North Texas Daily

Racism and the waning supply of empathy is severe

Racism and the waning supply of empathy is severe

Racism and the waning supply of empathy is severe
April 07
13:00 2022

In our childhood, we were taught the “Golden Rule,” a statement to treat others as you would like to be treated. However, this rule seems to have an exception for certain people. Empathy seems to be skipped when it comes to the daily struggles that people of color go through. 

Stereotypes play an important role in how people lack empathy for certain races. For example, a stereotype of Black women is that they are over-dramatic and loud. This preconceived discrimination shines through when we talk about medical instances like pregnancy and giving birth.

Out of all pregnancy-related mortality ratios in 2020, Black women were highest in the death count. Black women led with 55.3 deaths per every 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for white women (19.1 deaths). Giving birth should not be a death sentence for Black women. 

Black women are three times more likely to die during childbirth and postpartum compared to white women, according to the Population Reference Bureau. You would think that status or money could help avoid these types of situations, but not even that helped professional tennis player Serena Williams when she went through complications of her own during her first pregnancy. 

Williams detailed her experience of having her baby Olympia and the struggles that came with postpartum. She recognized warning signs of a serious condition and feared she had a blood clot because of the previous one she had in her lungs. She recognized those symptoms and knew the help she needed and tried to alert nurses of what she was feeling.

The nurses then suggested her pain medication was causing her confusion and tried to downplay her situation. Only then was an ultrasound and CT scan ordered for her but only after she kept insisting on it. She knew her body and if she would have listened to the nurses and stopped insisting, she would have lost her life.

This shows how Black women are not taken seriously when expressing how much pain they are in. If Williams, a tennis champion, couldn’t receive adequate care, how adequately would women of color living at or below the poverty line receive care? Looking at it through that lens makes you realize how these women are not taken seriously and not being cared for at all. 

We have only heard this story through her interviews. If she wouldn’t have shared her story, people would be more oblivious to the issue at hand. Social media can do more to help amplify the voices of people of color and help others better understand what they go through.

Social media has the power to share these stories and make them go viral for the world to see. This would help spread awareness of these horrible situations. In this day and age, if you didn’t record your situation, it didn’t happen.

Bringing this certain adversity to social media’s attention is a step in the right direction because as we know, racist situations tend to cause public outrage. When the public is defending one side, a movement is created which brings about a change in policy or legislation. 

An example of public outrage was when the footage of George Floyd’s arrest and murder was released. People were furious with the situation, causing multiple protests involving the Black Lives Matter organization to take place in his honor.

It is always a slippery slope with social media, however, because some apps have the power to block content from people or remove it if it goes against their community guidelines. Many people of color have experienced their content being suppressed or censored whenever they speak out about racial injustices. 

TikTok was known for suppressing content from Black people and most, if not the only, content you ever saw came from white creators on the app. Facebook has also been known for censoring people talking about racism as hate speech, barring people from sharing their stories online. 

With social media, you have the power to share anything at any time from wherever you want. There should not be an exception to this when people are trying to speak about their personal stories of the injustices they face.

This censorship shows the lack of empathy media corporations have for the stories of minorities. They know social media can make anything go viral and they choose to block certain content that shares social injustice. 

There is still a long way to go in eradicating racism. We should remember to empathize with people’s situations and help bring awareness. If it were us experiencing these things, we would want to receive help. 

Featured Illustration By J. Robynn Aviles

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Melanie Hernandez

Melanie Hernandez

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