Six Postures of Ethnic Minority Culture: Angry and Wounded
This is the second of five posts in a series on the newly released article, “Six Postures of Ethnic Minority Culture Towards Majority Culture“. After reading this second posture please join the discussion in the comments.
Posture #2: Angry and Wounded
The second posture that we have observed is best described as Angry and Wounded. The history of ethnic minorities in the United States is filled with wounds, many from years of oppression or injustice. Some of that pain is reinforced by a lack of apology or even acknowledgment of past wrongs, or insensitive exhortations to “forget the past” and to “just move on.” Still others may feel their present experiences are minimized from well-intentioned people who claim that “things are different now,” when racism and discrimination are sobering realities that continue to this day.
For many ethnic minorities whose wounds are so deeply personal, whether from their own lives or those of loved ones, this can build the foundation of a posture of anger towards the majority culture.
This can manifest itself in many different situations, and to various degrees of intensity.
Some choose to separate themselves or retaliate, seeing the majority culture itself as the enemy. Others maintain a high level of mistrust, finding it difficult to listen to (or share with) Caucasians without some suspicion of motives.
“Ministering out of anger
can shut off dialogue and relationships, and discourage those who sincerely want or need to learn.”
Anger can be overt and direct, but it can also manifest itself in more subtle ways, especially in cultures where expressing anger is difficult or even considered sinful. Maybe you feel a surge of emotion when you see cultural stereotypes in the media, or you respond with sarcasm when your coworker remarks about your skill at speaking English. Maybe you find yourself acting defensively, or even with arrogance, when there’s a display of cultural ignorance or insensitivity.
We believe that anger is not bad in itself – in fact, anger has its foundation in the very attributes of God’s holiness and justice. One ought not to devalue feelings of anger, since they so often originate from a desire for righteousness, and experiences that have violated that.
However, when anger becomes part of the motivation in a ministry context, it can perpetuate the very mistreatment it stands against. Ministering out of anger can shut off dialogue and relationships, and discourage those who sincerely want or need to learn. It can separate us from the body of Christ, and all the ways that we need to learn from Jesus through those who are not like us.
If you find anger consistently surfacing within you in ministry contexts, consider what or who might trigger those feelings, and why. Consider its impact on your relationships, and whether it has moved you towards, or away from others. Has it led to greater honesty and accountability, or to silence and avoidance?
As we learn to identify our anger and wounds, and bring them to God and our community in a healthy manner, we can find great healing. God wants us to be part of His healing and sanctification process in community, in a way that does not trivialize pain, but works through it to build greater strength and character.
In addition, as we share our stories of pain to the majority culture, we can model both truth and grace, without sacrificing one to the other. We can communicate with an honesty that does not minimize the past or present, while leading towards healing and restoration, as we learn to extend grace as Christ did.
Discussion Questions (please respond in the Comments below):
- What stood out to you about this posture?
- As an ethnic minority, how have you seen your anger or woundedness play out in how you relate to majority culture?
- For people from the majority culture, what are ways you have sought to be a redeeming force amidst the anger and woundedness of ethnic minorities? (If you are brave, what are ways that you may have contributed to the anger and woundedness?)