I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People

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This article reenters to my consciousness almost daily.

I can’t debate someone into caring about what happens to their fellow human beings. The fact that such detached cruelty is so normalized in a certain party’s political discourse is at once infuriating and terrifying.

The “I’ve got mine, so screw you,” attitude has been oozing from the American right wing for decades, but this gleeful exuberance in pushing legislation that will immediately hurt the most vulnerable among us is chilling.

I couldn’t agree more.

During the election, I kept asking myself (and others): how do you teach empathy? And perhaps just as important, how do you scale empathy?

Thought experiment: pick a US citizen at random and arrange for them to share a meal with a family of refugees who are fleeing their war-torn homeland in search of a better life. I’m confident the overwhelming majority of people would emerge from that encounter with a more sympathetic view of the refugees’ plight, or at the very least most people would be able to acknowledge the refugees’ humanity.

But of course, that’s provided people are actually willing to listen. It appears there’s a growing number of people utterly and completely hostile to different perspectives, education, and basic facts. A proud ignorance. “I don’t give a fuck and nothing you can say will change my mind.”

What can be done to reverse this toxic attitude?

 

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