Opinion: Educate yourself, then act


This past week was full of learning for me. As someone whose job is centered on opinions within the media, I consumed many different perspectives on the prevalent and continuous issue of racism in our society.

#BlackOutTuesday may have been seen as performative and useless to some. But to me, it taught a big lesson that can be a step towards becoming an ally for the Black Lives Matter Movement: Educate yourself, then act. 

A useful, and underused, thing about our brains is our ability to change our mind when receiving new knowledge. It can be hard to convey that on social media when it feels like all eyes are on us, but we have to remember that it’s OK to fix our mistakes.

When our new knowledge makes us realize that what we did (or didn’t do) may have been harmful, we have the choice and ability to make it right. 

In order to find this new knowledge, we need to educate ourselves. 

It’s hard to ignore what is on our news feeds these days, but don’t just passively read what you see. And don’t post information and without taking in what could be learned. New knowledge obtained about how to solve social issues goes to waste when it isn’t applied in real life. 

We need to be the ones who are educating ourselves about the history of the struggles that black Americans face. We may have learned about it in school, but obviously, we can educate ourselves even more.

If you’re not black and have felt beaten down by everything that’s going on, take a step back from how you feel and think about how all black people have felt and are currently feeling right now. Listen to them. Instead of speaking out about how you’ve been struggling with everything, speak out about showing up for black people that are struggling. Educate yourself on how you can become a better ally, then act.

— Spencer McWilliams
Universe Opinion Editor

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