist: Charity Can't Replace Social Justice

Stupidest thing I've heard in Kansas City about a year and a half ago . . . Actually, it was a nice pro-police gathering of people rallying to support law enforcement. Nothing wrong with that. 

However . . .

The crowd REALLY got going and broke out into chanting.

Some bitter old lady in the crowd shouted: 

"Do you want social justice??? The crowd yelled out: NO!!!"

We can forgive their enthusiasm and contradiction of their sentiments. In fact, support for police AND accountability for public officials is essential in a just society. It's understandable that they would object to the language of social justice protesters even if many of their aims were, ironically, the same.

And that quick story brings us back to a TKC holiday tradition and just a bit of advice . . .


A useful passage that's worth revisiting . . .

Let's break it down according to a list neatly compiled by the good Catholics at St. Mary's:

Charity = social service. Charity provides direct services like food, clothing, shelter.

Justice = social change. Justice promotes social change in institutions or political structures.

Charity responds to immediate needs.

Justice responds to long-term needs.

Charity is directed at the effects of injustice, its symptoms. Charity addresses problems that already exist. Otherwise put: LOVE MOPS UP.

Justice is directed at the root causes of social problems. Justice addresses the underlying structures or causes of these problems. Otherwise put: JUSTICE TRIES TO MAKE SURE THE MESS ISN'T MADE TO BEGIN WITH.

Generally . . . Charity is private, individual acts.

Justice is public, collective actions.

Once again it's important to remember the conclusion of a great essay from Slate, this passage especially:

William Jewett Tucker, a reverend and future president of Dartmouth College, put it this way in 1891: Critiquing Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" he declared that a society could make no greater mistake than asking charity to do the work of social justice.

And NONE of this to say that giving around Christmas time isn't a great thing. 

For those who can afford it . . . We encourage our bloggy denizens to be generous whilst keeping the bigger picture in mind.

And once again this inspires our www.TonysKansasCity.com playlist for tonight . . .

Yes, Saturday night is for funk/rock nostalgia . . .

Rick James & the early 80s classic considers another kind of giving . . .

Pop music from the early part of this century . . .

A dance song standard of the (somewhat) modern era . . .

A folksy rock classic about giving concludes our playlist tonight . . .

As always, thanks for reading this week and have a safe & fun Saturday night.