I come from a family that extends themselves to others without reciprocation. My grandfather was a pastor and gave his all to his church and parishioners. Many of them were more like family to us than church members. Through the many changes that occurred at his church, he was never angry or upset, but always empathetic. My grandmother had a sweet soul and prayed for others even on her sick-bed. We have all experienced loss in some way or been through a life changing moment that may have knocked us off of our feet. The empathy from our support system is what gets us through those tough moments.
Even though they have both been gone a very long time, I never loss that spirit of empathy. So when I see people in America react to the murder of a black child with such hate and toxicity, I often wonder how they never learned empathy or why their empathy is so narrowly applied. How can you be so arrogant to feel that only certain people deserve your empathy?
When people share an intimate story about a very personal issue, I connect and listen, even if I don’t understand. When stories arise of young girls taking their lives because they were blackmailed or bullied by their classmates, I empathize with that young girl and her family. When parents come on TV and discuss their child’s terminal cancer diagnosis, I empathize with them because I understand that they are going through so much individually and as a family. When a school shooting happens and the shooter’s parents come on TV and say they had no idea that this was going to happen, I am empathic because I understand how that is possible. When an unarmed child is murdered by the cops, regardless of race, I am taken aback because the cops are the people who have pledged to protect and serve and I suddenly feel vulnerable.
However, when I read the comments or see the coverage of incidents that involve a Black person and law enforcement, the lack of empathy in the media, amongst the readers, and those of other races who are interviewed is astounding. How is there such a disconnect between these people and the victim simply because of his or her race? People make the most nasty and disgraceful comment as if we are not human. I have heard the same when it comes to domestic violence, rape, and forced prostitution. How does a victim become the person to hate and the family the people to tear down, when the facts show that the other party was wrong?
Confront your biases and deal with the multicultural world you live in. It is so disheartening to be the victim of racism on a professional level. The educated are intelligent in one respect but ignorant in so many others. This goes for race, religion, and sexual orientation. Everyone is screaming progress but where have we progressed to when an unarmed victim is presumed to have deserved it. Where a child is suddenly described as if he has lived and learned as much as the adult that is discussing him. As if we ourselves have never made mistakes or deserve to be persecuted because of our imperfections.
I understand that the media has so much control over people’s thoughts, but there comes a time when you have to start thinking for yourself. There comes a time where you cannot automatically think that every girl that has gotten raped deserved it because she dressed a certain way. There comes a time when you cannot automatically think that every Black person that is shot by the police has a rap sheet. There comes a time when you cannot automatically think that a woman is lying about being domestically abused. The time is now or we will remain constrained by our hatred if we do not move beyond preconceived notions of truth based simply on race or gender.
We are being manipulated to dislike each other for reasons that are so minute and that many times,don’t hold any truth. I do not hate white people because I know not all white people hate me, but I hate the idealistic theory that white is right and black is wrong. I hate the idealistic theory that women are emotional and men are simply better leaders. I hate the idealistic theory that someone with a different sexual orientation doesn’t deserve our respect. We are so deeply divided and not progressive as we think we are or claim to be.
We shame other countries for acts that occur right here on American soil. We attempt to convince the world that we are the example that everyone should follow, but since this country was seized by immigrants, they did not respect those who were here, those they brought here, or those who appeared to be different then whatever ideal they had adopted at that time. We refuse to admit our faults and mend the broken pieces that created this country. We volunteer across the world as global citizens but hold our noses up to the homeless, impoverished, and destitute in our own country.
I have had to check myself and the way I have been raised to think about many things. There is a lack of progress and growth that cripples many people. Many have so many unchecked generational biases that do not coincide with the times, and most do not care to change them. Please feel free to hold onto your negative notions, but know that the world around you is forging ahead and the ground beneath you is shifting, so be prepared to be apart of the change or an outsider, watching as we enjoy life without your hate.
This generation has to take charge and refine our own empathic triggers and teach our children how to be empathetic to others with no limitations. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own time.