Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

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Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


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Oaklanders for Peace > Oaklanders for Peace:
  Barack Obama Promotes a Culture of Empathy
This will not be easy. Because the change we seek will not just come from overcoming the ingrained and destructive habits of Washington, it will require overcoming our own fears and our own doubts. It will require each of us to do our part in closing the moral deficit - the empathy deficit - that exists in this nation. It will take standing in one another's shoes and remembering that we are our brother's keeper; we are our sister's keeper...

Justice for Oscar Grant - International Longshore Warehouse Union Rally
October 23, 2010 - Oakland Peacekeepers tent at City Hall, ILWU Local 10 and Community Rally:

About the Oakland Peacekeepers at Justice Rally for Oscar Grant
Mutima Imani talks about the Oakland Peacekeepers at Justice Rally for Oscar Grant. Includes interviews of people talking about the roll of empathy.



interviews On Empathy

2010-10-23 - Oakland Justice Rally - Empathy Interview 1

  • Kim from I am Oscar Grant poetry and art showcase

  • Tell me about empathy?

    • our whole thing is 'we are Oscar Grant'

    • that could have been us

    • there's a lot of empathy in this fight for justice

    • an injury to one is an injury to all

  • Does your empathy extend to Mehserle?

    • no, and I don't' even sympathize

    • he can't have empathy because he's white and social power and all that

    • if he had sympathy, he'd be doing a lot more to the people who he caused pain to

  • Your empathy has a limit?

    • you can't empathize with everyone, you just don't have the capacity too.

    • it's not something you can control, it's innate

  • How to create a culture of empathy?

    • that's beyond our reach

    • creating a culture of sympathy and tolerance

    • empathy is that you feel it, that you are it

    • you feel that person, their pain and joy whatever.

  • Empathy and Sympathy, differences?

    • Sympathy - you have sympathy for my struggle as a black woman

    • you can't possibly ever empathy since your a white man

    • but you have a sense I can try to see you, but I'll never be there

    • so I can never empathize

  • So empathy is harder than sympathy?

    • definitely

    • you have to directly connect with someone and share what it is that they're feeling.


2010-10-23 - Oakland Justice Rally - Empathy Interview 2


  • Tell me about empathy?

    • is having feelings for other people and living things

    • not just being concerned about the I and the me

    • expressing solidarity

  • How to apply empathy to the Oscar Grant shooting?

    • understand that it fits into a larger social context

    • of violence and rage and lack of empathy

  • How to create a culture of empathy?

    • community, apposing privatization

    • appose greed,

    • worked for common good.

    • I'm promoting KPFA radio

  • A metaphor of empathy?

    • many animals work in teams

    • a dog, mans best friend

    • can be a good friend, protect you

2010-10-23 - Oakland Justice Rally - Empathy Interview 3


  • Tell me about empathy?

    • Obama promised us empathy and was empathic in his campaign and has given us nothing

    • has not stood up for empathy

    • is bombing Afghanistan

    • we need protection here for young black men being killed by cops

  • What does empathy man to you?

    • I know how you feel

    • I understand how it feels to have my children killed by bombs

  • How to create a culture of empathy?

    • get to know the other.

    • why can't the other be someone we want to be with

    • the other is someone, since I was born, is someone I've wanted to know

    • every culture is interesting and we can take the good instead of what we do

    • I don't understand this lack of empathy around the world.


2010-10-23 - Oakland Justice Rally - Empathy Interview 4



  • Tell me about empathy?

    • I have empathy for the downtrodden and the working class

      • all those exploited by the upper class

    • the rich used to give money out of guild, now they don't even do that.

    • now these people are in therapy groups and feel good about themselves even though they are exploiters and parasites.

  • Are you saying the upper classes are not empathizing with the rest of society?

    • of course not.

    • how can they live with annex bath tube, gold faucets?

    • I have no concern about them

    • I would punish their children

  • How to create a culture of empathy?

    • disposes the ruling class

    • create democratic socialist system

    • need a new social structure

    • need a system the perpetuates empathy?

      • can't have an empathic system in an exploitive social structure

      • you can have individuals with empathy for one another