Much of what is happening now in the world of the Internet and the media focuses on several issues:
- The deaths of nine saints in Charleston, South Carolina
- The demands to take down the Confederate Battle Flag (“CBF”) from the state capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina
Now, not much has actually happened yet as a result of these two issues. The killer of those nine people was caught and will stand trial. Politicians are hemming and hawing over whether they will come out and support removing the CBF and thereby risk offending their white supporters, or come out and resist removing the CBF and thereby risk offending everyone else in America—and many are taking the third option of avoiding saying anything.
(As a side note, many of the politicians on the right are giving all sorts of reasons why the CBF should come down, none which mention that it is a direct symbol of black American enslavement and white supremacy, and that it was erected over statehouses in the 60s as a direct finger in the eye to “Northern” supporters of Civil Rights. True political courage in action, I suppose.)
Right now it’s mostly talk. There are some marches, but beyond that—not much is happening.
We’re still at the stage of “just words.” We’re just using words on the Internet to discuss—or rather, battle—with each other. We’ll likely get louder and louder for a while until something breaks and action happens, but for now—it’s just words.
But it’s just words for another reason. It’s words that are directed towards justice and fairness—just words, righteous words, honest words. We are speaking these just words in order to make the argument that decency, liberty, honesty, love, compassion, and justice itself demand that the flag be removed and that the events in Charleston where nine saints of God were slain be honored and become a milestone and turning point in America’s long embrace of white supremacy and racism.
These just words are not necessarily doing anything. They are words, spoken into the air, sent along the ether, dancing upon an electronic screen.
But they are words that, letter by letter, phrase by phrase, thought by thought, line up line, a little here, a little there, will lead to moving the minds of people, moving the hearts of people.
And as people are moved by words to change their actions, these just words will become just actions.
Sure, there is opposition. There is loud and energetic opposition that knows what the argument is about but that insists it is about anything but racism and white supremacy. They will continue their words and protests, blindly convinced there is no racism in a flag that represents a race-based slave-owning nation.
We can’t help that. We can’t shut them down, and we can’t avoid their presence in the debate.
But we can continue using just words—and just words—to push back, and to continue to advocate a change in our nation and how it considers our black American family.
Just words. Just words.