Carrie Vance, opednews.

While white Cambridge Police Officer Sgt. Crowley teaches classes on profiling, his surprise at Prof. Gates agitation belies a lack of the gut understanding of what it feels like. His approach speaks of a mechanical one hatched out of P.C., rather than what it actually means to be Black in America. While there’s been a gradual advance in understanding the nature of institutional racism, our news reports are replete with the drumbeat of misunderstandings, even death, because we keep sliding over what’s behind it: something much deeper, denied only to pop out and catch us in another maelstrom, something systemic yet to be rooted out of the American psyche.
 
We’ve trashed the real meaning of empathy. An empathic person is one who can imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes, even when they disagree with that person or don’t understand what they’ve done. How do you teach constructive empathy? 
 
Can empathy root out the systemic racism that operates, often to our dismay, on an unconscious level? Do we know what’s happening in the mind of a white grandmother who freezes with suspicion at the sight of a black man walking towards her? How do we address what’s happening in the mind of a white mother who’s watching her children at the Valley Pool, only to be filled with fear that a visiting group of black children might steal from them?
 
More here.  
Advertisements