"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God." -St Irenaeus of Lyon

The Marginalized

When people think of working amongst the poor, generally they add a critical and: the poor and the marginalized.  Yet, problems emerge when broadening the discourse as now we have to ask “marginalized relative to what?”  Generally, the academic solution is to look towards people excluded from structures of government for whatever reason, which winds up drawing the conclusion that anyone other than white heterosexual able-bodied males are marginalized.

I struggle with this idea of marginalization because it generally goes after the mainstream.  These publications might as well be an advertisement for progressive groups of all kinds.  Recently I read a publication that referenced “Catholics For Choice” because of their general openness to condom use.  But is a pro-condom group really a marginalized group?  Or is the pro-condom group the dominant voice of the contemporary left?

Do we have alternative ways of identifying the poor who we are to spend particular focus on?  Looking through the Scriptures, I see the following ands associated with the poor:

  • the sojourner
  • the needy
  • him who has no helper
  • the brokenhearted
  • the crippled, the blind, the lame

Maybe we have alternatives here to the option of lack of political representation.


2 responses

  1. TheMarginalized.com

    Very interesting thoughts. It’s important to note that “the marginalized” is a passive term – marginalization is presumably done to them.

    In my work, I use it to refer to people not just excluded from structures of government, but forcefully removed from society and thus the safety and opportunity that society provides.

    I, like you, have a problem with how commonly the word is used, especially in regards to people who enjoy the privileges of the majority but perhaps disagree with them on one topic.

    The word connotes a person completely removed, unaccepted, and thrusted into the margins.


    14 October 2010 at 1:46 pm

    • Joanna, thank you very much for your comment. I think your work amongst forced migrants in conflict-affected areas definitely brings the concerns of the marginalized to a much finer light. I look forward to reading more of your blog and do hope to hear more from you here on my blog. Cheers.

      14 October 2010 at 4:02 pm

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