Power and Privilege
15 September 2014
Path of Least Resistance
Was there ever a time when you didn't stand up for someone being taunted, or ridiculed, or bullied? A time when you made the choice to fit in with the crowd, to be liked by others, than to make waves?
For my part, I can remember many, many times when it seemed better to fit in than to stand up and stand out. I preferred harmony over justice, security over compassion. I grew up in an upper middle-class family and somehow got the feeling that we were people who didn't make waves. We cared about the forgotten and forsaken, the abandoned and confused, but we didn't exactly "make waves" for them. The whole idea of protest was foreign. Honestly, what would be the worst thing that would happen if I made waves? Opposition? - It would have been worth it than just waiting around doing nothing. And I now feel foolish for making that choice. We were also Catholic, which brings an irony into it. It is often said that Jesus "comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable." We were much more interested in being comforted than being afflicted. Given that we were so comfortable, I'm not sure Jesus would have liked us that much. But we didn't think about that.
It gets worse. If I am honest I can also remember times when I myself was the perpetrator of the sin: the one who sinned against others in thought, word, and action. For example, I can remember playing basketball in high school, and ridiculing people who were gay. I wanted to fit into the basketball crowd, especially as the new kid. I am not proud of it, but I remember it. It was a sin then and it's a sin now. If I only decided to oppose instead of join in, I could have avoided guilt, sin and embarrassment. I could have stopped them and risked being the one ostracized too. Now that I go back and think about it, I can guarantee either one of two things: 1. Nothing would have happened or 2....
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