a. bucket. of. words.

by Cherszy (@cherszy)

Where is Empathy?

The horrifying video showing the 2-year-old Yue Yue being cruelly run over twice by two vans and whose bleeding body was simply ignored by passers-by in the city of Foshan, China has sparked controversy all over the world these few weeks. I wouldn’t go through the details of the incident to spare you the horror and not to gross you out more than you might already have. Nevertheless, if you wish to watch what happened, you may do so here.

A lot have expressed grief over what the toddler had to go through while many others are angered by the heartless attitudes of the drivers and the onlookers. Many have condemned the two ruthless drivers, the indifferent passers-by, and even the negligent parents of the 2-year-old.

And I wouldn’t blame them.

I myself am enraged over this news. Like absolutely enraged. How can anyone bear to just run over a little kid and not stop to help her? Likewise, how can anyone just pass by a toddler who’s probably crying in pain and is bleeding ceaselessly in the middle of the road? Like seriously, how can anyone sleep peacefully at night, knowing that he/she has just almost killed a child or has ignored and left a little girl to bleed to death on the street, like a wounded goat?

It’s absolutely inhumane! Cruel, really. I pity little Yue Yue who was so innocent about the evils of the world. She doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment from the world. No, she just doesn’t. But now, I believe she’s in a better place, and I hope she has found peace wherever she may be. Her unbearable pain has now come to an end, but the issue is still one that needs to be looked at.

(Just gotta say, shame on you coldblooded drivers and numb citizens! Somebody could have called an ambulance. But, no one did. Instead, you just passed her by and continued with your lives, like nothing happened. What’s up with that?)

So now, the main question is: are the Chinese really incapable of empathy? Has this society been completely dehumanized?

While we may easily tip over to the affirmative, especially after the Yue Yue incident as we charge the Chinese of callousness, it does seem quite unfair to generalize that all Chinese are heartless and are incapable of feeling compassion. Just because some of them show attitudes of inhumanity does not mean that every other Chinese is like that too. It would be unfair to conclude such because there are some who are compassionate and it just so happened that some people from their race are not. It is unfair to call sympathetic people cruel just because someone from their race is cruel. And therefore, it saddens me to read comments which express condemnation to the whole Chinese race with regard to the Yue Yue incident. It saddens me to read very racist comments, some even going as far as wishing the race ill will.

I’ve met many disrespectful Chinese citizens who have very bad manners – true – but I’ve encountered many kind-hearted Chinese nationals as well. And so, I don’t think the general condemnation gives justice to the nice Chinese, wouldn’t you think so too? You wouldn’t want to be judged as such and such just because Mr. Blah who shares the same nationality as you is such and such, right?

You’d want to be judged for who you are and what you did. In the same way, every other person wouldn’t want to be judged or treated based on their race, culture, or religion, so don’t. Let’s give every person a chance to show us his/her potential instead of associating him/her with negative criticisms based on his general personality (i.e. race, religion, culture, history) even before he/she introduced himself/herself to us. Let’s not be racist, sexist, or whatever -ist is out there.

Many condemn the Chinese of their lack of empathy, but doesn’t racism point to an incapacity to be empathic as well because a racist judges another unfairly where the humanity of the judged/criticized isn’t responded to in a just manner?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that we should tolerate the cruelty of the unacceptable attitudes of the indifferent Chinese passers-by (you can condemn them all you want) by being open-minded. Rather, I’m saying that we should not condemn the whole race for the acts of a few because it’s not fair to do so. 

And honestly, how can anyone condemn another person’s race when all races have in their history an incident of inhumanity? Let’s admit it, every race/culture/religion is a bag of mixed beans – there are good ones and there are bad ones. In every race, there are heroes and there are villains. Inevitably, every race/culture/religion will have its share of psychopaths, sociopaths, murderers, rapists, and sadists.

