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Friday, November 20, 2009

Just Something to Think About:
Socially Leveraging the Recession?

By nature, nothing encourages equality more than like-circumstances. A large part of racism (and classism) results from a lack of empathy, a lack of ability to indentify and sympathize with people whose circumstances are so vastly unlike our own. Often the inability to empathize is not malicious, as the inability to understand life outside of your own experiences is widely psychological. Human nature makes it difficult to understand what does not exist on our own plain of consciousness.

Fortunately, as our experiences become more similar, our ability to empathize becomes more acute. One good thing that has come out of our current economic crisis is an increase in like circumstances. The recession has made economic struggle universal to the majority. As unemployment rises, joblessness becomes an American problem, not just a minority problem. As people lose jobs and medical coverage, social services become aid for Americans, not just minority aid.

Shaila Dewan explores just how the recession is affecting our cultural empathy in her New York Times article A Racial Divide is Bridged by Recession. Now is the time to leverage our like circumstances, before this unique opportunity to understand each other slips away.

Just something to think about...

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