Empathy – the ability to emotionally understand what another person is experiencing – has been identified as one of the most important job skills in the 21st century. But it’s also an important, and missing, skill in processing the recent tragedies in America.
Even in Michael Eric Dyson’s otherwise well-written July 9 column “What white America fails to see,” he made a sweeping generalization that assumes he knows how all white Americans see things.
St. Francis of Assisi said it best, “God grant that I may not so much seek to be understood as to understand.”
So here’s a homework assignment: In the next week, find someone of a different race, religion, sexual orientation and ask them to tell us how they see things, what’s important to them, what they’re concerned about, what they fear. And share the same with them. And then think about how this, possibly new-found understanding shapes our thinking and our ability to empathize with those who are different from us.
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I’d like to think it will help us all understand each other better and treat each other in ways we ourselves would like to be treated.