Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 11

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE your approach is, let’s get rid of them, then you’re probably not actually providing good teaching for the other students either. And essentially that’s the colonial legacy of this logic of disposability. When there’s a larger social problem, instead of directly addressing the social problem, you expel the people that represent that problem, then you never actually fix the problem. And then, when you don’t fix the problem, everybody’s impacted by the fact that that problem was not fixed. And we see this not just with the school-toprison pipeline but with the whole complex of issues around mass incarceration, where mass incarceration is just more and more saying, let’s just get rid of you, rather than saying, well what’s gone wrong to lead to this situation, and how can we change the situation so that fewer people end up in the prison system. We can see that the legacy of colonialism, that disposability—which initially begins with marking entire Native peoples as less than human, as non-human, and hence disposable—has taken over our entire society. It has become the way we run society for everybody. It becomes about getting rid of the people that represent the problem, not keeping people here and figuring out how we can mend the society together. Again, it strikes me as a major contrast to how Jesus imagined this. Think of Mark 2:16–17. It says, “When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?’ And hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (NASB). Jesus did not operate from a logic of disposability. He came to operate with the problems and be there. He wasn’t out to get rid of the people who might seem to represent the problem; he was going to be there to try to fix the problems. Jesus represents a very different vision, a different, anticolonial vision in terms of this issue of disposability. We have to do the math. The basic problem we have here is that 5 percent of the population at the top owns 95 percent of the wealth, and the bad news is they have all the money and the guns. But the good news is there’s a lot more of us than them. And ultimately even the top 5 percent is not really benefiting from this system either, because it is so environmentally destructive. It’s eventually going to make the earth uninhabitable even for the top 5 percent. The system is not a sustainable kind of system. So, the question is, how can we change the system and not just get our little group a little bit higher up? We actually have to get the full 95 percent mobilized. We actually have to talk to people who don’t agree with us to build enough of a movement to say, hey let’s change the system. Let’s not live in a pyramid system. Let’s make sure everybody has what they need, and everybody gets cared for. Well, this requires you to not render people disposable. It requires you to talk to people 10