On Weighing Words and Gushing Forth Evil

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In a previous post, I gave full vent to the fury the ideas presented in Juana Bordas’ book provoked. In Spanish I would say I wrote con mucha rabia.

In hindsight I realize that I failed in my communication as is all too common today. I failed not in the errors I pointed out, but in the failure to balance the ‘diagnosis’ with a proper ‘prescription’. Merely pointing out what is wrong is not helpful. I am reminded of this principle in God’s words to Jeremiah:

Then the Lord reached out his hand. He touched my mouth and spoke to me. He said, “I have put my words in your mouth. Today I am appointing you to speak to nations and kingdoms. I want you to pull them up by the roots and tear them down. I want you to destroy them and crush them. But I also want you to build them up and plant them.”” (Jeremiah 1:9-10, NIrV) [1]

That being said I here offer a brief postscript. The book provoked rabia primarily because in its attempt to ‘affirm’ communities of color, it uses the very principle that has caused the problem in the first place – race. It is a sugar coated poison pill. The sugar coating is its politically correct good intentions, while the poison is the underlying racism that it establishes. There is no more scrutinized group than white Americans when it comes to race. However, as I have previously stated, it infects us all.

In attempting to vindicate groups from the consequence of past racism, Bordas sets out to define inherent characteristics of these groups or ‘communities’ and to then exalt those characteristics (stereotypes) over those of ‘mainstream’ America which she uses synonymously with white Americans (and Europeans). The old adage two wrongs don’t make a right is especially appropriate here.

If one community (here based upon race by Bordas – I believe in only one race) has inherent characteristics that are ‘better’, than the same can hold true for every other community and the competition begins. That competition is called racism. In the end, we all lose!

Michael Frost wisely wrote,

“Those who love community destroy it, but those who love people build community.”

If we are truly to help people and overcome racism, we must begin to see people for the individuals they are, and not merely members of a group, racially based or other. We are all unique individuals, just like everybody else. And just like everybody else we want to be affirmed for our characteristics and not those assigned to any group. As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt we would be judged “not by the color of [our] skin, but by the content of [our] character.”

To Juana Bordas, I trust you had good intentions with this book, but you know what they say about good intentions…. I am sure with your sincere desire to help others, that you can offer much more to the whole community than the subtle but nonetheless destructive ideas presented in this book.


[1] New International Reader’s Version. 1st ed., Zondervan, 1998.

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