"For those doing ethics, the issue is not to determined some abstract understanding of what is ethical, but rather, in the face of dehumanizing oppressive structures, to determine how people of faith adapt their actions to serve the least among us. Ethics becomes the process by which the marginalized enter a more human condition...."
"It is not what is said that bears witness to the good news of the resurrection, but rather what is done to those still trapped in the forces of death."
"Those who would eliminate injustice are therefore always placed at the moral disadvantage of imperiling its peace. Privileged groups will place them under that moral disadvantage even if the efforts toward justice are made in the most pacific terms. They will claim that it is dangerous to disturb a precarious equilibrium and will feign to fear anarchy as the consequence of the effort."
"What is logical to the oppressor isn't logical to the oppressed. And what is reason to the oppressor isn't reason to the oppressed." -Malcolm X
She uses an analogy of society as a mental asylum, whose misguided doctors determine the exit of oppression, but they do not realize that the system itself imposes a "mad" system of behavior which would deny them freedom.
"Like patients in an asylum, the marginalized suffer from their own 'madness'-- their refusal to conform to the ethical standards of 'civilized' dominant culture. In the minds of those with power and privilege their marginalization is self-imposed, a refusal on the part of the disenfranchised to assimilate to what is perceived as the common good. When they behave, when they submit to the law and order of the dominant culture they are 'free'. Those who reject the dominant view are eyed with suspicion."
"The marginalized do not lack the academic rigor to do ethical reflection, nor do they simply bypass ethical reflection altogether. Rather, their approach to the oppressive situation produces a different way of doing ethics."
When two people who are both on disability want to get married, they will almost always do it "off the books", not in a legal manner, because they will be economically punished if they legally marry. The system treats them to see legal marriage as something to avoid, even if they wish dearly to make the commitment. They live according to a different ethical standard than the middle class. Still, the middle class will condemn them for acting practically.
Another example. For many churches, getting drunk and even possibly drinking alcohol is a sin. Yet the Bible says that one who rules shouldn't get drunk, but those who are poor should so they don't have to remember their suffering (Proverbs 30:1-7). Here there is clearly two levels of ethics-- one for those who have to make just decisions for many and another for those who have not been able to care for themselves.
Smoking, drug use, sleeping in abandoned houses or parks, drinking outdoors and many other crimes are punished when found, but often the poor have no choice but to participate in these activities. Why? Because their life context is different from those who pass the laws. What seems simple and basic ethics to the housed and privileged are often impossible for the marginalized.