Saturday, January 28, 2012

Social Injustice and the Paradox of Industry

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a radio show I listen to called This American Life. They aired an excerpt from a monologue by a guy named Mike Daisey. You can find it here. The monologue was about his trip to China where he visited a factory that makes Apple products. It was a very interesting and challenging piece as it raised many questions about social justice and the seemingly insurmountable issues we face these days.

Since then I have heard a lot about Apple and China and the injustices that many of these workers face on a daily basis. You can read a couple of articles from the New York Times here and here, one of them about recent suicides from these factory workers.

As I was making my way through my email inbox this morning, I came across an email from the people over at You may have heard about the lady who started a petition through them to get Bank of American to drop their debit card fee. Well, this petition was to try and get Apple to improve working conditions at the factories where iPhones and iPads are made. Don't worry I am not going to ask you to sign anything, but if you want check it out click here.

It occurred to me that going up against Apple is the sexy way to protest and work for change. And perhaps it is still the best way. I don't know. By going up against the giants of industry, one could force a greater amount of change. Public embarrassment and the possibility of profit loss is a great motivator.

But what about the injustices that we never hear about because they aren't sexy enough?

Going up against these things doesn't get our name in the paper or on the news or a video gone viral on YouTube.

But these things still matter.

So, for example, in the US these people are the working poor, the nameless faceless people who make too much for welfare but not enough to live. They are one paycheck away from the streets, but they live in slum housing.

I've said before that at least in the US we can't live here without participating in the so-called poverty and injustices of the world. Nevertheless, at least for the church, we have to start somewhere.

Lately it seems like I keep hearing something I heard back when I was in college from a guy named Dana Walling. "Everyday find out what you can do for Jesus and do it."

At least for the church (I don't know about everyone else), we have to resist the urge to always go for the big win and instead give ourselves over to that gospel movement that has been going for thousands of years.

The big wins come accidentally and only because we have dared to look our neighbor in the eye and see the face of Christ.

If all we ever do is go for the big win then our neighbors who are about to hit the streets will remain anonymous to us and that would be a damn shame.

No comments: