Northeastern Seminary Blog

Equality feels like oppression when all you’ve known is privilege*

Posted by Becky Beers on Apr 4, 2018 10:43:30 AM

iStock-698402528-952990-editedPhoto credit: Marilyn Nieves

Northeastern Seminary students share reflections and thoughts on the life and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 50th anniversary year of his assassination. This poem is part of a series featuring voices of students pursuing many different areas of theological study and ministry preparation. Their unique insight and response to the call to ministry provide thoughtful and moving window into the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  To read the complete series visit

Grew up in white suburbia surrounded by white picket fences

Fences silently picketing things like welfare expenses,

Heard that complaint a lot, “Why can’t they just get off of welfare?”

Never stopping to wonder how it is they got there.


Racial tension was not an entity of which I was aware

In my neighborhood only whites could afford the fare

Not ‘til later in adulthood did I realize the unequal playing field

That substandard housing, education and opportunity would yield


Racism is a problem as widespread as it is deep

But it’s easy to ignore it and employ grace that is cheap

Pretend it doesn’t exist so I can live an advantaged existence

Don’t want to put the energy or sacrifice into controversial resistance


And what would I even do with this wrong needing right-ing,

Can it even begin to be accomplished in mere writing?

If I can’t fix all of it, I’m not going to try to do any

There are others whose “calling” it is out there, doing plenty


But in my honest, holy moments I know God prompts all who claim Christ

To embody all it means when we say we’re pro-life

Pro embryo, yes, but also pro immigrant and refugee

And pro those depicted as criminals on the local news story 


One move, one step, to look behind what is seen

Will give you a vision beyond the distorting screen

We’re all one race, one family made in Almighty’s image

When encountering oppression, we should share our undeserved privilege.


*Lyric of Propaganda, spoken word artist. 


Becky Beers is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theological Studies at Northeastern Seminary. She is active in many ministry contexts including her work in a local school district and her church home the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg. 

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