Chavez Ravine & Mexican repatriation. 3 things I am beginning to realize about the way Satan works

Chavez Ravine & Mexican repatriation. 3 things I am beginning to realize about the way Satan works August 28, 2023

Over 2 million people of Mexican descent are deported to Mexico (1926-39). More than 1.2 million were US citizens.
Intercultural Leadership Institute

The Gospel of John ends with the statement, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

The statement is an admission there were many more things that Jesus did but John doesn’t have the space or time to tell us about them. This raises the question as to why John included the stories that he did and why he excluded other stories.

Such is the dilemma of writing history. You can’t say everything. As a result, the historian must decide what he/she wants you to know.

BTW this is the same with your nightly news or your X (formerly known as Twitter—I find it hilarious that we have to add this note) feed. If you follow the sports world as I do, then what is on the ESPN or Bleacher Report apps are the things that ESPN or Bleacher Report want you to know.

We might want to think that such limitations are just the nature of the game.

Chavez Ravine

A number of years ago I was talking with a Latina friend of mine. The conversation was about the Dodgers and their stadium in LA. She asked if I knew that the land on which Dodger Stadium was built (Chavez Ravine) was previously owned by Mexican Americans and if I knew the story of how the LA Housing Authority stole the land (or “forcibly removed them with compensation”–depending on whose side of the story you want to listen to) from them over the course of years from 1951-61.

I had no idea.

It makes sense, of course, that she knew. After all, she may have had family members that were directly impacted by the confiscation of land.

But it also made sense that I didn’t know. After all, we can’t learn everything.

What I do recall, however, is that as she told me the story I was reminded of something similar—though on a way smaller scale—that had happened in my hometown of Livermore Ca. There was a small section of town in Livermore on Railroad Avenue near the bowling alley that was full of shanties. In the 1970’s (if I recall it correctly) the city of Livermore began a campaign to update the downtown area in order to bring in more businesses and restaurants. So they demolished the shanty and “relocated” its occupants.

The reason for telling you this is that when my friend was telling me the story of Chavez Ravine I was already predisposed to believe it because I knew of something similar that had happened.

Mexican repatriation

Did you know that from 1929-44 the US government forcibly removed upwards of 2 million people of Mexican heritage (over 1 million of them were American citizens—born in the US) and illegally deported them to Mexico (See USA Today, Apr 2006)?

NB: In 2005, the state of California became the first state to approve legislation (SB 670) issuing a formal apology and reparations to the families of those who were wrongly deported.

This event is a much more important part of American history. Yet, I suspect that most Americans have no idea that this ever happened—though those of Mexican descent may have known.

Satan is very good at what he does

I am intending to write over the course of the next several months (if not, the next year) a series of posts that lay a foundation for understanding the Gospel, the Kingdom, and what it means to be a kingdom person. I then intend to ask how this compares with the state of affairs in the Western church.

I am doing so, in light of a question that was raised to me upon the completion of my commentary on the book of Revelation: “Rob, who/what is the Beast today?”

Although my aim is to answer this question, I am being very deliberate for a number of reasons: the primary reason being, I fear that most will not believe my answers.

So I am trying to make my case as well as I can. I am also being methodical because I want those who do believe me to have a foundational understanding of Jesus and the kingdom so that they can best process the information.

3 things I am beginning to realize

As I prepare to answer the question: “Who is the Beast and what does it mean for us today?” I have begun to realize several things:

  1. Satan is way more evil than I imagined (I am not sure why I have been so surprised at this). I know we have a theology that Satan is evil and only evil. But I am coming to realize that he is way worse than we thought.
  2. Satan’s efforts to deceive (deception is what Satan does: Rev 12:9; 13:14; 20:3, 8, 10) have been way more successful than we are willing to admit.
  3. The Western Church (I’ll try to speak mostly in terms of my tribe: which has been the American Evangelical tradition) has been so deeply deceived I am not sure that they are even capable—aside from an overwhelming work of the Holy Spirit—of realizing it.

Florida’s Board of Education

The problem is that propaganda is effective. Really effective. One of the key tenets of good propaganda is to make sure that what you want people to believe sounds good.

Take the Florida Board of Education’s (and we could virtually use any state as an example here; it just so happens that Florida’s Board of Education has been in the news most recently) efforts to change their curriculum (so has the Board of education in most states, we just may not have known it).

One report notes that Florida recently “Tweaked its history curriculum to match the so-called Stop WOKE law that takes aim at lessons over issues like ‘white privilege’ by creating new protections for students and workers, including that a person should not be instructed to “feel guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” due to their race, color, sex or national origin” (Politico, July 2023).

As it reads, this makes great sense. After all, do we really want our children (5-8-year-olds) going to school to learn that they are bad simply because they are white, Latinx, or persons of color? Of course not!

See, it is an easy sell.

