“Do you care or nah?”
That’s a real question that I want answers to. It seems as if rampid selfishness has dominated the HBCU Community. We flat out don’t care about how each other feel. We see it all the time through the veil of students and their interaction with advisors, administrators, faculty and staff. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken this issue to a whole new level. Students are still fighting to hold onto their graduation and they aren’t being heard. Candidates vying for titles in their institution’s student elections are pushing to hold digital elections in the Spring instead of waiting until the Fall for what could be the reopening of America and a return of our “normal lives.” Instead, they’re kept in a state of limbo. One email could mean that they’re campaigning tomorrow and aren’t prepared or have to delay their dreams for 4 months. Total lack of communication.
There’s so many examples of a lack of empathy and communication within the HBCU community. However: I want to pinpoint a particular subsect of our community that don’t often practice empathy and communication. Students. Some within our cohort don’t aspire to be empathetic and don’t care to. Some don’t care to communicate well and will get offended if you bring it up to them. This trend is frustrating and it must be called out. It must be spoken upon. Maybe then we can truly see change.
Let’s start with what empathy means. Merrium-Webster defines the word “empathy” as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present” Psychologist report that there are three areas of empathy: emotional, cognitive and compassionate. The level of compassionate empathy is interesting to me because I feel as if it’s what we lack. Psychologist Daniel Goleman, when spotlighted by Heartmanity’s Blog defined “compassionate empathy”by saying: “With this kind of empathy we not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed.”
We see this lack of empathy through our interpersonal communication. We don’t know how to form true bonds anymore. We don’t know how to effectively communicate. We feel as if stepping back and ghosting people we have disagreements with is a suitable point of closure. We applaud ourselves for not being good communicators, boasting not texting or replying back as some level of being popping. Where have we gone in our generation?
The problem in our discourse is that we are selfish. We’ve taken the notion of “being selfish” way too far. Sure, focus on affirming yourself first and look out for yourself before anyone else. That’s law. However, you can’t purport to be a part of a community or be a leader with no basic level or empathy or communication. People are really out here speeding past the process of building genuine relationships with people to fulfill their selfish desire. They want a shout out, endorsement video or some level or information that benefits them but don’t even placate your ego. Do we have to teach people how even properly be manipulative people at this point? The laziness of where we are in our personal communication is apparent.
“We aim to inspire those in the world yet our friends and family are often times neglected. The passing of Kobe brought me to deep reflection about life and how precious every moment we have with each other is important. You never know the impact that you’re making, even on the people you see in your daily life. Check on your people man. You don’t know how important a FaceTime call or random pop-up means to someone. You don’t owe anyone anything, especially strangers. But, what about the people we care about? What about the people we’re inspired by? Why wouldn’t you cherish the time with the people you love and make time for them? Life is too short and you don’t know what people are going through. We gotta communicate. You never know when our time will come and you’ll miss the opportunity to build with the people important to your life.”
What I detailed was a level of empathy. We’re often so worried about inspiring and being there for our followers and maintaining a base of people that follow, like and comment on our pictures that we don’t maintain our own personal relationships. We are so one-sided in how we feel that we don’t even allow ourselves the opportunity to see things from another viewpoint. Isn’t that what we hate Donald Trump for? Why are we operating like this in 2020? It’s childish.
I really wish that we’d collectively get it together. We’d be stronger as a community as well as we’d be happier. We have step outside of ourselves and reach out to others. But are we willing to? Do you care or nah? You don’t even have to answer that question. Actions speak louder than words.