How do I explain that it’s important to me to speak up for something that can’t speak for itself?

Q: I got into an argument with a friend of mine who is a person of color. They were mad at me because I feel very passionately about protecting the ocean and they said that made me a bad person because I should only care about is social justice. I do care about social justice and I stand up to racism where I can, but how do I reply to that? How do I explain that it’s important to me to speak up for something that can’t speak for itself?

So, I’ve been thinking about this a lot since your question was submitted. I’m not sure that this is the complete, or the best answer but Ill take a go at it. I encourage others to join in the discussion through the comment section.

I just posted an article that I found on Salon.com about white people respecting what black people in america are feeling right now. This is very important!

It sounds like your friend is expressing their pain right now. Hearing their pain is important. Listen to what your friend is saying. Are they saying that the ocean isn’t important? I kinda doubt it. It sounds to me like they are saying that right now they are suffering (undergoing pain, distress, or hardship) and that they don’t feel that you are hearing them.

The best thing to do right now is to listen.

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