Deserving     by    Ruth Utnage

Sometimes I struggle with who deserves to be hated and who doesn’t. Who deserves to be ostracized? Someone believes I should be, maybe many people. If I find someone who is deserving of my social disapproval, does this make me feel better?


I conceptualize a caste system in which I am not the lowest class and in order to do that I must look at someone and think “You are not deserving,” and it is always with the second part of that sentence that I come to my senses: “You are not deserving, so that I can be”. It is here that I remember I cannot trample underfoot the beauty of our world simply because someone did it to me for the same reasons. No…no I cannot.

Deserving. The very existence of the word indicates our human brutality and unconscionable selves for if someone is deserving than by the nature of existence of the deserving than someone must be undeserving. What child is undeserving of love? Yet, as adults we divie one another up as if we were never children. How odd.

Do you remember when you were a child? Think back to a time when it felt as if the world was crashing down in you and you reach for the bigness and magnitude of your parents love and protection. Here we are bigger versions of that hurt child with no one to seek shelter in lashing out at one another as if that helps.

I am in prison. Among the deserving. Men and women (yes, women at a men’s prison too) who deserve the humanizing effects of compassion and love.

End the cycle of violence. Reach out.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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“A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, then by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.” (“Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire )

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