Valuing Black Lives Connects to Concept in U.S. Revolution

We are in the midst of a living movement that existed in this country several hundred years ago.

Consider the parallels. There are protests by a disenfranchised people united by their public experience of injustice by the authoritative power. Does this sound familiar?city3

The Black Lives Matter campaign has been accused of being a movement fueling division. Perhaps it is merely shining a blistering light on a country already divided.

Because I love school, I thought the following two-question quiz might help readers make better sense of what’s going on.

1. Based on American history, it seems like we should:

a. Play Switzerland, sit back and let it all unfold.

b. Join the movement with emotional, verbal and perhaps financial support to help advocate for change, working to protect our neighbors.

c. Resist the premise of the protest because of technicalities or philosophical disagreement and double down on squelching it intellectually.

What do Americans who opposed racial integration in schools, joining the allies in World War II, women’s suffrage and freeing American slaves have in common?

They were on the wrong side of an inevitable cultural shift rooted in the ideals of promoting the common good. What makes this movement different from others?

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Dan Kahneman suggests our political and social judgments don’t come from careful, reasoned analysis. Rather, we all believe that we are logical in our worldview but are really not using this analysis much. This leads to the next quiz question:

2. Because our decision-making doesn’t come from pure logic and reason as we believe, what helps us make up our mind about Black Lives Matter? Please Google Kahneman’s research before filling in the blank.

White America, let’s understand that our forefathers threw riots (and tea), organized revolts, and circulated inflammatory and dividing rhetoric to bring light to a cause. In their case, it was over being taxed without consent.

These protesters lived and worked together and built momentum against their perception that the privileged British crown and parliament were treating them unfairly. This group of colonists felt that they had no voice to enact real change to protect their livelihood, so a movement gained ground.

Perhaps it’s time to reassess our reaction to the movement now very much in the light. This movement existed long before the #Blacklivesmatter campaign. The movement is inherent within the fabric of this nation.

It is simple and has stood the test of time. The movement can be summed up in four words that may resonate better than #Blacklivesmatter: Don’t Tread On Me.

We should be able to agree that protests to respect the lives of Black citizens are worthy if Black lives are indeed worthy. An unbiased focus on safety, security and basic human rights for all Americans is a worthy endeavor, and it’s a worthy endeavor to point out when segments of the population are not given equitable securities to this end.

We may not agree on the action plan, but let’s try to imagine what we will say about this period of time to our grandchildren in a few decades and go from there.

This post was originally published in the Kansas City Star.

About the Author:

dom scaliseDominick Scalise, PhD,  directs the counseling psychology program at Avila University and maintains a private practice in Olathe as a licensed psychologist.

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