Human Dignity In Jim Crow Law

1175 Words 5 Pages
Throughout American society, there have always been issues with racism. Although racial issue started after the Civil War around 1877, it was not until the 1950s and 1960s when people started to take action. In these times, there was social injustice from the white community onto the black community through Jim Crow laws, lack of safety, police brutality and lack of equal wages. All of these issues within racism at this time violate the social justice principles of common good, human dignity and right to work according to certain Church documents, such as Gaudiam Et Spes. A huge social injustice brought upon the black community by the white community was the forced infusion of the Jim Crow laws. These are laws that segregate and disenfranchise …show more content…
The Jim Crow laws violated all of the social justice principles, but it more specifically violated human dignity and common good. Human dignity is the honoring of each individual each individual from the moment of conception until their death. This means personal dignity does not depend on the status of our life but on the fact that we are human and entitled to the rights of humanity. The common good relates to human dignity in the sense of summing the spiritual, material, and social conditions needed for a person to achieve human dignity. According the Church documents of Gaudium Et Spes by Pope John Paul II, it states, ‘“whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions,… ,as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons... They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator.”’ The Jim Crow laws violated this by causing blacks to live in subhuman conditions and have horrible working conditions. …show more content…
For wages, “the average weekly earnings of employed black men came to 57 percent of the amount earned by employed white men” (Smith 1). This is a violation of common good, human dignity, and right to work. For common good, it is not spiritually, social, or materially good that blacks were being paid less for the same job. Not only do they have to provide for themselves, they also have to provide for their families in order to continue living in their house, eating food, and all together, living in society. The lower wages are a violation against human dignity because it hinders the ability to respect another person’s life if you value what they do less than someone else for the sole reason of their skin color. This is also a violation of the right to work because black people should have had the same opportunities to be employed and do their job. But since their work is valued at a lesser amount, their right to work is restricted by their paycheck. It then seems as if white people are intentionally giving lower wages to lower the competition causing black people not having the choice to choose to work or not. According to the same passage from the Gaudiam Et Spes, it is a real violation of human dignity and a dishonor to God by not treating people with respect because of how God made

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