A look at societal tipping points

History can look very different with time.

We can look back at things like segregation or women not having the right to vote and think, "Why did it take so long to resolve those situations?"

The answer is, they had to have a tipping point.

Something had to happen to make those situations unacceptable to enough people to change what had been the status quo for decades - sometimes for centuries.

Take Confederate monuments and the Confederate battle flag, for example. Elon University sociologist Raj Ghoshal says the murders of nine African-American people at a church in Charleston was the tipping point.

"This huge things happens where there is a huge amount of attention drawn to the issue and, suddenly, the Confederate symbols are cast in a whole new light," says Ghoshal. "So, there is this externally-initiated opportunity where this group can push its cause forward."

Byron Williams is a syndicated columnist who hosts the radio show "The Public Morality." He points out that women have been dealing with sexual misconduct by men forever in much more anonymous cases than we're seeing in the headlines today.

"Then when you add in the high-profile people like the Harvey Weinsteins and Matt Lauers, now capitalism invokes its amoral authority. 'We're making money? Okay.' And I think the amoral question became more powerful than human dignity," Williams said.

But Williams cautions, not all misbehavior is the same.

"Nuance is the 20th century N-word," he says. "We just don't like nuance and nuance is where some of the value is."

Ghoshal sees that too.

For example, he is opposed to what he calls, "erasing history," by removing and demolishing Confederate monuments.

"I think most of them probably belong in museums where they can be appropriately contextualized and explained," says Ghoshal.

Without that, he sees the monuments as a form of distorted history.

"The monuments don't actually tell the story of the Civil War or slavery or any of the most relevant pieces of the story," say Ghoshal.

See more about how tipping points happen in this edition of the Buckley Report.