Avoid ‘selective empathy’ and ‘feel into’ both sides

This story nicely illustrates the phenomenon of selective empathy. The word “empathy” came into the English language in the early 20th century as a translation of the German word “Einfuhlung,” which means “feeling into.”…

Recently, responding to marches in New York and elsewhere focusing on what is viewed by the protesters as police brutality against African-Americans, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani went on TV to say flatly that “the police aren’t racists” and to insist that the problem is not the police, but the people who won’t support the police. Giuliani was far from alone in expressing this view.

Much of this perspective stems from genuine, admirable empathy. Giuliani and many of us can “feel into” the situation of the police.

We understand that so much of their work is tough and demanding. Working on the front lines, they risk their safety every day to try to keep us safe. The jobs are more blue-collar than upscale. We may not pay these people what they deserve, but at least we owe them our respect and gratitude.

by David Blankenhorn