Fear and intimidation in the oppressor

Howard Thurman’s book Jesus and the Disinherited, published in 1949, is still a prophetic voice into our current world. It is time for change.

Thurman walks through the fear that keeps the oppressed “in their place.” Fear of violent action causes the oppressed to fall into an “unremitting status of inferiority.”

But Thurman also demonstrates how fear works in the lives of the oppressors:

“This fear insulates the conscience against a sense of wrongdoing in carrying out a policy of segregation. (NOTE: Now think of this in terms of our current disastrous immigration policies.) For it counsels that if there were no segregation, there would be no protection against invasion of the home, the church, the school. (Also think of the knee jerk reaction to the phrase: “Defund the Police”.) This fear perpetrates the Jewish ghettos in Western civilization, the restrictive covenants in California and other states, the Chinatowns, the Little Tokyos, and the Street of the Untouchables in Hindu lands.

Those in power and privilege fear losing that power and privilege and it drives policy, ordinances, laws, and actions. You have to stay in power so you create an enemy.

I confess. I cry a lot of tears walking through this little book.

About Howard Thurman » The Howard Thurman Papers Project | Boston ...
Howard Thurman

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