The Importance of Dialogue

By: Ben Hollander

One week, Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem, stating, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The following week, Kaepernick chose to kneel, where he was joined by teammate Eric Reid and Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret.

What was the cause of this sudden change? The reason for this turnabout was Kaepernick having a discussion with these people. Whether Kaepernick is correct or even if his teammates agree with him is irrelevant; the important aspect is that they had a discussion and an open dialogue, which allowed them to move forward.

Contrast that willingness to have a dialogue with the most Palestinian liberation groups, many of which have a policy of anti-normalization. Anti-normalization in certain contexts is (voluntarily) refusing participation in instances where one group is oppressed and the other group benefits from that oppression. The issue with this policy is that it leads to a shutdown of most (if not all) meaningful dialogue, thereby halting progress. History has shown that this policy of anti-normalization leads to violence instead of change.

Recently, “The Movement for Black Lives” declared solidarity with Palestinian liberation groups. It is imperative for The Movement for Black Lives and other similar organizations to not adopt this policy of anti-normalization, but instead to listen openly and sincerely, as others should listen openly and sincerely to their message to work towards a better future.

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