When I got to work 9 November 2016 and responded to my coworker that I was doing fine, his response was one of shock and dismay. “How can you be okay? Do you not know the results of the election?” I responded, “Oh I know the results. But for me nothing has changed. The United States has always been anti-Black and Brown bodies.” Did people really think that having a Black man as president for the last eight years erased people’s underlying hatred and bigotry? Really?! I didn’t.
So when the final 2016 Presidential Election candidates were chosen, I didn’t want to know anything about their campaigns because I was struggling to reconcile the choices. Really!!?? Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are the candidates? I just wanted to bow out of the voting process. But I could NOT!!! Too many Black people were threatened, beaten and killed for the right to vote. I refuse to let them down, so I vote—in every election. And what happened this time? The lid was taken off the box of hatred and bigotry, and many people are frightened.
Yet, I am not frightened. The United States of America became a rich nation on the bodies of Black people. The atrocities heaped upon Black bodies since this country’s uniting leaves me, a Black woman wary. My herstory is filled with warnings, proverbs, and anecdotes that have kept me alert to hatred and bigotry just under the surface of “nice” people’s words and actions. Yet, I am not frightened. Wary, but not frightened.
Later in the day (9 November) at our faculty meeting, I listened to my colleagues lament the results of the election. After about 20 minutes I was asked why I hadn’t spoken. “Don’t YOU have something to say?” Sure I did.
“First let me register my surprise at your reactions. I had not expected this level of lament. Secondly, Why all the fear? And where is God in your outlook? What you see happening is the direct result of not enough “God Speak”. Believers in the God of Jesus Christ have been silent too long, not wanting to make others uncomfortable, fear of losing their jobs, wondering what others might say. As a result, “Hate Speak” has taken over. But all is not lost; not for believers. The time ripe for us to speak about God and God’s love for us all. We need only do it out loud now. We can no longer be private about our “God Speak”—we must come together.” I also reminded them all about the anti-Black/Brown bodies campaigns that have been waged for the last several hundred years.
God has a way of chasing out fear. In this post-2016-election time, “Hate Speak” needs to come up against “God Speak”.
Racist words and actions are not new here in the United States of America. That brand of terrorism was nurtured in fear. God chases out fear. NOW is the time for believers in the God of Jesus Christ to witness the Gospel— the Good News. We cannot get stuck in the words and actions of evil. NOW is the time to stand and speak God—the language of love.
What I am advocating is “God Speak”. Speaking about the goodness of God. “God Speak” is what we say when we are faced with president-elect appointments that would send us back to a Jim Crow era, and not just for Black people. “God Speak” needs to be our response. Things look bleak, but we serve a God who can overcome any injustice. We serve a God who asks that we not allow ourselves to respond with hate.
“God Speak” needs to erupt from our mouths to put “Hate Speak to bed once and for all.