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August 6th, 2013, 13:49
That is a simple reality. You CANNOT *fully* understand the black American experience. That is (can't resist) an 'objective reality'. You can empathize, form mental behavioral models, interview millions of black Americans to formulate stochastic approximations. But they are all inherently limited.
Your way of thinking is a real key to part of the problem, though.

You're talking about the "black American experience" as if being black was some kind of universal state that's unchanging.

Here's something about human beings:

We're all unique individuals.

You can't understand me any better than any other individual human being. You think some black kid from the projects is going to have the same experience as President Obama, growing up?

If you think someone who is black is harder to understand than it is to understand someone who is me - then you're very, very mistaken.

That's why I like to focus on understanding human nature - which is something we all share. You have to understand how we change according to our environment - and you have to understand how people interact - and how discrimination as a whole works.

You don't have to have black skin to understand that - and you don't have to have been to a real war to understand that it's not a very nice thing that we should try to avoid.

Absolutely NOT - that is the OPPOSITE of what I am saying. I am the 'person of privilege here in the US - white, male, straight, Christian. Yet I speak strongly as an advocate for many in other groups. Yet I understand that for all of my advocacy and empathy there exists a fundamental limit.
I can't take that seriously. As if all white, male, straight Christians were shiny happy people without very real and tangible problems.

That doesn't mean that racism isn't a real issue as well - but going around feeling shamed because other people are morons is harmful.

Empathy is an emotional reaction that's not inherently beneficial or positive. In fact, powerful empathy can lead to just as much harm as powerful hatred - or the absence of emotion.

Don't confuse empathy with doing the right thing - because the two couldn't be more different.
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