I read the news on TV five days a week, and for the last few weeks, I’ve read stories that make me believe we have reached a tipping point.
It seems that racism will finally be addressed in this country.
This time, the mood in America feels different. There is real change happening now.
Why now? Honestly, I’m not sure. Is it the death of George Floyd? Is it how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Americans, especially people of color? Maybe. But whatever the reason, this time is different.
Every day we are seeing protests continue in the streets—weeks after the death of George Floyd. Now, America reacts with calls to defund law enforcement—an unheard of idea that is now getting attention.
At the very least, police agencies are now self-reflecting on how they conduct themselves in the community. How they arrest people. How they treat them. How they treat people of color.
There are other shifts happening in America, too. Cultural shifts.
Lady Antebellum, the country band, changed its name to “Lady A.” Why? According the band, antebellum refers to a pre-Civil War South… including ties to slavery.
In a statement, Lady A said, “We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued.”
Speaking of the Old South, HBO Max paused its streaming of “Gone With the Wind” for a time. It will return with “a discussion of its historical context.”
I remember seeing “Gone With the Wind” for the first time at a drive-in movie theater in Paris, Texas, with my mom. I’ve seen it many times since then. One of my favorite movies. Now, I’m looking at it with a new perspective. Fresh eyes. I get it.
Maybe this is what we should be doing right now. Learning to look at things differently… with more perspective.
There are military bases named after Confederate generals like Fort Benning and Fort Bragg. I wonder, is it time to change those names, too?
Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota is part of the Veterans Affairs Committee. He says, “…the message is if we’re gonna have bases throughout the United States, I think it should be with names of individuals who fought for our country.”
But not all Republicans are on board.
President Trump wrote on Twitter: “My administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations.”
In the end, these name changes and new perspectives on cultural norms may seem small, but when you stop to think about them, they mean a great deal.
They mean a conversation has begun. A conversation about dealing with racism in America. Like I said, this time, it’s different.