The Ferndale Fortitude (Vol. 2 No. 2, March 1, 2022)
Words are tricky things. We use them to express ourselves, but when we do, we run the risk of revealing more about ourselves than we intend. Take, for instance, the oft-repeated accusation that Ferndale is a racist community. These words reveal more about the person saying them than about the residents of Ferndale. There is no substantial evidence that Ferndale is racist. Are there racists who live in our Victorian Village? I suspect there are, just as probabilities allow for the reasonable conclusion that racists reside in Arcata or any other community in Humboldt County.
The accusation is false. It does, however, reveal that the accuser believes Ferndale is racist or, as I suspect is more likely, that the accuser knows that “racist” is an ugly word that causes people to recoil in disgust. Such ugly words terminate dialogue and discernment before they have a chance to develop.
If you’ve lived in Ferndale for any length of time, you’ve more than likely heard this racist accusation, too. Don’t let such an ugly word shape your view of our neighbors and our amazing community. People who resort to ugly words tend to suffer from a lack of communicative skills and prefer group-think over personal inquiry anchored in the rational and honest exploration of the realities of nature, objective truth, and the personal reflections of such things.
I have been called a racist more than a few times since June 2021. I have also been called a bigot, hater, murderer, rapist, colonizer, fag, unloving, a closet homosexual, gay-hater, Nazi, and all kinds of other derogatory terms that need not be repeated (Eph. 4:29). Just because people call me these things doesn’t make them true. Not at all, and I don’t hesitate to dismiss the allegations. I know what I am and what I am not just as you know what you are and what you’re not.
As a Christian I engage in the routine practice of self-reflection and repentance, considering my sins before the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God who sees my heart and cannot be mocked or deceived by me (1 Sam. 16:7; Job 13:9; Gal. 6:7). This, coupled with the daily study of God’s Word and regular church attendance where I hear God’s Word spoken to me, reveals how I sin and how Christ has dealt with those sins so that they are not what define me. God’s use of words reveals the truth about Him, too. He is forgiving and formative. His Word about us is what defines us. He uproots the evil within us. Ugly words spewed by fellow men are of little importance when compared to God’s good Word (Gal. 1:10; Prov. 29:25).
Besides this, we can look at our words and actions that have resulted in someone using ugly words against us, and, if honesty is our aim, we can easily determine if an accusation has any merit. For instance, recently, I publicly criticized Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc. I spoke to their anti-biblical positions, specifically regarding trans, queer, gender, and abortion issues, as well as an audacious claim that all black women speak for the Creator. On this last issue, I addressed the claim of speaking for God, not the color of the speaker’s skin. And even though I clearly articulated that God shows no partiality between races (Acts 10:34-35), I received numerous hate messages calling me a racist.
Furthermore, I received the following from Sin@hotmail.com (caution advised):
“may you and you whore wife [name], your bastard of a son [name] and your for sure slutty daughter [name] all burn in hell you piece of shit, but not before a big black man rapes said whore wife and slut daughter in front of you, and the[n] makes you dig their graves.” (Names of each family member were included in the original message.)
The names of each family member were included in the original message.
Nevertheless, an honest review of my statement (and all of my words, many of which are archived publicly online) reveals that the ugly words lobbed at me, and my family, are not rooted in truth. And since that is the case, they have no impact on reality.
Similarly, an honest review of our great community reveals that racist is nothing more than an ugly word used without provocation by people who don’t know Ferndale’s heart. And since that is the case, they need not have an impact on the residents of Ferndale, given that we live in reality.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Tyrel Bramwell