Black People : Empathy as the basis of Black unity

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by African_Prince, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Most people confuse empathy with paternalism, attachment (valuing someone else only because they or your relationship with them benefits *you* in some way, empathy is a selfless love whereas attachment is self-oriented), pity and even just concern. Empathy doesn't try to change people, it doesn't decide what's in their best interests or do things "for their own good". To empathize with someone else is to simply feel what they feel without making personal judgements about what they should do or how they should be. Empathy accepts people for what and who they are, and as equals.




    For example, many people would cite 'empathy' as a reason for preventing someone from committing suicide. Preventing someone from committing suicide is actually an anti-empathetic, paternalistic thing to do (or an attachment based thing to do, if the person is a friend/family member). An empathetic person, in my opinion, would simply offer that person a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen to their problems *if* they chose not to end their life, they wouldn't interfere with their decison making or use force to prevent them from behaving autonomously. "But they might be glad that I stopped them", they probably would be but it's their mistake to make, how they will feel in future is irrelevant to how they actually feel now.


    I would argue that contract monogamy is possessive and based on attachment rather than empathy. By 'contract monogamy' I mean an agreement, stated or implied, that you will avoid a sexual/romantic relationship with anyone else on condition that your partner do the same. If men and women (or men/men, women/women) truly empathized with one another, any pleasure or joy that their partners experienced as a result of having a sexual/romantic relationship with other people would make them happy instead of jealous. Monogamy isn't immoral but I do think it's objectifying, I don't want to own anyone else's sexuality even if it is voluntarily exhanged for my own. I have nothing against 'monogamy' in the sense of simply choosing to have only one partner but in this kind of a relationship, either party could choose to develop a romantic/sexual relationship with other people without having to ask for permission or even to inform their partner about it (unless they are having unprotected sex with this other person).

    As for pity, nobody wants to be "felt sorry" for. Our attitudes to the poor and disadvantaged often carry this condescending tone.
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    In the context that empathy means being able to understand or "share" with another their feelings, I can wholly agree that such can serve as a "building block" to Black unity. But African Prince dig this hole a little deeper for us non-intellectual laypeople (my brain died a few years back) because I got a feeling this rabbit hole goes deeper than you are letting on.

    Tuhwi
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    testing, testing, 1-2-3 (lol)

    Well, as far as your title applies, I would agree.


    Just simply exercising the denotative meaning would be a start.

     
  4. Putney Swope

    Putney Swope Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Empathy along with....

    altruism

    Also family love is important

    when extended and immediate family love is strained, unity is exacerbated and empathy can only be expressed in prayer and volunteer work

    there is a psychological modality that unifies folks in clubs, lodges, churches , mosques, shrines , temples and political parties, that at times is empathic, at times not,
    the ability and the understanding of the seldf motivating mechanism for these microcosms to unite into a macrocosm, is the key to our collective survival, as opposed to a few elites surviving the economic Katrina ahead
     
  5. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I think the idea of empathy being intellectual is a misunderstanding. Empathy is derived from 'einfuhlung' which means 'in feeling'. To empathize with someone is to be in feeling with them. I deliberatly avoid using the terms 'compassion' or 'sympathy' because they have non-empathetic connotations, despite literally meaning 'to suffer with'.
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Yeah, me too....I don't know where he was goin' with the "suicide" and the "monogamy;" but as for the rest, I agree with him.

    As it is said, "As soon as some Negroes get 50 cent over bus fare, they forget where they come from."



    I remember when I was in college and bought a used car. Yes, it was a HOOPTIE, and it had some serious "African American Engineering" done on it too! LOL

    And when I got that car, I was determined that I just couldn't pass old ladies up walking home with their groceries or mothers with their small children. I saw so many people do that and it burned me up!---I lived off-campus, and I would walk to my classes. Now, I could understand them not giving ME a ride. I was a young, able-bodied woman.

    But, I could NOT understand people with cars passing up Black people walking who lived in their same community.-- People living in the SAME neighborhood and they would drive right by Black people walking in the searing heat of summer or chilling cold of winter...Lord, I just couldn't understand that!

    Now, yes, I understand that you just can't pick up anybody; but an OLD LADY?! My God!

    So, I stopped whenever I could and gave people rides the rest of the way home because in my EMPATHY, I knew what it was to walk when I didn't have a car.
     
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