Perpetuating Stigma Through Unwitting Racism

In his blog today, B.M. Simpson offers his view that the Black Lives Matter is a “distraction by design.” His outrage starts with Colin Kaepernick for screwing up his weekly respite from the world (televised football). Mr. Simpson seems quite angered that folks he looks to for entertainment would ever take a political stance.

The author of “Just Limin” (BDN blog) refers to the NFL star in a number of disparaging ways, most gratuitously as an “attention seeking punk.” Mr. Simpson goes on to express his disgust that Mr. Kapernick has turned the national anthem into a “Look at me be a dink show.”

Seriously? He’s a man silently expressing his beliefs and values. Agree or disagree with his position, perhaps we could agree that he has that right?

Mr. Simpson goes on to explain everything that is wrong with the Black Lives Matter movement through the most condescending of anecdotes. He ignorantly presents his theories that the real problem for black men in our country is “poverty and violence” that is a product of “a lack of good paying jobs.”

Mr. Simpson, 1950’s white America called and they’re concerned about your views.

I find explanations and theories about Black Lives Matter from the average rural white guy to be off putting at best. The gross over simplifications this blogger gives not only reflect ignorance, they strongly indicate what is perhaps the most insidious form of racism in our society – unwitting racism.

For decades now I have recommended, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” It’s a brilliant and enduring article about white privilege that many of us are genuinely unaware of having and therefore take for granted. The very fact that a blogger can spread hate and have that right as free speech is a privilege of living in this country. For Mr. Simpson to disparage an athlete for practicing a form of free speech is immature at best and demonstrates a gross lack of awareness.

We have much to learn from each other. When I have to explain to a 17 year old boy why some women are uncomfortable walking through the dark parking lot at night, I know that he is simply lacking insight and knowledge and so I gladly educate the young man. When a middle aged man shows a same lack of awareness, I sooner see a man who doesn’t care to know.

I will not profess to understand enough about Black Lives Matter to explain it. I can share with you that it has my support. I will leave those better educated and involved to define and defend it. As an ally, I will call out racism wherever I see it as I believe it my responsibility to do so.

For the Mr. Simpson’s of the world I have two quotes:

“The fundamental cause of the trouble in the modern world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”—Bertrand Russell.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Steven Covey

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.