In a surprising turn of events, conservative political commentator Glenn Beck is voicing his empathy for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Opening up in a lengthy op-ed for the NY Times, Beck stressed the importance of all people seeking to understand one another on the basis of things like humanity and unity.
Speaking specifically about the Black Lives Matter movement and how the steps he recently took allowed him to see the group in a different light, he shared that he met members of the organization face-to-face during an interview on his show following the Dallas Police Officer shootings.
“After the massacre, I invited several Black Lives Matter believers on my show,” Beck wrote.” I got to know them as people — on and off air — and invited them back again. These individuals are decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans. We don’t agree on everything, certainly not on politics; but are we not more than politics?”
A particularly interesting point in Beck’s commentary came when he spoke about not judging all African-Americans or all members of the Black Lives Matter movement by the negative things that have happened within their circles — a stark contrast to the often-stereotypical approach Beck has taken when speaking on the Black community in the past.
“I refuse to define each of them based on the worst among them,” he continued. “No movement is monolithic. The individuals I met that day are not ‘Black Lives Matter;’ they are Black Americans who feel disenfranchised and aggrieved; they are believers; they are my neighbors and my fellow citizens.”
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
Beck then went on to point out that listening is a crucial part of the process of understanding and moving past stubborn opposition or division. “We need to listen to one another, as human beings, and try to understand one another’s pain. Empathy is not acknowledging or conceding that the pain and anger others feel is justified.”
“Empathy is acknowledging someone else’s pain and anger while feeling for them as human beings — even, and maybe especially, when we don’t necessarily agree or understand them,” he continued.
In his closing comments, Beck referenced the ideologies of iconic Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We must follow the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message and method and move away from a pursuit of “winning” and toward reclaiming our shared humanity. We cannot reconcile with those who want to tear up the Constitution or those who want blood in the street. But we can and must reconcile of our own free will with our neighbors and friends.”
You can read Beck’s full commentary here.