Lloyd’s excellent writing on Dignity brought new insights into the Struggle for human rights. I loved his video on what he called the three conceptions of Dignity. I will share the three conceptions and conclude with the kind of Dignity that is needed for a stable, lasting, peaceful world.
We live in an imperfect world; as long as it remains as is, there will never be such a thing as a world without domination. “But in two senses, Black Dignity is fundamentally committed to equality and the equal distribution of Dignity. Struggle against domination is motivated by a vision of a world without domination.”
Below are the three conceptions of dignity as shared by Lloyd.
This is the kind of Dignity owed to the noble people worldwide due to their honorable Status in society.
Universal Dignity as Property of Our Humanity
Every human being has great worth and is entitled to live regardless of their Status as humans.
Dignity for the Struggle against domination
Lloyd says that this third concept of Dignity is one that is highly ignored, yet it has everything to do with most of the activism seen in the world today. This third concept of Dignity, as mentioned by Lloyd is what we see in the renowned leaders who have lifted their voices for freedom, starting with Fredrick Douglas, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and many others who have left a mark on History.
Lloyd empathized that the Struggle for freedom from domination could somehow include the other two concepts of Dignity. He says some people may believe they deserve Dignity, yet it has been taken away.
So, what comes to mind when you hear the term Vulnerability? Risk, weakness, wounded, brokenness? We might have used the term differently, yet we did not take the time to define it.
Our imago Dei identity connects all humanity. We are (or we should be) a connected creation with a single Creator, and we are obliged to value human Dignity as a result. Looking at our humanity, the main pillar of our unity as children of God, we can also appreciate our vulnerability as a godly virtue and thus be able to speak boldly about our brokenness and wounds.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “vulnerability” as “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”1 In one sense, vulnerability is characteristic of the human condition; however, definitions and applications of this concept in health care are diverse.
In as much as the term vulnerability might have helped justify access to some resources or our moral justifications to get to do one or more things, there is still a risk of stigmatization that comes with it. So, who wants to appear, admit, or be vulnerable?
There is a saying in Kinyarwanda, the language spoken in Rwanda; “Ujya gukira indwara arayirata” or They who want cure, speak boldly about the illness”. If we understood the value of vulnerability, we would probably embrace Dignity in exposure, strength in suffering, and power in pain.
Is there any relationship between vulnerability and Dignity?
Vulnerability is godly
I believe vulnerability is the kind of Dignity we need for lasting peace in this imperfect world. Let us look closely at the great value of our brokenness and vulnerability. We have indeed seen weakness in our wounds, vulnerability, and brokenness. There is a side of our injuries that speaks strengths. The Bible is very clear about it. The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18. These are words from King David.
I believe the Lord Jesus is our model of vulnerability. That’s why we are asked to imitate him and adopt his mindset. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5-8. This is a King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet he did not want to hold on to his position in the Kingdom. He was obedient to his father and became the most vulnerable of all. I am convinced that embracing vulnerability instead of struggling and fighting for dignity is an antidote to all conflicts on this side of heaven.
 “Three Conceptions of Dignity”: Vincent Lloyd (author of “Black Dignity”)
 Vincent W. Lloyd, Black Dignity: The Struggle against Domination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022).
 Kinyarwanda saying on embracing vulnerability