The unjustified murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery inspired a series of long-overdue BLM protests nationwide. People gathered to protest not just these lives that were unjustly taken, but for the countless innocent black lives taken throughout our history.
Many young people were inspired by these movements and were quick to take action against the racial profiling, police brutality, and the many other forms of racism embedded in our society.
Many young people were inspired by these movements and were quick to take action and join. However, the movement didn’t translate as quickly and smoothly to some of the older generations, as originally hoped, who were raised in different settings and were not given the same educational background as our young adults today.
Teenagers and young adults have been struggling to get their parents and grandparents, who were raised in a different culture and academic era, on board with the BLM movement.
Trying to reason with your parents about anything in which there is disagreement can be tricky to navigate. Here are five tips on how to talk to your parents about BLM.
1. Open the conversation in a respectful and loving way.
The worst thing you can do when trying to talk to your parents about any matter in which you disagree is to start off in an aggressive manner.
Yes, the Black Lives Matter movement is an emotionally charged topic with centuries of frustration and anger behind it, but the best way to be heard and understood is not by shouting the loudest.
It is difficult for a parent to see their child as anything other than a child. They spent their entire adulthood being a teacher and guiding their children down the right path.
It is hard for any parent to transition into seeing their child as an adult and accepting that sometimes they are wrong, and their child might know more than they do. When talking to your parents about BLM, it will be even harder for your parents to see you as anything but a child if you open the conversation by shouting at and blaming them.
That is why it is so important that you open the conversation in a mature way that sets the tone of a two-way stream of mutual respect.
Sit them down. Calmly explain how you feel and why and listen to what they have to say as well. Approach it as a conversation and not a lecture. It is much more likely that what you say will not only be heard, but respected.
2. Plan out important points you want to make beforehand and have them written down.
The worst feeling in the world is walking away from a conversation and feeling like you did not say everything that you wanted to say.
If you are anything like me, you will practice the conversation in your head a hundred times before you actually work up the courage to sit down and have it. But the reality is, no matter how much you practice and how many different scenarios you go over, the conversation will not go exactly as you planned.
You might get hung up on one topic for longer than you anticipated, or the conversation might drift in a completely unexpected direction, and some of your most important points might end up forgotten in the process.
When you sit down to finally talk to your parents about BLM, having what you want to say in writing, even if it is just a bullet point list of key points you want to cover, will help make sure this doesn’t happen and ensure that you don’t walk away without having said everything you wanted to say.
3. Ask many questions.
Asking questions will not only make your parents see that you are open to conversation and care about what they have to say, but also forces them to think more deeply about the matter.
When you have to actually articulate your thoughts and feelings it often results in a change of perspective and a reassessment of self. The more questions you ask, the deeper they have to dive into what they believe and why.
More often than not, they will come to see the flaws in their stance all by themselves. On the contrary, be prepared to answer any questions they may have for you.
Be open to diving in deep, and make sure you are able to articulate your own thoughts and feelings well. Ignoring their questions or shutting down what they say will only close the stream of communication and will not get you anywhere.
4. Try approaching the topic in relation to something they already believe and understand.
Everyone is raised on some platform of morality. Our moral compass is generated from somewhere, whether that be a religious practice, the influence of a particular role model, or other organizations that helped shape our character. When talking to your parents about BLM, a great way to approach the conversation is to relate it to something that is already rooted in their way of thinking and living.
Take into account the perspective from which they see the world.
If your parents are from a Christian background, find Bible verses about love and explain to them that these are God’s children that are being harmed. If your parents have a military background, try addressing the topic in relation to how our country is supposed to stand for the rights and equality of all and that it’s what we should be fighting for.
These are just a few examples of how you can talk to your parents about BLM by first educating yourself on what defines their ethical stance and relating it to the movement. If you can find aspects of their foundational beliefs that contradict how they feel about the movement, you might be able to open their eyes to a new perspective on the matter.
5. Be patient.
Your parents are not going to suddenly have an epiphany and completely change their perspective. Change takes time. You might have to have the conversation with them over and over before they fully understand, and they may still never fully understand.
Try not to get discouraged and frustrated. Remember that each time you do talk to them and make yourself heard is making a difference. Just initiating the conversation alone is an important first step.
Talking to your parents about BLM might be an intimidating task, but do not turn away from the challenge. There are so many ways to help support the movement: protesting, donating, supporting black-owned businesses.
But, one of the easiest and most overlooked ways of making a difference is having these difficult conversations in your own home with the people closest to you.
Initiating these conversations, especially when it comes to your own parents, can be tricky, but hopefully, these tips on how to talk to your parents about BLM will help you have a successful and effective conversation when you are ready to do so. Keeping the conversation alive isn’t enough to bring justice to what has happened, but it is a good place to start in the long road of change ahead.