Psychology and ‘Black Lives Matter’

Psychology is my method of protest. Using my knowledge and teaching is my method of protest. 

Psychology of Empathy

You don’t have to be directly affected by an event to feel it’s impact or vicariously experience what someone else has gone through. 

Neuropsychology tells us that our brains change when we observe others. When we see someone experiencing pain, the area of our brain for pain mirrors the same area of the brain in the other person. This is known as ‘Mirror neurones’.

The brain changes that occur in response to seeing another person in pain are the same brain changes that occur when we experience the same pain.

Your brain does not have a ‘race’. 

Your brain is neither black nor white when it comes to pain. We all have the capacity to feel pain and empathise with others…unless you are a psychopath or have a neurological disorder that prevents you from feeling pain (literally).

Yet, experiences, and inexperiences have the power to change your brain on a functional level and structural level. This is why those who have never experienced racial injustice may find it harder to empathise, yet they are not unable to empathise by virtue of their biology. 

Your brain has spoken through its neurones and you have no excuse to be silent on issues of injustice, wickedness and dehumanisation. Your brain supports the Black Lives Matter movement...But are you suppressing the ‘uncomfortable’ feelings? Are you running away from those tough conversations? By doing so, you are doing a disservice to your brain and your mind’s capacity to empathise.

You can no longer be silent on issues that are painful for your fellow humans. You can train your brain to be more empathetic by having those difficult conversations, asking questions, seeking to understand and not just to respond! Remember every experience and inexperience changes your brain. I pray that you never experience racial injustice – yet, I pray that you actively experience racial injustice through your intentional learning and neuronal empathy for those who have experienced it!

Using your platform to highlight an issue is bigger than joining a crowd or wanting to follow a trend. It’s bringing awareness to an issue that affects your fellow human being and using your freedom to set other people free.

Psychology can point to viable solutions

Would you give a psychopath authority? Would you give someone who lacks compassion, authority? Would you give someone who has an under-functioning ‘mirror neuronal’ system, authority? Would you give someone who does not have the capacity to empathise, authority?

Perhaps the issue is that in positions of authority, we have individuals who got through to the Police Force on physical credentials and rudimentary psychometric tests, but no real attention or tests were given to their capacity to empathise. 

Traits such as empathy are often considered a weakness. However, the way our brain was wonderfully designed includes the human ability to display empathy, even at a neural level. There may be individuals with some underfunctioning in that area — who need support to train their brain for this purpose. Perhaps the way in which police officers and significant authority are recruited and selected needs to be reviewed. Perhaps cognitive psychologists, need to push for psychometric scales that assess empathy to be a central feature of the recruitment process for any job; especially those that carry a great responsibility of power over others! 

Protest in your own way

It is so important that people feel comfortable protesting in their own way. I certainly won’t be joining any physical protest on the matter at present due to health, but praying for those who do go out to protest is always an available way of protesting. 

Using your voice, platform and knowledge are great ways too,  protest or share in the way that you feel comfortable doing. Use your sphere of influence (I’m speaking to my white readers here!! I love seeing the support that BLM is receiving from out white counterparts. What we need now more than ever is for white people to protest in ‘their’ spaces. By ‘their’ spaces, I mean the places in which you know and I know that black people have no access to. We are relying on you to use you freedom in those areas, to fight against injustice! 



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I’ve just read, ‘Psychology and Black Lives Matter’. Check it out and join the conversation. #BlackLivesMatter

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