Teach Empathy

I wanted to say model empathy, but you can’t model something if you forgotten how to do it. You also can’t do it well if you’re out of practice.

Gun owners who haven’t lost loved ones to gun violence wont give up their guns.

Bigots who’ve not been impacted by bias can not accept a racist label.

Yet victims of sex crimes are not the only ones who feign indecency (but the victimizers won’t stop until they’re apprehended, convicted, and restrained).

We recognize wrong, but we point it out in the judgement of others. It’s our own discomfort that changes us. It’s the prisons that others put us in that victimize us.

Those who oppress never apologize. At best, they resign; but most often they justify their actions as fitting for the circumstance, for the environment, for the moment in time.

There are large chunks of society that can not exercise empathy. To them, your analysis doesn’t matter; your criticisms are minimized; your position is not their position. To them, there is no unity. Unity was their enemy all along. There’s no empathy so it doesn’t matter.

This is where we are. Empathy has expired. Entitlement erases empathy. Oppression erases empathy. Ignorance erases empathy.

You already know what we need. But you’ll never convince the non-empathizers without imposing on their values, oppressing their freedom, or stripping them of their rights. You’d have to witness them endure everything that they’ve caused; everything that hurts; everything that strips away…dignity. And maybe they may grow a sense of empathy.

But they’ve already witnessed it occurring to others, and they failed to act. It’s not personal until it happens to you. Empathy is personal. When tragedy occurs to groups of us, it’s interpersonal, but it’s still doesn’t belong to everyone.

Watching is not enough. Talking is not enough. Teaching is not enough. But all of these are a start.

Teach empathy. Model it.