Six Postures of Ethnic Minority Culture: Silent and Resigned
This is the third of five posts in a series on the newly released article, “Six Postures of Ethnic Minority Culture Towards Majority Culture“. After reading this third posture please join the discussion in the comments.
Posture #3: Silent and Resigned
The third posture that we have observed is best described as Silent and Resigned. Although this often is caused by wounds described in the previous posture, the difference lies in the response. Those in this posture don’t see the majority culture as an enemy that one must fight, but as an overwhelming force that cannot be resisted.
As mentioned in the previous posture, some minority cultures discourage the expression of emotions, or sharing their pains beyond the tightest circle of family and friends. Thus, instead of expressing anger outwardly, many minorities turn it inward upon themselves. Instead of being silenced by others, they silence themselves in despair. Rather than banding together with others to form a common voice, they resign themselves to isolation or victimhood, because they feel that nobody sees or hears them.
This can lead to depression, and even high rates of suicide in some cultures. This perception of never having a place or voice in society, often rooted in painful experiences of marginalization, usually stems from a false belief that one has nothing valuable to offer. So a person, and those he or she may be leading, stays on the margins.
Sometimes we may assume this posture in subtle ways, without fully realizing it. Maybe we find ourselves constantly questioning or second- guessing the thoughts in our heads, while we sit in meetings. Maybe we tend to retreat or withdraw when faced with conflict or opposition. Maybe we find it difficult to receive praise or recognition because our self-doubt runs so deep.
“…we have worth and dignity because of who He created us to be, not because of the way society may perceive us.”
But we serve a God who sees the invisible, hears the voiceless, and remembers those who have been forgotten. He teaches us to voice our pain to Him. He reminds us that we have worth and dignity because of who He created us to be, not because of the way society may perceive us. And as we lead out of this truth, God empowers us to lead even in contexts where we feel we have no voice!
Moreover, we don’t need to be seen, before we can see others on the margins; we don’t need to be heard, before we can hear the voiceless. We can advocate for others, even more so because we understand their pain. How can we empower others to live out of their unique beauty and dignity, which we know has been hidden for too long?
Discussion Questions (Please respond in the Comments below):
- What stood out to you about the third posture, “Silent and Resigned”?
- For ethnic minorities, in what ways have you felt invisible, forgotten, or unheard by the majority culture? How have you dealt with that?
- For ethnic majorities, what can you do to intentionally see the ethnic minorities in your life (or on your ministry team)?