The problem is that Florida’s new curriculum doesn’t stop here. In their efforts to make sure that white children do not feel bad about America’s history of racism and slavery, they have actually included in their curriculum the notion that people of color actually benefitted from slavery because they learned trades and life skills.

Again this makes sense. You can see a young child processing this though and concluding, “Oh, yeah, I never thought of it that way.”

What the propagandists don’t say

One very effective strategy of good propagandists is not necessarily what they tell us but what they don’t tell us.

As an example, I wrote a series of blogs on Race a few years ago (here is a link to the first post. I’ll provide the rest of the links at the bottom of this post). One of the things that blew me away as I researched for this series was how little I knew.

The problem is that I am a very well-educated person. And I went to public school through from K-12 and my bachelor’s degree is in History from a California State University. How could I know so little about America’s racist history?

It is one thing to not know about Chavez Ravine. It is another to not know about the forced emigration of millions (many of who were US citizens) simply because they are of Mexican heritage.

The power of propaganda

The problem then is that what we learn paints a certain picture of what is true (or what we believe is true). As we continue on in life, we then filter everything through the lens of what we “know” to be true.

This means that if a child is not told of America’s racist past (after all, we wouldn’t want them to believe that they are bad because they are on the side of those who committed heinous acts), then when that child grows up, they are likely to believe that incidents of racism (the killing of George Floyd for example) are just one-off events and not the result of systemic racism.

In fact, the child who thinks that slaves benefitted from slavery, will question why people of color and other minorities are crying out for justice. The Black Lives Matter movement and CRT will not make sense to them. Education, in other words, needs to be broad enough to allow us to have a framework for processing information.

One of the many reasons why it is important to know about slavery, Chavez Ravine, and the forced emigration of Millions of Mexicans is not to make white people feel bad but to make sure that we learn how our neighbors see the world.

NB: There is a tragic irony in the efforts of many (most) states to erase our racist history. Namely, that focus on American history has been on the white man. Now state boards of education want to make sure that the focus remains on white people. Namely, we can’t make their kids feel bad about what they did.

The problem is not about making a white person feel bad because they are white. It is about, among other things, making sure that we learn that most people of color, women, and other minorities have been oppressed for much of America’s history. It just so happens that it was white men who did most of the oppressing.

What is the solution?

I am convinced that the solution begins with lament. The problem is that we cannot lament if we are not willing or able to admit that there is something worth lamenting.

NB: the reason why lament is first and not repent is because repentance is focused on self. To lament is to recognize the grievous evils that others have suffered. Once we have sufficiently come to lament their histories, then we can begin to repent.

My exhortation to you is that you carefully and prayerfully read through the series of posts listed below (I provide other resources for you to consider in some of these posts).

Then I would encourage you:

  1. Don’t believe everything you hear (we hear this all the time but I dare say most of the time we simply believe it anyway).
  2. Take the time to find multiple sources of information
  3. Filter what you learn through the lens of Jesus and justice

This last point is critical and I dare say that most Christians do not do this very well.

In fact, evangelical Christians have been so duped (can I say this?—guess I just did) that many of us have come to believe that Jesus and justice don’t go together. I can’t tell you how big a problem this is! Jesus can only be read well through the lens of justice and the kingdom.

NB: The best way to make sure you do not miss any future posts from determinetruth is to click on the “free newsletter” tab at the top of this page and fill out your details. Once you have done so, you will then automatically receive each week’s blog in your email (there is no “newsletter”—just an email with a link to the newest blog each week).

Links for my series of posts on Race: Is Racism a Problem? #1

What is race? #2

Are all persons equal? #3

Why Systemic Injustice Matters #4

Church’s complicity  #5

Church’s role in injustice #6

Church’s role in injustice (integration) #7

Systemic Injustice (education) #8

Systemic Injustice (homeownership) #9

Systemic Injustice (Ghettos) #10

Race and Riots (peonage/Convict leasing) #11

Race and Riots (lynchings; Tulsa) #12

Race and Riots  (sundown towns; Route 66) #13

Criminal justice/Race #14

Mass incarceration #15

Race and Voting  #16

Race and history  #17

Race and Truth #1 #18

Race and Truth #2 #19

Change the educational system #20


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About Rob Dalrymple
Rob Dalrymple is married to his wife Toni and is the father of four fabulous children, and two grandchildren. He has been teaching and pastoring for over 34 years at colleges, seminaries, and the local church. He has a PhD in biblical interpretation. He is the author of four books (including Follow the Lamb: A Guide to Reading, Understanding, and Applying the Book of Revelation & Understanding the New Testament and the End Times: Why it Matters) as well as numerous articles and other publications. He is currently completing a commentary on the book of Revelation titled, “Revelation: a Love Story” (Cascade Books, pending 2025). You can read more about the author here.

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