Right-wing commentator Glenn Beck wrote a op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday calling for conservatives to empathize with the Black Lives Matter movement and understand the “pain and anger” felt by many black Americans.
“We need to listen to one another, as human beings, and try to understand one another’s pain,” Beck wrote. “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.”
The Blaze founder and radio host, who himself led an “All Lives Matter”-themed march in Birmingham, Alabama last year, wrote in the Times op-ed that his thinking had “evolved” since the Dallas shooting this summer. Specifically, his feelings changed after watching an interview with the parents of the black Army veteran who fatally shot five police officers there.
“I was able to see their heartache and sorrow as parents, as Americans and as human beings,” Beck explained, adding that other conversations with Black Lives Matter activists made him realize that they were “decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans.”
“We don’t agree on everything, certainly not on politics; but are we not more than politics?” Beck asked. “I refuse to define each of them based on the worst among them. 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.”
The conservative media host said he had been pilloried by listeners for inviting the activists on his show and for his August speech at the annual RedState gathering in which he criticized the “All lives matter” response to the group’s rallying cry.