In a pluralistic society everyone is a minority somehow.
By minority, I mean that in an academic way. Meaning not a people group universally identified as a minority group but a group. We most often think of that in terms or race.
I mean our society is now acknowledging groups of self-identified people who have formed their own ad-hoc tribe around an affinity to create a minority.
- Those who identify as transgender or queer sometimes feel as though they are a minority group within the larger gay community.
- One aspect of the Aztecs sports fans, which I identify with, is built around an inferiority complex for their school. Phrases like “commuter school” or “mid-major” are seen as offensive. This leads to a fan identity of “no one likes us, we don’t care.”
- Speaking of SoCal… don’t lump LA people in with San Diego people. That’s offensive. Even people in Orange County or the Inland Empire are quick to say they live in the LA-area, but not LA. You can say we’re from SoCal, that’s our region and we have some things in common. But we love our differences, too.
- Youth pastors are a loud minority in church leadership circles. They identify and gather by their specialty. And they are oft offended by the larger church leadership circle.
- Geek culture is full of these self-identifications. There are online gamers, board gamers, The LEGO Movie brought blockers out of the woodwork.
That leaves us all in a weird spot. We’re all self-identifying as a minority group… somehow. And we’re all feeling a sliver of inferiority (and a sense of community) about being a minority. Misunderstood, struggling for recognition. Some even demanding laws to protect their freedoms.
Fundamentally, we know it’s a false dichotomy. Our society acknowledges that we know that our self-identified minority isn’t really the same as an “actual” minority group. (Race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) But that doesn’t mean people aren’t offended when their self-identified minority group and it’s own mores/taboos are broken.
I want to be clear. There are real minorities who experience actual oppression among us. I’m not saying that these self-identified are the same. But– they are the same in some people’s eyes.
That’s what makes it false, right? But being false doesn’t mean that you off the hook.
Welcome to a Pluralistic Society
Seriously, welcome to a pluralistic society. This is what pluralism looks like. This is the world we live in.
- Everyone has the right to be offended and defended.
- Everyone thinks that they are right.
- Everyone has the same opportunity to thrive or be “oppressed.“
- Everyone walks around with a chip on their shoulder about their thing.
And it feels weird because it is weird to those of us who grew up without all of these self-identified minority groups have the ability to gather, gain strength, form strong identities, and have a voice. (It’s not like those groups weren’t there, they just didn’t have a mechanism of activation that the internet provides.)
And in my tribe, church folk, this is doubly scary because 20 years of preaching was against the rise of pluralism. Yet… here it is!
So what? What does it matter that 300 million Americans somehow feel like they are part of a minority group, even if it’s self-identified?
That’s what I’m thinking about lately.
- How does this impact me in my neighborhood?
- How does that impact my own religious identity? (Which is wrapped up in feeling like a minority even though I’m part of the majority religion in my country.)
- Since I’m ignorant of most of these micro societies… how in the world am I supposed to not offend people?
- What’s the impact of having 300 million people easily offended because the mores/taboos of their self-identified minority group have been broken?
- What’s it look like to be a peace-maker in all of that?
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