Ding. The white iPhone XR with a cracked screen protector brightens the room. Sophomore Wyatt Byers’ hands meet the clear OtterBox plastic case. His eyes land on a new Instagram notification stating someone has just replied to a DM he recently sent.
Byers had conversations over Instagram DMs regarding Black Lives Matter posts. He said he responded to people’s stories after seeing them post something he disagreed with.
“[The content I disagreed with was] mainly stuff trying to disprove systemic racism,” Byers said. “For example, white people were getting in lethal encounters with cops more often, but then in return to that you could say proportionally African American people are targeted more by cops.”
Byers said there were four or five people he regularly responded to. He said the reactions to his arguments depended on the person. He said some didn’t respond and others tried to argue their point.
If people would listen more, then their opinions would probably be shifted on both sides. Especially with this coming presidential debate, [the sides] are a little bit devoted and ignorant and biased towards their personal side, so I think that if you listen to other people and listen to yourself a lot then it really changes your opinion for the better.”
— Wyatt Byers
“With the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s less of a political issue and more of a humanitarian issue,” Byers said. “So I felt like I was not really doing justice, but at least helping the cause by talking about their points. Also, all the riots will be seen in history from now on, so I prefer to be on the right side of history, whenever it comes to that point.”
While at NKMS, Byers said the school hosted a pursuit week where students stopped their traditional classes and spent a week focusing on a single topic within a small group. Byers said he signed up for the social justice pursuit, which, he said, caused him to shift his political views.
“I used to be more on the right wing side of things, [but] I’ve started listening to myself and other people and I’ve changed my views,” Byers said. “So I think I can do that with other people as well.”
Byers said he believes people need to focus more on facts. He also thinks people need to listen to other people and themselves in order to change their political opinions.
“If people would listen more, then their opinions would probably be shifted on both sides,” Byers said. “Especially with this coming presidential debate, [the sides] are a little bit devoted and ignorant and biased towards their personal side, so I think that if you listen to other people and listen to yourself a lot then it really changes your opinion for the better.”