political media viewpoints
Start writing a post

To Move Forward, We need empathy, Especially For The People We disagree With

Love the people you disagree with most.

To Move Forward, We need empathy, Especially For The People We disagree With

"Empathy is not endorsement. Empathizing with someone you profoundly disagree with does not compromise your own deeply held beliefs and endorse theirs. It just means that you're acknowledging the humanity of someone who was raised to think differently." -Dylan Marron

Dylan Marron spoke on the hate he has received for expressing his views on sensitive social issues from race and class to gender and sexuality. He built his platform by finding an intersection between viral online content and social justice issues, creating sources of controversial information that is palatable for young people developing their own beliefs.

Like anyone else who takes the step to share their perspective, either online or in person, he has received hate, more specifically, online hate: Something that we have all seen across the spectrum of social media platforms.

It is much easier to throw shade online than in person: In high school, we would obsessively refresh our Twitter timelines whenever drama was unfolding, and maybe even jump in ourselves, but we would feel anxiety when removed from the safety of 140 characters and avoid views that did not line up with our own.

This level of reluctance exists because we feel safer online. Technology removes the "human" from human interaction, thus we can avoid the emotional consequences of our expression through the safety of our screens. Consequently, we fail to recognize that the person on the other end of our keyboard has their own experience, lives their own life, and has a unique story that defines who they are.

Our empathy does not exist electronically.

By no means am I saying we have completely misplaced our empathy. It is easier to recognize and respond to emotion when we are provided with context. We listen to one another, collaborate, debate, and argue for the sake of drawing conclusions when we verbally communicate with others. Personally, I am more inspired and intrigued by live stories and accounts than I am by reading an article or a tweet. Emotion inspires change, but how effectively can emotion be conveyed through text? It's difficult to decipher the intentions of any text without a voice.

Online media, however, is a direct reflection of who we are. It captures the diversity of our culture and it serves as the bulletin board for artists, thinkers, students, and friends. It has become a staple in the way we interact and retrieve information, voice our opinions, and paint a picture of our own individuality. But, as we become more polarized, media has started to evolve into a violent battleground for political arrogance and social ignorance.

Apathy, empathy's adversary, thrives in comments, threads, and rants. There is a limited discussion with an unlimited assault on viewpoints. This unproductive discourse transcends the barriers of online media and exists in the physical world in the form of Political Polarization.

Political polarization is the reason we cannot solve the issues we face in our country. We are too concerned about which side is right and wrong when neither side holds more validity over the other. Empathy has been vacated from politics and has, more recently, restricted us from having conversations which lead us to compromise.

Media is a direct reflection of our society, our community, and ourselves. The more I engage in politics, either in person or through media, the more I observe the deep fissures that prevent us from moving forward. We will not solve our problems through argumentation or by belittling the beliefs of others. Instead, we will solve our problems when we learn to have conversations, listen, and take different views into consideration. It's easier to be critical of perspectives that we do not understand, but when we remember to have empathy, the road to change will become accessible.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments