Department News,  Faculty News

The Power of Story: Global Myths on the Origins and Character of Black People

Power of Story

Dr. Mary Nyambura Muchiri of the Taylor Department of English teaches writing and research in Creative Nonfiction as well as African Post-Colonial and British literature. She is the author of four books and is currently involved in sabbatical research on the “Awareness, Preparedness, Adjustment and Integration of International Faculty and Students at Taylor University.”

Her most recent book, pictured above, is now available in hardcover or for Kindle at Amazon and other booksellers.

Dr. Muchiri was born in the Murang’a District of the Central Province, in Kenya.  She earned a PhD fom Lancaster University (UK), and joined our department at Taylor in September of 2001.

Here’s Mary on her new book, in her own words.

This book is dedicated to all, throughout all generations, who have suffered humiliation, exploitation and discrimination of all kinds, on account of the color of their skin, or ethnic identity. I want them to know they all matter and are greatly valued by their Creator.

It is a personal investigation on how people came to have different skin colors and how some races came to be regarded as superior and others inferior. I re-evaluate colonialism, Apartheid, Nazism and slavery as the stories that helped to implement the racist ideas that already existed in such pseudo-scientific systems as the Chain of Being, Social Darwinism, and Eugenics.

I go even back to where these ideas really originated, the Bible. Many early colonizers misinterpreted the Bible in order to justify their inhuman treatment of their colonial subjects, coming up with such stories as the Mark of Cain and the Curse of Ham and other stories as justification for making slaves of their subjects, because they had been “cursed.”

The last part investigates what science, especially the “Genome Project” is telling us about the similarities of the human race, one not many, and the falsehoods of many so called “scientific” stories, such as measures of Intelligent Quotient (IQ) and brain sizes.

The last part of the book discusses the ongoing effects of these “stories” and how they impact our society today; for example, the idea that black people are intellectually deficient, that has resulted in Deficit Models of Education, loss of cultural history and poverty.

Dr. Mary Nyambura Muchiri

My greatest hope is that my readers will not only understand how the myths started, but that they will actively join me in exposing these myths, whatever group may be impacted by them. For example, similar stories were told to the Dalit of India, based on a cast system that stopped them from climbing the social ladder. Now it has led to sex and labor trafficking, that has become the largest form of modern day slavery.

I am also puzzled by American Christians, who are very vocal about abortion and its negative effects, but they do not seem to care much about what happens to the children once they have been born. Why do we only fight about the unborn, but do so little about the suffering children of the world? How do we hope to win the world for Christ when all we seem to care about is our party ideology?

Do we care that our Churches are the most segregated social groups? Do we care about the on-going effects of racism? Does it worry us that our leaders tell us we are THE NATION, not a nation among nations? Do these ideas match with the teaching of the Bible, or are they new types of misinterpretations? All these concerns drove me to writing this book, not as an exhaustive solution to all the problems, but as a start to an honest on-going discussion.

We thank Dr. Muchiri for her important work, and invite you to consider these issues by reading The Power of Story: Global Myths on the Origins and Character of Black People.

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