• Tyler Sanders

All Voices Matter

Since the tragic death of George Floyd, protests have been formed around the country and the world. While I have had my opinions about the BLM protests and everything related to it, I have remained silent on the matter until now, waiting and observing to see what results of it.

For Black Americans who do not support or fully support the BLM organization, it is hard to share any opinion and be taken seriously at the same time. I can say this because I myself, am Black. Because I’m conservative, my viewpoints have never been popular within my community, or even many of my friend groups for that matter, but I wouldn’t even consider my viewpoints on BLM as conservative. I think of them more as common sense viewpoints. While I do have much to say on the matter of protests and the racial issues in the country, my views are philosophical in nature and will not bore you with such things.

Instead, I want to focus on one issue in particular and that is the fact, as a whole, BLM supporters want change but do not seem willing to want to have all the conversations needed to achieve this. So what do I mean? Well, the biggest cultural result of the protest so far is what I call a rejuvenated debate on what many see as racial issues in this country. One of the main goals of the protests supposedly was to start a conversation on not just how police should change but how America should change. While I think, in theory, this is good and healthy for the country, it is one sided. Real change can’t truly happen until the BLM movement is willing to listen to all voices, but even more so, all black voices. This conversation also has to come within the black communities first. This is important because regardless of the negative things that we see; the riots, calls to defund the police, and so on, comes from the most vocal and most radical of the movement and do not represent the movement and, more so, Black Americans, as a whole. Some are all in for BLM, others are in between, and then some like me who are for the idea but not the movement itself.

Black Americans, as a community, are more than willing to talk about race and what needs to be done to change institutions. But, when it comes to critiquing the movement, any conversations in that regard are not genuinely discussed, if not discarded from the start. As a result, if the Black community can’t have a conversation over differing views on the matter, then the BLM movement as a whole can’t. If they can’t do that, then BLM will never be able to hold sustainable conversations with anyone regardless of race. The only thing that will change, will be the people and institutions the movement already has influence over.

All this being said, it is clear that, again to the movement as a whole, only one voice matters and all of America should stop and without question listen. It is understandable to see where this mindset comes from given the country’s history on race issues. The problem for the BLM movement is however, that this mindset is the biggest roadblock to any real change. While there have been peaceful protests and conversation, there have also been riots. People have been assaulted and some even killed over BLM related issues. While some of these, without question, are inexcusable, there are other things, like the riots, that the BLM organization is willing to overlook or justify.

It is important that I clarify that I am talking about the organization now and not the movement because I view them as two separate things. These justifications of unlawful behavior are part of this one voice mindset. It is part of this narrative that Black voices are not being listened to and therefore they have a right to act out. It is also this mindset that has caused many Americans to not take the movement as seriously as perhaps the movement wanted. This has trickled down to a great number of, who I call the “non-radicals” of the movement. I expect the BLM organization to overlook some of these things, but not the average person in my community and yet it is happening. This is happening because no one within the movement is stepping up to say ”No more” so while maybe the looting has stopped in many places, unlawful behavior continues.

I say no one speaks up on the matter but that is false. There are many voices who speak up on the matter but are ignored, shoved aside, or, as it relates to black people, deemed as Uncle Toms. Some of these voices are like me and do not support BLM but not all. They see how their own mindset is actually a plague to their movement. They recognize that there needs to be checks and balances within the movement and, on an even deeper level, within communities. To some degree, they create a different viewpoint that holds more weight than mine solely to the fact that they are supporters of BLM and others should be more inclined to listen to them solely due to that fact. But they aren’t. Because the BLM organization has such an influence over the movement, they affect what is popular and what is not. Well, right now, what is popular is that the goal of the “one voice” is more important than that of those who either mean well or disagree with that voice.

In context of what is happening now, the BLM movement, as a whole, is so focused on its goal and driven by emotion that it is ignoring warning signs from people outside and within the movement. They are focused on what is important about their voice and are missing out on what is important and perhaps even helpful about and from the voices of others. This missing aspect is very important because while I am talking about BLM, I see this in various groups and communities from across the country.

I am talking about this to not only help people understand that many BLM supporters are probably not aware of the problems within their movement, but also to give an example of what is happening in the country as a whole. While other groups are not acting in such the extremes as some “protesters'', every group in America holds the same mindset as BLM to some extent. Conversations are always about the popular view of one side against the popular view of another, often ignoring all the voices, views of the conversation. And, just as this is a roadblock for BLM, it is also a roadblock for all groups who want to supposedly improve and better America in some way.

Long story short, we can all learn from what’s going on right now and if we all want to live in a better America, however we wish that America to look like, we must recognize that, regardless of the situation, all voices matter.

Article by Tyler Sanders

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