“Benjamin Mays on Racial Privileges, Social Justice, and Social Ostracism”

“Benjamin Mays on Racial Privileges, Social Justice, and Social Ostracism”

My research on Mays and his theology of racial reconciliation and unity continues…

In “The Negro’s Church,” published in 1933, Benjamin Elijah Mays provides some reasons that prevent some individuals not to be on the side of justice and on the side of the poor; in other words, they are reluctant to be on the side of God and are afraid of experiencing social alienation from their group and losing their economic privileges in society:

“There is some virtue in being identified with the under-privileged. It is usually more likely that the man farthest down will advocate complete justice for all than that the man farthest up will. It is hardly possible for the most privileged to be as sensitive to the injustices, the restrictions and the limitations imposed upon the weak as it is for the weak themselves; or for him to feel these wrongs with the same degree of intensity as they are felt by the under-privileged. They who sit in the seat of the mighty, or those who are racially identified with the ruling class, are more likely to feel that they have too much to lose if they begin to champion too ardently the cause of the man farthest down. It is more difficult for them even to see the wrong. The danger is that they view the evil from lofty heights, if at all. They fear economic insecurity and social ostracism, which may come to them if they identify themselves too openly with the oppressed group.”

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