So we’re starting to see the phrase selective empathy thrown around a lot online, especially in social justice circles, and no ones really clarifying what it actually means. We kind of have an idea, as it suggests in the name, the empathy given out is very selective, and we pick and choose what/who we care about.
So who do the masses actually care about?
Well from what I see on social media it’s the contestants of Love Island, our possible Brexit and the next horrific ban that America are going to place on their women. So 2/3 are linked to actual politics and will effect the livelihoods of people today, but that’s what I’m seeing online, everyone follows different people.
When the Notre Dam went up in flames the world finally saw how much worth the 1% have, and how they could literally change the world if they actually cared about human lives that weren’t theres. Or buildings..
I strongly believe their swift response to raising money is why people are openly critiquing those who stay silent when it comes to foreign conflicts and those who stay apathetic to the struggles across the land. It’s why many of us are painting our social media profiles blue for Sudan, because it won’t fix their issues, but it will help raise a lot of awareness and hopefully in doing so cause enough people to raise/donate money to help them.
So selective empathy in a nutshell is just the world’s media ignoring all the conflicts in the eastern world. This isn’t even an over exaggeration as the media content for the Sudan uprising has been minimal, they’re ignoring the crisis in Yemen and let’s not even go into how much the media is avoiding the concentration camps in China.
They choose who’s suffering is important to cover, and those suffering with brown skin, black skin or a religion that isn’t Christianity tends to be ignored. It’s swept under a rug of reality tv news, or a royal wedding/birth. I feel like the best analogy for this is Platos cave, because it’s our reality.
Empathy means to care, to put yourselves in other peoples shoes
But when the shoes you choose to fill look like you’re own
You are implicit in ignoring our suffering
You turn a blind eye
You deny us the right to speak about us
You claim reverse racism when we voice our concerns
Then shut us down as
Playing the race card
You turn away from our blood, our suffering
And you expect us to do the same