How a White Guy Understands Black Lives Matter

A key to understanding something written or said by someone else is understanding the context in which it was written or spoken. For example, to fully understand the Constitution, you have to learn about the lives and times of the authors and the people they wrote the document for. Those things framed the meanings of their words. In a similar fashion, to understand the Scriptures, you have to understand what the words meant to the hearers. That’s why theologians study Greek, Hebrew, and ancient near eastern history. The same practice holds true for understanding the Black Lives Matter movement as a white person. Study history, both recent and that of the early years of this country. Research the failed social engineering attempts of forced bussing and building the projects. Learn about the impact that the gentrification of the inner cities is having on people. Read literature such as Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and write down a list of the injustices he mentioned. Watch a movie like The Help (or read the book) and continually remind yourself that it was set in 1963. Listen, I mean really listen, to the album Anomaly by Lacrae. Learn the truth about Margaret Sanger and the anti-black sentiment she held as she founded Planned Parenthood. Most importantly, ask a black person that you know to explain what the movement means to him or her. Then, and only then, put feet to your convictions and become part of the solution, for if you don’t, you’re just part of the problem.

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6 thoughts on “How a White Guy Understands Black Lives Matter

  1. Andy,
    I took your advice and read the Wikipedia article on Margaret Sanger. Their version of her animus towards blacks is slightly less harsh than I had previously thought. Martin Luther King even accepted the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966 and praised her work. She started an abortion clinic in Harlem with all black doctors. Apparently, she gets thrown in with the eugenics movement but she only wanted to prevent more pregnancies by the poor and uneducated, not exterminate blacks. At least this is how Wikipedia sees her life. I agree absolutely that context is essential to understanding anything in life but unfortunately most people never take the time to do any real research. I’m old enough to remember the civil rights movement of the 60’s and I spent a year of my life in the Deep South but I would never claim to comprehend what the black experience is today in America. It’s critical that we each have to form our own opinion based on experience and some degree of verification. Thanks for that very important reminder. You made a great point.
    Guy Horst

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    • Thanks Guy. I’ve read the Wikipedia page. I have also read Sanger’s actual literature. Wikipedia soft peddles it (in my opinion). I think that the most important fact is that the Planned Parenthood of today is clearly targeting the reduction of the black population. A bit more than 13% of the US is black and yet almost 37% of all abortions performed by Planned Parenthood are on black women, killing black babies. There is something profoundly wrong with that.

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  2. I work with foster kids from all races but oddly enough not many Asian kids seem to end up in foster care. Just an observation. My personal experience tends to make me think black kids, from birth, are at a huge disadvantage more than any other race. Very few fathers bother to stick around for the hard part of being a father and black women all have to work so the kids get raised in daycare and by the schools. It becomes a vicious cycle of dysfunctional family life, poor education, lack of job skills and more kids born into similar circumstances. I agree that the abortion rate is ridiculously out of proportion but until we fix the root cause I fully expect it will stay the same whether Planned Parenthood exists or not. Not trying to defend them, just trying to explain the bigger picture and what BlackLivesMatter needs to focus on to change that outcome.

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    • Great insights. The cycle that we are in today began with the projects and the failures of social engineering. I believe that there were some well-intended people involved in those things, but well-intended and poorly executed still equals poor results. Thank you for working with fosters because the one commodity these kids need that no money can buy is compassion. A person can tolerate amazing things if he or she feels loved.

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      • I try to evoke those feelings but most of these kids can’t even recognize the emotion behind it. My guess is that those well intended people never bothered to visit the real world to see the results first hand. They should spend a week with me. Most of them wouldn’t show up for the second day. It’s really easy to lecture on social issues but it’s really hard to get your hands dirty. Keep up the good work Andy.

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