For years, radio show host Glenn Beck cultivated the public persona of an angry conservative whose unfiltered, inflammatory commentary catered to a particular subset on the right. Beck's political stances are that typical of an influential right-wing figure, which is why his recent support of the Black Lives Matter movement has come as something of a surprise.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Beck wrote of how his stance on BLM evolved after the shootings in Dallas that killed five police officers:
After the massacre, I invited several Black Lives Matter believers on my show. I got to know them as people — on and off air — and invited them back again. These individuals are decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans. We don't agree on everything, certainly not on politics; but are we not more than politics? I refuse to define each of them based on the worst among them. No movement is monolithic. The individuals I met that day are not "Black Lives Matter"; they are black Americans who feel disenfranchised and aggrieved; they are believers; they are my neighbors and my fellow citizens.
Beck urged others to empathize with the movement.
"We need to listen to one another, as human beings, and try to understand one another's pain. Empathy is not acknowledging or conceding that the pain and anger others feel is justified. Empathy is acknowledging someone else's pain and anger while feeling for them as human beings — even, and maybe especially, when we don't necessarily agree or understand them," he wrote.
"We are a country in trouble, and we have only one way out: reconciliation... We cannot reconcile with those who want to tear up the Constitution or those who want blood in the street. But we can and must reconcile of our own free will with our neighbors and friends."
Considering his controversial stances on many other issues, Beck's op-ed has riled up many conservatives and liberals alike.
But it isn't the first time Beck has expressed support for Black Lives Matter. In mid-August, Beck gave a speech at the RedState Gathering event in which he implored his fellow right-wingers to "understand" the movement.
"All of us are sitting around a table, and we're all friends," Beck told the audience, using a pie analogy. "It's time for dessert, and everybody gets pie except for me and you. And you say, 'I didn't get any pie.' Everybody at the table looks at you and says 'I know. All pie matters.' You say, 'but I don't have any pie! What about my pie?'"
View related content from our partners:
Cover image via Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com