White People — Give Space to Black People’s Outrage

Societal Transformation Requires Us to Listen, Validate, & Engage

Justin D. Henderson, PhD
7 min readJun 4, 2020
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Protests are emerging all across the country in response to the chronic injustice that has impacted black members of our society that has largely gone by without any meaningful acknowledgement and change. The American rebellion that is emerging is an ongoing effort to awaken American society to the continued injustice faced within the black community by systemic racism.

And so the response by some white citizens usually starts with something like: “I agree that the death is sad but why do they (black Americans) got to be so angry?”

Commonly in these contexts, white people will make no mention to the reason why there is a rebellion to begin with but instead clench their jaws at the sight of groups of people protesting in the street.

This reflexive reaction has many component parts that we need to unpack. Hidden within these responses is the white socialization that contributes to the larger social ills for which these protests are attempting to illuminate and dismantle.

We all need to recognize with absolute clarity that there is an invisible defense system by which white folks may…



Justin D. Henderson, PhD

Dr. Justin D. Henderson is a psychologist, professor of counseling, and organizational consultant. He’s a Medium Top Writer in Leadership and Business.