Understanding the Black Lives Matter protests

I’m Jon Ford the founder of Life on Time. I was undecided on how as an organisation we should approach the Black Lives Matter protests. As a middle aged white man, living in a sleepy village in Kent, I was confused and frustrated by what I was seeing in the media after George Floyd’s death.

I didn’t understand why people were putting their lives at risk, going out in such large numbers to the black lives matter protests during lockdown, in a pandemic.

Was I racist for not understanding the Black Lives Matter protests?

I didn’t like the way I was feeling. Confusion can lead to a whole heap of negative emotions so I needed to understand why people would risk so much for the Black Lives Matter protests.

I am fortunate enough to have worked with a business consultant for many years called Dr Wayne Wright, someone who I respect greatly. Wayne is a black man, born in Britain and he lives in my local town. He created the video below and after seeing it, I reached out to him to see if he could help me understand.

As you will have heard in his video and in our podcast the level of racism he still experiences to this day is shocking. I knew that racism still existed in pockets of society, but I have been ignorant to the level and complexity of how it’s still ingrained within our society. The underlying subconscious bias still prevalent has been set up through hundred’s of years of colonial systems, something I had never previously been aware of. Some of these systems have been broken down, but the majority are still within the ecosystems of how we all live. I now understand why the BAME community feel so strongly and at Life on Time we want to support the movement.

Equality for all – we need to treat everyone with love and respect irrespective of the colour of their skin

Wayne has some really great advice in his video and in his interview with me on our podcast. The key message and the narrative that we need to take from the black Lives matter protests and movement is that we all need to focus harder on equality. We need to treat everyone the same, whether they are black, brown, bisexual, transgender, fat or thin. This may sound obvious, but the level of subconscious bias ingrained through the systems we live in, is surprising and Wayne’s stories confirm it.

The question is how do we encourage equality and how can we change the systems which currently uphold inequality? This is a big problem and I’m not going to profess to know the answer. However what I do know is that by looking back at previous Life on Time articles – we should be looking to focus first on what we can control. We all have control over our own attitude and our own actions, so starting today be equal with your treatment of others. If you hear anyone within a group that is portraying something different about the Black Lives protests and movement, try and move them back onto the overriding narrative and story which they are trying to communicate, which is equality for all. No one can argue with that.

At Life on Time we will also be looking at introducing Equality within our founding principles and our coaching programme. Our mission is to inspire a generation into positive change in wellbeing and personal development and we now feel that promoting equality should be a strong part of our message.

Written by Jon Ford