Vengeance is mine.
Romans 12: 19-21
The most egregious malfeasance of justice in America has been treating African Americans not for what they have done but for who they are. By that definition all settlers on the shores of the New World could have also been subject throughout our history to brutal and inhumane “justice.”
Step one in our search for universal perfect justice: If we define justice as conformity to truth, fact or reason and add considerations of fairness and compassion, most of us would agree that justice on our planet is not universal. Or is it? Let’s pursue this subject as far as we can take it but with an open mind and an open heart. Most of us would agree that there is no current event that is less common, let alone universal, on our planet than justice.
In America the greatest society-wide injustice that occurred with ongoing repercussions was the enslavement of people stolen from Africa. The outlawing of slavery and the end of the slave labor camps (plantations) did not end the injustice but only redefined it.
“After emancipation, black people, once seen as less than fully human ‘slaves,’ were seen as less than fully human ‘criminals.’” (1) The American system of imprisonment replaced the slave labor camps, sometimes literally. “During Reconstruction, the emergence of black elected officials and entrepreneurs was countered by convict leasing, a scheme in which white policymakers invented offenses used to target black people: vagrancy, loitering, being a group of black people out after dark, seeking employment without a note from a former enslaver. The imprisoned were then ‘leased’ to businesses and farms, where they labored under brutal conditions.” (1)
Well, that’s history, right? Not so fast! Today in Angola prison, considered America’s most violent and abusive prison, mostly black prisoners are forced to pick crops, mostly cotton. “Their disciplinary records show that if they refuse to pick cotton—or failed to pick it fast enough—they could be punished with time in ‘the hole,’ where food was restricted and inmates were sometime tear-gassed.” (1)
Step Two in our search for universal perfect justice: When we do something that violates our deeply held sense of justice we experience anxiety and often don’t want to acknowledge this feeling or to take responsibility for that behavior. We then exhibit the behavior of projection which is the externalization of guilt, blame or responsibility as a defense against our anxiety. Hence, our historic projections against witches, Jews and, of course, African Americans. Any group sufficiently “different” can qualify as the “other” and thereby become the object of an individual or group projection.
We all have a false identity (ego) which is an illusion and a True self or “soul.” Our True self has a perfect sense of justice. When our false-self engages in unjust behaviors the “punishment” is immediate and justice is thus “rendered.” That punishment is our own self-destructive behavior when we violate the natural expression of our True self with behaviors that are not compassionate or fair and violate our deepest sense of what is reasonable, true and compassionate. In other words universal perfect justice is when we experience the mostly unconscious self-punishment.
The verdict of universal perfect justice can be seen being rendered in America today as we unconsciously react to our inner anxieties by projecting onto the “other” with overt and covert violence. Our punishment is revealed by increased rates of suicide, drug addiction, mental illness, mass shootings, gang violence, violence against women, child abuse, destruction of the environment, and other evidence of an imploding society.
Universal perfect justice without self-destruction can only be achieved when fear is transcended in the human community. To begin to engage in that process click on the link below.
Insight # 141: The people I am scared of are the people who are scared. –Robert Frost
- “Fear,” in this blog and also in print version, The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol I (2018), by Roy Charles Henry, pages 179-183.
- Stevenson, Bryan. “Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment.” The New York Times Magazine. August 18, 2019, page 81.