Don’t Let Ignorance Dictate Your Response To Or Rejection Of #BlackLivesMatter
I want to encourage people who struggle with or make assumptions about the #BlackLivesMatter movement to educate yourselves about everything for which the movement stands. Rather than getting defensive, making rebuttal statements like “all lives matter” or doing anything else without a clear understanding is simply not wise. Ignorance by definition is a “lack of knowledge or information”. Don’t form your opinions based on your own ignorance about any subject, including this one.
Us white folks tend to respond to movements such as this with an immediate defensiveness. I admit that when I first learned about the #BlackLivesMatter movement I had a knee-jerk defensive reaction (as a straight white male), and it was only reinforced by the limited worldview of media response and other influences based on my own experiences, friendships, and circles I travel with through life.
As I try to understand the movement, and work through my own evolution of understanding bigotry in this country, my initial and wrong reaction has changed to one of support and empathy. The statement “Black Lives Matter” is NOT a statement that black lives matter MORE than any other lives. It is a statement of a goal that black lives should matter AS MUCH AS other lives, and that throughout history through today they simply have not and still do not.
I do not believe anyone could prove otherwise. Can you?
If that is the case, as I believe along with so many others, and you agree, then please take the time to learn everything you can about the movement before dismissing it or expressing outrage against it. I think you may find that it is not only not a threat to you or your loved ones, but is actually about decency, peace and justice for all in this country. If you learn as much as you can about the movement and still disagree with it, then at least you know your decision is made from a place of knowledge rather than ignorance or defensiveness.
I’ve included a link to the #BlackLivesMatter Guiding Principles page on their website for those who have not yet read them. I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts (for or against) after learning more.
This post was originally published on my Facebook profile on 12/3/16. I am working on moving previous related posts from there to Medium in order to continue the journey here that I started sharing there.