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Where's the empathy?

December 20, 2013
tags:#child poverty, #empathy, #food stamps, #homelessless, #Prosperity, #wealth distribution
by:Jonathan Lutes
Nicholas Kristof has written an obvious op-ed piece. No one who reads it will be surprised by his conclusions, or by the facts he relates.

The reader will most probably learn a few statistics, and be prompted to think about some things that would not normally come to his or her mind.

But Kristof had to write his article because, no matter what people know, they usually choose to ignore uncomfortable ideas.

The article is about empathy, about how much less empathy there is than there should be, and about how the lion’s share of empathy out there comes from people that can afford it least. Kristof cites experiments where people are shown photos of the poor and homeless, and those who grew up in more affluent families were more like to react with anger, even revulsion, AT the sufferers.

He also rebukes the response letters he has received in the past, letters that claim that poor and homeless people are that way because they don’t work or didn’t study hard enough. While Kristof acknowledges that this can be a factor, he cites facts showing that people who grew up with less have an overwhelmingly higher chance of remaining, or becoming, poor or hungry.

He shouldn’t need to point out that 45 percent of food stamp recipients are children, who haven’t yet had an opportunity to “study hard enough” or “work hard enough” to become prosperous. But evidently he does.

Article written by:
Jonathan Lutes