Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Terri Givens and “Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridge Racial Divides”

[This article is part of the Transparency-Accountability-Value series.]

Terri E. Givens is a seasoned (and storied) political science professor currently teaching at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada.  Professor Givens has recently produced two essential books on the politics of race: “Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridge Racial Divides” and “The Roots of Racism.” 

While there are a number of outstanding historical and social science works to inform readers about racial issues, Radical Empathy is valuable for moving folks towards justice and solidarity—in Trumpian times that are challenging at best. 

One valuable tool for her has been to weave her own individual stories of geography, personal evolution, social location (not just race, but also class and gender), privilege (being middle class) and vulnerability with social and larger historical forces (what C. Wright Mills called The Sociological Imagination).  

By sharing our stories, all of them, it's hard to be just enemies.  And when we can see our similarities and respect our differences (at least some of them) maybe we can even move together.  

But understanding is not enough.  And radical empathy takes practice.  Lots of practice. 

Rather than describe Professor Given’s work, it would be best to provide some free resources for Radical Empathy.

Radical Empathy - Google Books

Radical Empathy Reader’s Guide

Book launch: Radical Empathy (with Julie Lythcott Haims - YouTube)

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