The last few weeks have sparked some very tough and interesting conversations. Some in-person/virtually and some on the internet in private messages.
One thing that I’ve quickly started to recognize in myself, along with those that I’m talking with, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, is this pattern of trying to find the cracks in the ceiling, the loopholes, or playing devil’s advocate…essentially the ways in which we can find crafty reasonings to excuse ourselves and ultimately disengage from the uncomfortable conversation.
And I get it…
This conversation SUCKS. It sucks so badly at a time when the world is already pretty sucky. And if we can find a viable and guilt-free way out and let other people deal with it, why wouldn’t we??? 🤷🏻♀️
But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
What I mean by that is–you don’t have to fully agree and be on board with every line item in order to actively participate in the cause.
To be more specific, a common sentence structure I’ve heard and read is:
“Well, I don’t agree with (insert: one particular part of many), so I can’t support Black Lives Matter”.
Maybe you have an adverse reaction to the word “privilege”.
Or don’t like that George Floyd had a criminal record.
Maybe you have family in law enforcement so the idea of having to choose one over the other is never gonna happen.
Or maybe you’re stuck on why we’re talking about police brutality and not Black on Black crime.
Look, what makes this movement unlike many that have come before it, is that it doesn’t have a central leader. And because it doesn’t have a central leader, a WHOLE LOT of people are telling us we need to be on board with a WHOLE LOT of things.
❌And I just couldn’t disagree more❌
I think that IF you agree on any level with the idea that we did not fully finish our work towards racial equality and anti-racism during the Civil Rights Movement, then you my friend can stand with Black Lives Matter.
And if you’ve been waiting for someone to tell you this, then darling angel, here it is: You are not required to agree with every element and person in the cause, in order to agree with the cause.
Let me say it again for the people in the back…
You are not REQUIRED to hate all cops in order to stand for police reform and the reallocation of funds.
You are not REQUIRED to label yourself as “privileged” in order to recognize that our country has made it easier for you to walk through life.
You are not REQUIRED to agree with every single statue that gets removed, every meme that goes viral, or every point a public figure makes.
DO NOT THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!
– – → If some aspects of this conversation trigger you into wanting to turn your back (which again, is normal because this conversation sucks!), might I suggest you try doing this instead…
In this order:
1. Opposition Research
I can’t tell you how many times Brandon and I have gotten into heated debates about different topics and changes that are taking place, and the thing that’s so funny is that we have these strong opinions based on very little opposition research. They’re usually based on our personal experience–which let me remind you–is NOT the same experience as POC, nor is it the full picture. So if you have issues with something, spend time on YouTube watching videos of people, who don’t look or think like you, explaining WHY this idea makes sense for them and many others.
2. Talk About It
If you’re still not fully getting it, unpack that with someone you trust. Have someone in your corner to bounce these complex ideas off of. Someone who’s also trying to actively work through this stuff. Talk it out, just as you would with a therapist when you’re having issues with a family member, who’s behavior is hard to understand.
(To be clear – talking/writing about it on the internet to a bunch of strangers, is in NO way the same thing as a private, trustworthy, back and forth dialogue with a sensible person.🙅🏻♀️)
3. Let it go
If you’ve done your opposition research and you’ve had trusted friends or family try and help you understand, and you STILL feel like you don’t agree… then f**k it, dude! Let that specific line item GO, and either reframe it to make sense for you or come to a fair conclusion that, right now, you just don’t agree with that one part of the conversation.
And one more time for good measure: 📢THAT IS OK📢!
Lastly, speaking of opposition research, I wanted to leave you with a great resource…
Ex-NFL player Emmanuel Acho started a YouTube Channel called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” and it’s AH-MAZING. His use of metaphors and the ability to answer the common questions we as white people grapple with, is profound and so simple all at the same time!
Thanks for reading,
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