Nami Kim is professor of religious studies and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Spelman College. She is the author of The Gendered Politics of the Korean Protestant Right: Hegemonic Masculinity (2016) and the coeditor (with Wonhee Anne Joh) of Feminist Praxis against U.S. Militarism (2019) and Critical Theology against U. S. Militarism in Asia: Decolonization and Deimperialization (2019).
Nami Kim, “Choosing the Wrong Side” as a Preferential Option for the People in Precarity
In Bao Phi’s short speculative fiction entitled “Revolution Shuffle,”* 70 percent of the American population, the majority of whom are White, turned zombies by an epidemic that hit the United States. In search of a “villain” or an “origin for a nameless evil” that afflicted people, the U.S. government classified the epidemic as a “terrorist act.” The initially identified “enemies” were China, North Korea, and the Middle East, but the “surviving Americans of Asian and Arab descent” were selected and were sent to labor camps. Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Chicanos, and Black people were also sent to the labor camps because they protested, opposed, and chose the “wrong side.” The consequence of their actions was severe, but they nonetheless chose to stand with Asian and Arab Americans who were put into the forced labor camps. Phi’s story is a social commentary on the existing social conditions and a story of resistance for an alternative world.
Reflecting on this story and drawing from feminist liberation theology, this paper explores what it would mean for Christians to choose the “wrong side” in our intersecting social and political reality. Arguing that choosing the “wrong side” as an act of resistance is to make a “preferential option” for the people in precarity, this paper examines two ways through which such “preferential option” can be manifested in our lives. One is to grieve for and with the people in precarity, and the other is to participate in abolitional movement that is the radical reimagining and reordering of the world.
 Bao Phi, “Revolution Shuffle,” in Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements, ed. Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2015)