Empathy and vulnerability

The researchers concluded that “the present work finds that people assume that, relative to whites, blacks feel less pain because they have faced more hardship.”

I watched Oprah’s Lifeclass Part 2 with Dr. Brene Brown last night. She is a sociologist who studies courage and vulnerability. Brene Brown started gaining national recognition when her TEDTalk based on her book Daring Greatly went viral.  Essentially in her research she was searching to find out what made the happiest, most success and fulfilled people, happy, successful, and fulfilled. She found that those people were the most courageous and that courage requires vulnerability. If you are not vulnerable you are unfulfilled because you are not living authentically because you have all of these walls keeping you from living your best life. Got it? If not, here is a link to her TEDTalk. She had a wonderful section of the talk about vulnerability for minorities and LGBT communities, but it was too complex and awesome to capture in a quote. Here are some of her quotes from last night’s Lifeclass on opening yourself up to vulnerability:

  1. “I want to be able to say ‘I contributed more than I criticized.'”

  2. Cool is an armor.

  3. Everything is not supposed to be happy and comfortable all the time

  4. There are no prerequisites to worthiness. 

  5. Empathy is the antidote to shame. 

  6. Write your story on the arena walls.

  7. When perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun, and fear is the annoying backseat driver.


Then I read this article by Jason Silverstein on Slate.com titled “Racial empathy gap: Why white people don’t feel black people’s pain”  


I have not read the study and this is not an endorsement of the research, just food for thought.

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