Understanding the Racial Empathy Gap (Series)

Welcome! This is a 4-part series exploring the black-white racial empathy gap in the United States.  It is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of the subject (which would require a book series rather than a blog series), but it is a substantial sociological and historical survey of the issue and is intended to provide talking points for individual and small group discussion.

1. The Power of Narratives (Part 1)

Narratives – the specific ways that stories are told, retold, and infused with unique beliefs and perspectives – are invisible, yet their effects are not. They exert a powerful influence over our understanding and interpretation of our selves and the world around us. They shape our allegiances, sympathies, values, sensibilities, convictions, and passions, and therefore, the unspoken social contracts that we maintain with one another. But as we know, there are competing narratives. Some are predominant, some strive for predominance, and others clamor for basic acknowledgement.  Read More

2. The Power of Narratives (Part 2)

My previous segment ended with the question, If the disparities in police treatment, the criminal justice system, employment, and wages that black men are experiencing can’t be explained solely by individual actions, character, or criminality, then what’s really going on? It also alluded to the need to examine the fate of a centuries-old narrative about inherent black inferiority and criminality. Let’s take a focused tour through some parts of our nation’s history that will hopefully help provide some answers.  Read More

3. Fractured Collective Memory – Part 3 (coming soon)

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4. The Consequences of Geographic Segregation – Part 4 (coming soon)

Drawing from the 2010 Census, this map shows one dot per person. White people are shown with blue dots; African-Americans with green; Asians with red; and Latinos with orange, with all other race categories from the Census represented by brown. Pictured here: Detroit.

Drawing from the 2010 Census, this map shows one dot per person. White people are shown with blue dots; African-Americans with green; Asians with red; and Latinos with orange, with all other race categories from the Census represented by brown. Pictured here: Detroit.

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