  • Adolf Hitler and the Nazis are responsible for the undeserved suffering and deaths of six million Jews in the horror known as Holocaust. Probably the most inhumane event in the history of the human race, but do we say that all Germans are inhumane? No.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte was brutal in his conquest for power around Europe in the 19th century, killing almost 2.5 million people during the various wars. So, does this mean that just because one’s French, one’s brutal? No.
  • Hiroshi Miyano (Hiroshi Yokoyama), Jo Ogura (Jo Kamisaku), Shinji Minato, Yasushi Watanabe, Tetsuo Nakamura, and Koichi Ihara tortured Junko Furuta ruthlessly for 44 days in a way that’s unimaginably and terribly inhumane. Are all Japanese then ruthless torturers? No.
  • Jeremiah Lee Wright decapitated his 7-year-old son because his son was disabled. So, are all Americans murderers? No.
  • The Ampatuans and their men caused the deaths of 58 journalists and civilians in an ambush massacre, torturing each of the victims mercilessly. Is this incident then enough grounds to conclude that all Filipinos are heartless? No.
  • Osama bin Laden has been the brains behind several terrorist attacks, including the 9/11 incident, claiming thousands of innocent lives. Are all Saudi Arabians then terrorists? No.

I could go on with this list, but I think you get my point. Just because someone from the race is heartless, cruel, inhumane, brutal, malevolent, vicious, or tyrannical, it doesn’t mean everybody else in that same race is. Same thing goes with culture and religion. The act of one does not reflect the personality of the whole; it’s an individual characteristic.

Every race/culture/religion has a print of inhumanity embedded in its history (I dare you to tell me which race hasn’t had one), but I think we will all agree that not everyone in the human race is evil.

So, I ask you not to be racist – or at least try not to be. No race is more superior than the rest as each has its own positive and negative aspects. We are all equal – we are all humans who can err.

More importantly, do not stereotype someone. Be careful of falling into the trap of generalizing. Instead, get to know them. Give them a chance to let them show you who they really are. Every person’s different, so spot that uniqueness. And hey, you never know, you might even find something in common with that person. Don’t hinder yourself from knowing someone because of race/culture/religion barriers. See someone for who they are and not for what they are. Show that you’re capable of empathy and not only of judging.

I understand how the modern age can be quite scary with murderers and rapists masking as teens on the dance floor, as bartenders, or are simply hanging around outside your garage. I understand that there’s a need for caution, but as I’ve said, psychopaths are born in every race, including yours. You can be careful when you deal with people, but taking caution doesn’t mean being prejudiced. You can be open-minded, you can get to know people without judging them even without letting yourself be vulnerable. Giving people a chance to express themselves to you doesn’t mean you should immediately give them your full trust. It just means you don’t judge them or criticize them based on what they’re showing you initially (i.e. in terms of clothes, skin color, hair color, language).

You can be cautious and critical without being judgmental.

Together, let’s raise our flags against racism. Let’s make the world a more loving place. Let us grow in learning how to be more compassionate instead of asserting superiority by judging. Let us be more human in what we do everyday. Then, maybe we can pride ourselves in our capability for true empathy.

Stay empathic. Stay open-minded. Remember, you are not the critic of the world; you are being critiqued by the world. So, show compassion whenever you can. You never know when you can touch a person. You never know when you can inspire. You never know when you can be a change in someone’s life. So always be open to let someone feel loved and cared for. Even a smile is generous enough. :)

So, where is empathy, you ask? It’s in you. You just have to find it and share it to the world. :)

Have you had any experiences where someone showed you compassion? Share it in the comments section!

4 comments on “Where is Empathy?

  1. Selma
    October 29, 2011

    This is beyond tragic. A friend of mine told me about this before I saw it on the news and I thought she was making it up. It is so horrific. I’m lost for words. It’s a little kid just left there to die. What the hell? I don’t know what to say but if we as a society don’t work on our empathy skills we are going to be lost. So sad.

    • Cherszy
      October 29, 2011

      I know. It is truly tragic. Our empathy skills are slowly dying down due to various reasons, and I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get to realize that so we can learn to be empathic again. I’m still hoping that we’ll learn to be more human than we are now. Let’s stay positive on this Selma! :)

  2. princesayasmine
    October 29, 2011

    I don’t know anybody until I’ve met them and talked to them for at least a few minutes.

    • Cherszy
      October 29, 2011

      Hey, that’s good! At least you’re getting to know them first before making any judgment, but then again, we still don’t know much about someone even after a few minutes of conversation. Sometimes, first impressions aren’t really all that.

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This entry was posted on October 28, 2011 by in Event, Random Rambling and tagged , , , , , .

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