Today’s readings remind us that it is not always easy to recognize the prophets who are among us. The people who God sends the prophets to, according to the first reading, are “Hard of face and obstinate of heart.” (Ez 2:4) The Galileans did not notice that Jesus Christ himself the Messiah was not only in front of them, he was a part of their community, he was one of them. The Scripture therefore invites us to look more closely at our communities and our history to understand who these prophets are and what they are calling for.
One such attempt is Critical Race Theory, an analytical tool which looks at the events of history and the way they intersect with the reality of race in this country. It aims to go further than the superficial understanding of legal equality and is, according to its greatest thinkers, including Kimberlé Crenshaw, an “ethical commitment to human liberation.” Those against teaching the realities of racism in our country to young students, however, have deemed it an anti-American approach to history and have taken up the fight in legislative houses across the country.
Critical Race Theory invites us to reexamine our history so that we can make meaning of the structures that continue to oppress and dominate so many people. It gives us the tools not to undo history, but to learn from it. Ultimately, it gives us a new opportunity to listen to the prophetic witness of the marginalized not just of today, but throughout history. This gives a new possibility to go forward pleading for God’s mercy (Ps 123) and notice that God’s prophets were there all along the way and continue to be, if only we would listen.
Amirah Orozco is currently in the masters of theological studies program at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry with a focus on systematic theology, especially ecclesiology and Hispanic theology. She works in Hispanic ministry training programs at Formación Continua at the STM. She is originally from the border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.