Where did all our empathy go?

Failing to have empathy, says Barack Obama, is to “sleepwalk through life”.


This was a brave observation from a not-always-brave president. How does such empathy play out given the shootings in Dallas at a Blacks-Lives-Matter protest and the increasing examples of police brutality to blacks being filmed and shared on social media, creating an immediate and visceral anger across communities?

Obama has previously argued that society has an “empathy deficit” and current local and world events are now putting this to the test.


The Brexit vote seems to have my over-educated tearoom focus group — and a swath of commentators — extremely agitated as they insist the decision to leave the EU exposes inherent British racism, bigotry and stupidity without considering the possibility that there is a place for national pride in the public discourse and that concerns about immigration should at least be heard.


Michael Scammell