Friday, April 15, 2005


Earlier I introduced the term, 'Gracism' from Dave Anderson's book to describe the intentional process of demonstrating unmerited/lavish grace towards someone especially because their ethnic make up is different than mine. From a mestizo perspective, this concept becomes 'gracismo'. Racismo (racism, in Spanish) is a harsh sounding word!

'Gracismo', is a loaded term for us Latinos, because it implies that we are called to extend, 'la gracia de Dios' (the grace of God) to everyone, especially to others who may have hurt, rejected, or sought to do us harm.

I can't believe an image from 3rd grade comes to mind fresh and clear as I think about this idea of gracismo. A red haired, freckle-faced, mean spirited young punk and his friend are chasing me down and roughing me up on a weekly basis as I walk home from school. In my broken English, I plead for them to stop, as they yell, 'You F'n Spick'! It won't be easy to forget those words, or the face of that kid hitting me in my face.

I am glad we only stayed at this school for that one year. The next year, we moved to barrio Sunnyhills, in a nearby city where I grew up in Northern California.

To tell you the truth, I still get a little nervous when I see a dude with red hair hanging around. In light of this kind of experience, gracismo is no platitude. It requires that I work through my stuff (I could have used another 'S' word), and it requires me to extend the grace that God has shown me towards others-years later, I feel compelled to forgive that kid from 3rd grade.

I pray that all of us would learn little a little Spanglish today: Gracismo!


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