Case in Point

I'll never be able to truly put myself in their shoes


If you're a regular reader of this weekly column, you'll often read the words "empathy" or "empathize."

The dictionary defines empathy as " the ability to understand and share the feelings of another."

I often make the case that this is the No. 1 thing that should be taught more in schools. The simple "put yourself in someone else's shoes" analogy — that's empathy.

I've been trying to do that for two weeks since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of four police officers. The entire gruesome killing was captured on film. At last checked, the officer who had his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck — also named Derek — has been charged with second degree murder, up from an original third degree charge. The remaining three are being charged with lesser crimes.

Another topic you'll see me discuss in this space often is cellphones and my dislike for the constant disconnect they really cause us, all the while being connectivity devices.

Yet I'm forever thankful for cellphones when we see the now countless videos of violence against African Americans by police.

I will never truly understand the daily grind of being black in America. I've watched countless documentaries while trying to learn. Like the rest of this nation, I certainly fall into the category of needing to learn so much more.

An interesting side note — it's become difficult to watch films due to COVID-19 these days, yet the producers of "Just Mercy" announced last week that, in light of the continued protesting, the film could be rented for free in several online digital platforms. I love watching movies on the big screen and was unable to watch it while in theaters.

I rented it last week and, as I suspected, truly loved it. I won't spoil it but give it a viewing. The filmmakers were right, it's a must-see in this time.

A quote from actor Jamie Foxx in the film really struck me. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that you're guilty the moment you're born when you're black in America.

I'll never know that feeling. And I don't pretend to. I know how my heart races and the angst I feel whenever I get pulled over by police, or even followed for that matter. I can't imagine what goes through the minds of our black brothers and sisters in this country.

Yet having said all that, I too find myself shaking my head at the looting and violence. Again, I know I don't truly understand. I'm not one to be much of a social media fan either, yet I finally saw a graphic the other day that probably best described the confusion I've felt while being glued to my television each night.

I've inserted it on this page. I'd change some of the words if I were to create it from scratch, including putting a "demand for change" in the Floyd circle. But hopefully we all get the idea. Meanwhile, I promise to keep learning.