The Campus Heroes Are the Ones Promoting Dialogue and Empathy: What college campuses need is dialogue and empathy

But beyond the questions about the relationship of free speech, protest, the possibility of creating safe spaces on campus, and the right to offend, lurk questions that have less to do with the First Amendment than with a spectacular failure of empathy on campus, empathy that may be missing on all sides…

More and more, the campus debates suggest to me that we do not truly believe in empathy as something we give others, but as something we demand of them, as a precondition to dialogue…

There is also not much to be said for those who think that the only valuable discourse is brutal and shaming and silencing. Both sides of this debate risk abandoning the project of real dialogue and real empathy. And when that happens it’s just really a fight over territory…


 Dahlia Lithwick