BLM: Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them

There is the old cliche, “You can win the battle, but lose the war.”

As an ally of Black Lives Matter (BLM), as a person who firmly believes in equality and equity of resources, as a person who is working to be as antiracist as possible, I’m feeling for the BLM movement.

As a white middle-aged man, firmly a Liberal Democrat, I want the demands of BLM to come to fruition. Equality and Antiracist policies are far far long overdue. We have definitely, as a country, slid back a couple of decades under the current White House administration.

Which is why I’m afraid the continued protesters in Portland and Kenosha, and maybe the country right now, might strongly think about the long-term goals and a skillful strategy to get those goals accomplished.

Breaking curfew and continuing to protest past dusk regardless of whether a curfew is in place does not seem a good strategy. On Twitter today, I saw white support for BLM has had a steep decline in recent weeks. I find this quite tragic actually, while at the same time I understand, rightly and wrongly, why this is the case.

People in general are very visual. White people, quite wrongly I believe, have been lead by the media, movies, TV, songs and many other outlets to be afraid of blacks and people of color, but most especially black men. I used to be one of them for no factual reason other than the images around me.

I have never been attacked, harassed, assaulted or harmed in any way by a black man or woman. I was not raised to fear blacks, in fact I was raised to believe we are all equal in the eyes of God. I have lived in neighborhoods that were predominately black. I’ve had many black friends and colleagues over the years whom we’ve all had fun and worked together well. And yet, until my 30’s, I was leary and afraid of black people, especially black men.

What changed my views, my perspectives, and my life experiences was becoming an educator. I substituted in a large urban city, was part of a cohort for my student teaching years at a school educating mainly black students, and my first teaching position was in an inner city school with mainly a black student body. And yet, when I started I had an irrational fear of the parents of my black students.

I don’t know why, but one day shortly after starting the school year, I asked myself why I was afraid, and also told myself, if I am going to teach in an inner city school, which is where I wanted to be, not because students were black, but because I wanted to work with students who were poor, as a person who had grown up poor too. That day, I told myself, if these are my students, and I loved my students, then I could not also be afraid of their parents. To be afraid would hinder my relationships and trust with the families of my students, and that would make me a bad teacher. So, from that day forward, I was no longer afraid.

Which is why I want to see the BLM movement succeed at the highest levels! There are no rational reasons for whites to be afraid of blacks and people of color. We all want the same things in life, and for everyone to have equal access and equity, we have to do away with racist policies and laws. We must actually begin treating everyone as equals.

However, if a white person turns on the TV, and in doing so sees buildings being burned, windows broken, and protesters in the face of law enforcement, they will shy away from supporting BLM, and will irrationally be afraid because the reels of tape in our heads align with the fear we’ve been fed wrongly and for far too long.

I want you to win the equality war. But it won’t be done under another four years of trumpism. It is not fair, it is wrong, it is reality, none of us can afford to feed the narrative of trumpism. Otherwise we can all look forward, even their followers, to a living hell from which we may never emerge in our lifetimes.

So, I beg of you, please end daily protests before or at dusk across the nation. Go home to be safe in your homes to be able to protest the next day, and the next day, and the next until equality is within the moral fiber of our nation as it lives up to all men [and women] as created equal. Let the white people at home, who turn on the news, open their papers, and read social media, see daily peaceful protests of people of all colors working together, and then let them see the rioters, whom so far appear to be mostly white, clashing with other white people. If the fuel is not fed, the fire is extinguished, and it allows the movement to continue the battle.

This is just one white man’s, an ally and practicing Antiracist doing his best while striving to be better, thoughts. I am not a strategist, a politician, or a community organizer. I am just an average run-of-the-mill human who sees the wrongness of our current situation and wants it to be set right. Take what I say with a grain of salt, something to ponder, something to rage against, or possible worthwhile advice.

Ultimately, I want the BLM movement to succeed. I’ll continue to do what I am able to do to support the movement.

God’s speed, be careful, be safe.

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