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Compassion > Empathy

Empathy is a word that is referenced a lot for how to approach and interact with people and their experiences. For alignment, empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I think most folks can get down with that. I agree with Tatiana Mac though, that empathy is not only not enough, it can often center the person invoking empathy in lieu of the person purportedly being supported.

To be effective accomplices, we need to move beyond the state of feeling into the state of doing. I see a lot of chatter about “empathy.” In design and tech we frame nearly every human problem with it. The word has become a watery, vague catch-all. I think it’s a problem. 👇🏽

Compassion, however, "allows us to take action in the face of their pain; we trust their anger and pain without taking it on."

Empathy validates another’s emotion by our understanding and feeling. It’s why you see people self-flagellating at protests and hurting themselves to “feel” the pain. It’s performative and self-centring. And awkward AF. You’ve made a protest about Black lives about white guilt.