Charlottesville happened because _______________. How do you fill in the blank?
The violence of Charlottesville is historically ingrained in the United States. This is a nation that has never truly acknowledged the hatred of peoples of color--indigenous, enslaved, detained, immigrated—and the violence inflicted upon these peoples justified by an ideology of white supremacy. Every institution in this country is embedded with this ideology.
Those Alt-right groups marching are the embodiment of white supremacy. Yes, they are the extremists who terrorize with words, guns, fire, and weapons of mass destruction—bombs and cars. They are the extreme violent actors in our social drama, but they are not an aberration in the society.
How can I make that last statement?
We live in the omnipresence of violence. Although theologically I might say that we live in omnipresence of evil, I choose not to use the term evil because I think that folks tend frequently not to give evil agency. Instead, evil is more often described as a condition or a being (i.e. the devil) that emanates from something outside of ourselves. Violence is active; it emanates from us—our decisions and actions.
As I teach and preach intentionally from a religious ethical mediation consciousness and worldview that asserts that violence happens every moment of every day, some folks ask me about my negativity and challenge my ideas as esoteric. I don’t tend to be a negative person. My ideas are not usually described as esoteric—difficult to hear, yes—but not esoteric.
Think about it: Violence happens every day when. . .
Peace be with you in these troubling times.
Womanist ethicist grappling with questions about religion, justice and peace in our time.