Just ten days in to 2018 and the internet has showcased 2017 attributes, that quite frankly should have stayed in 2017. It’s clear that as a people, the majority still lack empathy.
Which ever way you feel about the recent H&M incident, I think it’s fair to say that those who are offended, should be able to freely feel offended. Nobody has the right to tell anyone a) what they should feel offended about and b) when they should not be offended. After all, the offence for most in this case is taken from a racial stance and therefore should really be addressed with a bit more tact and sensitivity.
Reading the various posts and commentary around this inspired me to further address our lack of empathy and why empathy is actually very important. I sometimes get the impression that people mix empathy with sympathy, which are clearly two different words, with totally different meanings. According to Merriam-Webster empathy has two meanings:
1: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
2: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
The beauty of empathy is that it allows you to co-experience feelings of another person. Like virtual reality you are able to see things from another person’s perspective without actually having to go through it. It allows us to gain a better understanding of things we may not be so privy to.
Why not try and embrace empathy? We all come from different walks of life, equally no two people are born the same even twins have unique identifiers. This is what makes the world an amazing place. Each individual has a story, one that may lead to broadening your horizon. One that may open doors or close them. One with the potential to motivate you or give you healing. Whatever it is, however idealistic it may sound, empathy is a skill required for the betterment of human-kind.
So yes, you may not see where the offence is in relation to the example of the H&M incident. To be honest you may never understand, because the bottom line is as simple as racism not being your reality so it has clouded your ability to be empathetic.
Next time you find yourself in a scenario where you don’t share the same view of taking offence to a situation as someone else or do not understand their taking of offence, I challenge you to dig deeper, and find out the route to their offence. I guarantee you that showing a bit of empathy will allow you to experience life in a higher resolution.