Selective Empathy

by Shannon Kafka



Mourning takes many forms. // In the age of social media, grief // has become more of a public spectacle. // It allows sort-of a collective mourning; // creates community, // makes others feel// less alone. // It can be a performance of gratitude; // of honor // —life deserves to be recognized // and life doesn’t need // to be widely acclaimed // to be celebrated. // However, while grief can take many forms, // there’s seems to be a discrepancy in empathy. // We’re inconsistent // with whom or what we deem worthy // of mourning. // In terms of visibility and grief-engagement, // one study // at George Washington University found, // "What mattered // was how likely US tourists // were to have visited that country // and the country’s proximity to the United States.” // When Notre Dame burned // scores took // to social media to post // remembrances, pictures, laments. // The white-Western world mourned. // I mourned // for a place I've never been.




"Empathy should not be contingent on our proximity to suffering or the likelihood of it happening to us. Rather, it should stem from a disdain that suffering is happening at all."

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