Review by Dr. Cheryl A Durham
David Anderson’ perspective on what must be done to reconcile diverse populations is refreshing and hopeful. Far from the usual one-sided rhetoric, that generates often-unnecessary guilt, anger and separation among people groups, “Gracism” promotes a truly inclusive way to foster goodwill and not resentment.
He starts out by describing a condition he terms “dotism” where everyone regardless of race, gender, or difference is conscious of having a “dot” that other people can see. That dot, defines them as different in some way. Their attitude or perception of their difference largely determines how they interpret the actions and words of others. This condition is an effect of sin. We are all “self-conscious,” perhaps inordinately so. In essence, since Eden, all of us have been self-focused somehow that causes us to see others in a defensive way that blinds us to their actual motivation. One example he used to describe this condition was of a minority woman going to a job interview where a white man interviewed her. Thinking about her “dot,” she is uncomfortable because she is certain that the man is staring at her, and that he is seeing only the dot. What she does not know nor does she accept, is that the man could not even see her dot. It was invisible to him. Anderson asks, rhetorically, how the white man must have felt. The woman, because of her self-concern, accused him of something that he did not do. He was innocent, but condemned; there was no way to defend his innocence.
Anderson puts the blame on both sides of the issue. He defines Gracism as “the positive extension of favor on other humans based on color, class, or culture (p.21).” This, he says, is opposite of racism, which is “negatively speaking, acting, or thinking about someone else solely based on color, class, or culture” (p 21).
What we have to do, says Anderson, is move beyond racism to Gracism. We can do this, he posits, employing seven different attitudes that undo racism.
The seven positive statements we must think, speak, and act on are:
- I will lift you up
- I will cover you.
- I will share with you.
- I will honor you.
- I will stand with you.
- I will consider you.
- I will celebrate with you.
If we were to employ these attitudes instead of criticizing and condemning those who are not like us–and the sword cuts both ways– we would be employing a Christ like attitude.
This is the attitude that all Christians are called to use as ambassadors (2Cor. 5:17-21). We are not here for ourselves; we are here for God. I recommend this book highly. It is a new perspective on an old problem. Perhaps, with Gracism, we can move on. You can buy this book right here.