Scholars and activists have debated how effective empathy is as a tool for behaviour change—particularly when it comes to fighting racism. Paul Bloom argues that empathy allows our bias to drive our decision-making, bell hooks states that empathy is not a promising avenue to systemic racial change, and Alisha Gaines analyzes how an overemphasis on racial empathy in a 1944 landmark study, “An American Dilemma,” led to a blindness about the impact of systemic and institutional racial barriers. This more general understanding and application of empathy has not been an effective aid to fighting systemic oppression.
Bethany Gordon posits that a more nuanced understanding of empathy—and its related concepts—may help us use it more effectively in the fight against racism. There are two strains of empathy that are relevant and can help us better understand (and possibly change) our response: empathic distress and empathic concern, also known as compassion.
via Behavioural Scientist, 15 June 2020See More