Relating to Millennials and a Difference in Empathy

There’s a lot of debate these days about empathy among Millennials. Many, especially the baby boomers claim Millenials are self-entitled, aloof and care only about themselves. 

Empathy is an emotional response to distress to others and the ability to imagine another person's perspective--often expressed as "being in other person's shoes."

Sometimes Millenials can be accused of lack of empathy since they communicate in different ways compared to older generations. Baby boomers may interpret their lack of holding meaningful face-to-face conversations as an inability to show empathy for others, where sometimes the issue is just a difference in communication among the generation age gap.

Whether or not, this "me generation" is as empathetic as previous generations can be debated. Regardless, it is extremely important to teach empathy to our youth if we want to see positive changes in our society. Many times our youth only see a fake viewpoint of reality through aspects like social media and they think that everything is as it seems on Instagram where the majority of people only post the highlights. But in reality, they might have a classmate who struggles with basic tasks because they're in a wheelchair and they might not be talking (or posting) about their difficulties.

Or, as English professor Mark Bracher says, “The problem is never too much empathy. I think the problem is not enough.” He argues that empathy education needs to move beyond volunteerism and toward social transformation. “One has to have the kind of empathy that really understands you don’t just give people handouts; what you do is transform the system so the people themselves can be transformed,” he says. “While empathy is not itself sufficient, it is necessary for greater social justice to come about.” (read more)

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