Can I support BLM as a white person?

Illustration by Paige Veal | The Signal

Do white people have the right to support Black Lives Matter publicly? There has not been a single moment where people do not judge people based on stereotypes about their skin color. 

American culture comes packaged with racism, and it continues to be a problem even today. Though protests and social progress are challenging attitudes more and more every year, bigots are a constant.

Based on history alone, there has been a fair share of hatred towards various minorities. Bigots often deserve conformity, having been exposed to only one type of religion or one group of people throughout their lives.

This lack of exposure is still an issue today in 2021. Older generations, in particular, have a strong desire for the ways of yesterday. 

However, many of the older generations took part in various civil rights protests in the 1960s. The Freedom Riders are a prominent example of races coexisting in allyship. These Freedom Riders would ride buses across the country, with white people sitting in the back and black people sitting in the front. 

These people could not stand the inequality towards black people, so they decided to act in protest.

While everyone should support the Black Lives Matter movement, showing that support is not always easy. Some activists assume that because white people are the dominant race in America, they can not understand the struggles of black Americans. Therefore, they argue, white people should not be involved in protests. 

I have been in situations where I did not feel comfortable showing my support because of my skin color. It gets harder to support something when you never know if activists will judge you based on whether or not you experience their suffering. 

This viewpoint is not unique to the Black Lives Matter protests. People constantly do the same thing with other movements. 

For example, some feminists do not believe men deserve to advocate for them because they never understand a woman’s fear of walking alone at night. Some women’s activists believe men do not have the right to show support if they do not understand women’s issues. 

When supporting Black Lives Matter, there will always be one person judging you because, according to that person, since you do not face the things they face, we should not have the right to support it publicly. When that should not be the case. 

Everyone should be able to express empathy for a cause they support. Some people do not want to publicly state their true opinions on this subject because of the fear of judgment.

Another issue someone might face is where a person throws out ‘white privilege’ as a reason they should not publicly support Black Lives Matter. This excuse is stupid because they are placing judgment onto the person based on their privilege. 

If anything, people with that privilege should publicly advocate for it because they have that privilege. It is not a matter of understanding what a black person goes through on a daily basis. People should base activism on the amount of empathy a person feels towards it.