DEAR HARRIETTE: My stepfather, who has been with my mother for the last three years, has been making insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter protests. For example, saying that the protests are all about looting and violence, and dismissing the concerns of African Americans in this country. How do I approach the topic so that I can try to educate him and change his perspectives while being respectful since I am trying to build a friendly relationship with him and don’t want to cause any family tension? -- Black Lives Matter
DEAR BLACK LIVES MATTER: Now that the looting and violence have died down but the marching continues, you can point out that the true protesters remain -- people who are fighting for equity. You can give him articles and books to read, point him to reports about racial disparities in our country and encourage him to open his eyes to the fullness of what is happening in the nation today. There are many reading lists that you can access. Here’s one with a broad range of ideas: nytimes.com/2019/05/29/books/review/antiracist-reading-list-ibram-x-kendi.html.
Beyond making suggestions to your stepfather, you might want to back down a bit. Arguing about the rising tide of awareness of racial inequity will not likely change his mind. Instead, insert comments when you feel he is able to hear them. Watch movies -- in his company -- that shine a light on race relations. Subtly bring up the subject, but do your best not to argue.