Jefferson Davis’ statue coming down in Richmond, Va., and Walmart refusing to fly the Mississippi state flag because of its Confederate emblem are powerful signs the movement against white supremacy is taking hold, Robert P. Jones said during an online discussion hosted June 26 by the BJC.
The prophetic movement in the streets has begun a good work. There is no stopping until every vestige of white supremacist ideology is erased, not only from public squares, but from laws, institutions, churches, theologies and families.
Intersectionality helps us see that the problem is systemic. We live in a social system with institutions – including the church – built to ensure the maintenance of white supremacy and patriarchy. Our solutions, then, also have to be systemic.
As commonly used, the term “Southern pride” is shorthand for a stubborn refusal to admit that the South, as a concept, is hopelessly enmeshed in the canons of white supremacy.
We white Christians still have a lot to learn and a reprehensible past to lament. After 400 years, we’d better pray that black churches are still willing to teach us. And that we’ve got conscience enough to act on what we learn.
As people rise up to declare that they will not endure or be complicit in racist, white supremacist oppression, let’s call their actions what they are: protest, freedom struggle and revolution, not rioting, looting or “disobedience” to the authorities.
This God-forsaken red stain on our white hands will never be washed clean until we white Christians repent and through peaceful, nonviolent protest declare, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take any more dead black men at the hands of white police.”
We cannot continue to pretend that time will heal the deep wounds that divide us. Generation after generation, we bring our gifts to the altar without stopping first to do the work of reconciliation to which Jesus calls us.
Truth-telling is a moral imperative no matter who may resent hearing the truth, no matter who may refuse to believe the truth and no matter what people who oppose the truth may do to truth-tellers.