Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here


empowered21's picture


            I agree with Boler’s sentiment that empathy will not necessarily “lead to anything close to justice or a shift in existing power relations” (156). However, though many people do not have the political capital to sincerely effect change, I believe the display of empathy can be an important trigger of the empathy of others. Empathy can be an integral part of communicable action, which eventually results in a paradigm shift.

            Boler also made me think about a common way we define empathy: to put oneself in another’s shoes. This definition is not entirely altruistic because it involves thinking about oneself if something unfortunate were to happen. If empathy must be altruistic, than putting oneself in another’s shoes cannot be empathetic. 

Empathy does have a space in a classroom because empathy helps us understand others. If long as empathy is not based in fear for personal wellbeing, it can be a productive interpersonal tool.