Feeling Superior

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

I can’t seem to get the picture of the young man from Covington Catholic looking at Native American Nathan Phillips out of my head.  I truly hope that the expression on that young man’s face was “Holy moly, what have I gotten myself into!” but unfortunately, to me it looked like disrespect and smugness.  It seems to be just another occurrence of one person feeling superior over another.

Seeing oneself as superior has been happening since the beginning of time. Did the original farmers look down on the hunter-gatherers?  We know the conquering countries felt superior to those conquered and enslaved.  In our reading from St. Paul on Sunday, he seems to rank the value of the various gifts to the church – apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Are they superior to others?   It happens in the workplace also – we rank jobs (and the people in them) based on how much money we pay for that work.

Having a more important job or higher ranking is not a bad thing unless that person considers himself/herself superior to everyone else.  When this happens a priest/pastor feels that he/she has a right to take advantage of a child…. a boss feels he/she can demand sexual favors of an employee…. a person is forced into sex or labor slavery…. and a president thinks it’s good to build a wall or enforce a ban on people who speak a different language or practice a different religion. It can even be seen in a teenager’s face.

Let us remember that believing that one is superior is damaging for the person feeling superior and those whom he/she feels superior to. It is often the cause of most of the injustice that takes place in our world today. Take a minute to reflect on your attitude toward others.  Are you guilty of feeling superior?


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

8 responses to “Feeling Superior

  1. Do you still feel this way now that it has been proven he was not feeling superior, just a child trying to handle a bad situation brought on by aggressive, angry adults? Perhaps a lesson on how to handle a world where adults truly violate the sanctity and innocence of children would be a great blog.

  2. We are subtly taught from early childhood to compare ourselves with others. This neighborhood is nicer than or not as nice as ours. Is my grade better or worse than my classmate’s? Does my sibling get more or few privileges than I do because of age, or gender? Does God love us all equally? How can we help everyone to feel good about themselves without comparing? Can we ever let go of comparisons?

  3. How true this is Sister Barbara. Thanks for the reminder that we need to remember that we are all equal in God’s eyes.

  4. Good reminder. Let’s include our church also which, in the name of God, has perpetrated the most oppressive condition of injustice, exclusiveness and moral judgement upon people.

  5. Thank you, Barb. Feeling superior doesn’t come alone. Its companions are entitlement and lack of respect for all others. I suspect it comes from self-centeredness and fear of appearing inferior. One of my favorite questions is: “according to whom, and compared with what?”

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