Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Orange Lives Matter

Written by: on September 29, 2023



The weekend before Oxford, I facilitated a music concert inside the prison for a volunteer organization. The team wore t-shirts with “Orange Lives Matter,” Referring to the Inmates’ orange uniforms. Inmates were so excited by the gesture that they also matter and deserve dignity.

In “The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment,” Francis Fukuyama, an author who has proven very knowledgeable in Science and Politics, brings to light the complex relationships between dignity, identity, and politics in the modern world. Given his extensive research, Fukuyama is one of the voices worth my undivided attention as he touches on our worst political challenges.

This is at the heart of all conflicts.

Fukuyama’s introduction to the concept of dignity and its importance to human societies is spot on. He argues that the desire for recognition and respect is fundamental to human nature.[1]

At the heart of all conflicts and resentment, as the author said, is the feeling of indignity. The author brings up the rise of populist movements across the globe, starting with the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, and many other places. He explains that these movements are all driven by a sense of loss and a desire to reclaim a perceived lost dignity. Due to his great work of research, examining several countries, the author provides a comprehensive analysis of the underlying factors that have caused these movements to rise to power.

The author also explains how globalization and economic inequality have contributed to a growing sense of indignity among certain groups, loss of jobs, and cultural displacement have left many marginalized and resentful.

A number of authoritarian countries, led by China and Russia, became much more self-confident and assertive: China began promoting its “China model” as a path to development and wealth that was distinctly undemocratic, while Russia attacked the liberal decadence of the European Union and the United States.[2]

Looking at the cause of popularity, Fukuyama explains that some of these leaders have succeeded due to their ability to tap into marginalized groups’ grievances and use social media to bypass traditional channels.

“Beginning in the mid-2000s, the momentum toward an increasingly open and liberal world order began to falter, then went into reverse.”[3]

Fukuyama reiterates the importance of dignity in politics and the need for political leaders to address the underlying causes of indignity and resentment. He emphasizes the dangers of populism and identity politics while acknowledging marginalized groups’ legitimate grievances.

Is there a solution?

Fukuyama calls for a more inclusive and responsive political system promoting social cohesion and a shared national identity. He highlights the potential future trajectories of dignity politics and the role of education and technology in shaping the political landscape.

In Conclusion

I agree with the author in advocating for dignity politics and facilitating education and technology, which would make a huge difference, lifting many from poverty and providing social mobility. The author showcases the case study of Education and Social Mobility in Finland, where the Finnish education system invested in equality and social mobility. Investing in education and skills training can help address the underlying causes of indignity and resentment.

[1] Francis Fukuyama, Identity (S.I.: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018).

[2] Fukuyama.

[3] Fukuyama.

About the Author


Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe

Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe is a Clinical Correctional Chaplain and former Child Refugee from War-torn Rwanda. A member of the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team, Jean is passionate about Servant Leadership and looks forward to seeing more leaders that inspire Lasting Peace and Justice for all, especially "the least of these".

10 responses to “Orange Lives Matter”

  1. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Jean, Thank you for your post on Fukuyama’s thesis, ideas, and proposed solutions. I am always so appreciative of the ways in which you bring the wisdom of your work into your writing and engagement with the books we are reading.

    You ended with this statement: “Investing in education and skills training can help address the underlying causes of indignity and resentment.” I wonder what that could look like in my local community, church, and work environment. Thanks for prompting me to think further.

    It was great to see you in Oxford!

  2. Caleb Lu says:

    Jean, thanks for sharing your thoughts and for honoring the dignity and humanity of the inmates and others that you serve.

    I’m curious if you have any insight into how identity and identity politics might further the causes of the refugees you’ve worked with and/or know and perhaps ways in which it might hinder.

    • Thanks for the comment Caleb,
      Identity is a good thing. I think identifying our tribe (like-minded individuals) and supporting worthwhile causes is not bad at all. The problem is when individuals are motivated by deep-seated resentment and hatred due to marginalization.

  3. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Jean de Dieu,
    I loved the example you shared. “Orange Lives Matter” is a powerful image that brings to mind a group that we often is “out of sight, out of mind.” Is education that best path for those who are in prison to change their direction and live into their own dignity? I imagine it is the path to finding dignity from a society that will continue to define them by their past.

  4. mm Audrey Robinson says:

    Thanks for the great summary of Fukuyama’s book.

    What are some of the practical ways you are able to instill dignity in those in the Orange Live Matters shirts?

  5. Thanks Audrey,
    That’s a good question; Serving them as I would want to be served, and expressing in action they matter is what I try to do whenever I have an opportunity.

  6. Alana Hayes says:

    I love your representation to the inmates that they matter. WE ALL respond to being heard, loved, and seen!

    How has your relationship with the inmates changed after this?

  7. Hi Alana, thanks for engaging with the blog.
    As you mentioned my service to them confirms their value as individuals with dignity, regardless of their crimes.

    They respond with appreciation and increased opportunities to work together.

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