The Lack of Empathy in America

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.

My FREE Nurse/Lawyer Advice

As a recipeint of two very vital degrees, I have come to realize that people will call you at random times, on random days for random things.  And that is okay because that means they value my opinion and trust that I will provide sound advice.  But there are a few things that I would like to share from a nursing perspective and from a legal perspective that everyone should know.  This is very basic information that is available on the internet, told to us in various ways, but yet we still don’t listen.  So here goes my free advice that is neither legally binding or information you should solely depend on but key information to consider.

Nursing Advice

1. If you are having an ache, pain, weird feeling or just have not been to the doctor in a long time, please GO TO THE DOCTOR.  If you call me with a mystery disease, I am going to tell you, “Go to the doctor!” I will not be held liable for anyones misdiagnosis and failed opportunity to treat because they listened to me as I Googled their symptoms.

2. If you or your loved one is in the hospital for 30 seconds or 30 days, please make sure that someone is present with you/them during visiting hours to watch everything that people are doing and to make sure your family member is being treated right.  Additionally, make sure EVERYONE (doctor, nurse, tech, aide) washes their hands as they come and go. Hospital acquired infections KILL.

3. If you do not have insurance, it does not meant that you should neglect your health.  There are opportunities to get your blood pressure checked, free clinics, ambulatory services and other forms of free treatment that you can access to maintain your health until you get some type of coverage.  Do not be above seeking government funded medical insurance because although we may be on the younger side of life, diseases have no boundaries.

4. Sign up to be a donor. Honestly, I am not sure why people don’t want to donate their organs if they die because you can take them with you but they won’t be doing you any good anymore.  I can spit statistics on racial demographics of those who donate and those who do not but we all know the basics and the only solution is that you sign up to donate your organs so that someone doesn’t have to decide later.

Read. Share. Sign up.

http://donatelife.net/organ-donation/

http://bethematch.org/support-the-cause/donate-bone-marrow/donation-faqs/

5. This is nurse/lawyerish (i.e. covers both areas): Let your medical desires be known to your family.  It would be great if everyone had a Living will aka advance directive, a document that advises your family of your medical wishes if your health fails, but knowing the average person (including myself), this is not on our priority list.  So, in order to minimize any potential drama, discuss your wishes with your closest family members and make sure everyone is on the same page and clear.  You can memorialize it unofficially and then take the final step and get an official advance directive.  (I can let you know how much this costs later).

Lawyerish (I am not a barred attorney and therefore my statements are that of experience and basic rights of the Constitution)

1. Create a Will.  This is different from a living will because this directs what will happen to your personal property and who will get what.  We all know what happens when people do not create wills.  Family drama at the funeral but this can all be avoided by simply getting a will well in advance of any incidents and keeping it updated.  For this you need a lawyer.  Not a generalized form you found online but a barred attorney who can guide you through the process and protect your interest.

2. BE CAUTIOUS WHEN TALKING TO THE POLICE. This is not apart of the anti-snitching campaign but serious advice for anyone who may encounter a police officer for any other reason than seeking help. Read this in its entirety and share with everyone you know: https://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform-immigrants-rights-racial-justice/know-your-rights-what-do-if-you.  The  ACLU lays it out clearly.

3. DO NOT FIGHT THE POLICE. If you feel that you are being wrongfully arrested, do not hit a police officer. You will be charged with a crime even if they find that they did not have the right to arrest you.  The article above discusses this topic also. Although this will not stop all police brutality, it will keep innocent parties from going to jail.

4. Find a lawyer.  Everyone should have a lawyers number handy.  Seriously.  If you ever run into a lawyer and they give you their business card, keep it.  You never know when you will need them.  Surprisingly, life happens and having a lawyer on speed dial will help you get through those first few rough moments.

5. Know your rights.  This is not just in a criminal setting but even at work or as a property owner.  Knowing your rights can save you from being fired or losing your home.  Read your job’s employee handbook and follow the rules.  Air on the side of caution or ask for clarification if you have questions.  Know your rights and responsibilities as a property owner.  There are still many predatory lenders seeking to devour new home owners and you do not want to be that person that loses their investment because you did not read the fine print.  Be clear. Ask questions. Know what you don’t know and get more information on that.

 

DISCLAIMER: None of what is stated in this blog is legally binding.  If you read any of this advice and depend on it and attempt to sue me, you will only get dust because I owe a mansion in student loans.  This in no way is meant to create an attorney-client relationship.