“Empathy is not an inborn trait,” Borba writes. “Empathy is a quality that can be taught — in fact, it’s a quality that must be taught, by parents, by educators and by those in a child’s community. And what’s more, it’s a talent that kids can cultivate and improve, like riding a bike or learning a foreign language.”
Borba is speaking Wednesday at Glenbard South High School, and I spoke with her in advance of her appearance. The following is an edited transcript.
Q: What role does empathy, or a lack of empathy, play in the Orlando tragedy and our reactions to it?
A: It plays a huge role. What is my biggest concern when I start to see empathy wane? It’s Orlando. It’s Stanford. It’s any number of scathing examples of what happens when we attach otherness to another human being and completely dehumanize them.
Q: So a person without empathy has no concern for how he or she is treating the people they’ve dehumanized?..
Heidi Stevens interviews Michele Borba