We All Need Empathy Today
For many of us growing up, empathy was always a virtue that was taught to us through our family. Many people in our country, and around the world, believe America lacks empathy with immigrants entering into the United States. The judicial system and government that is in the United States was founded on the idea that all men are created equal, yet people of color are never treated “equal”. The president, Donald Trump, has cast a shadow upon immigrants making statements such as calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. Actions such as enacting a No Travel Ban toward countries with a predominantly Muslim population also casts this shadow.
Because of these statements and actions there is a group of people in this country that believe that immigrants are horrible people and bring nothing but crime. The reaction of the people in America has triggered both positive and negative reactions such as riots and protests. There is no empathy for the families and individuals, they are seen as objects rather than people. It is a common debate for people in America to argue about immigration. The two debates are typically either for immigration or against it. The lack of empathy usually ends up being when families are being separated or when people are put into inhumane camps and treated like animals. The lack of empathy also lies in not wanting an immigrant presence. A question that I proposed to my interviewee was, “Why do you think the treatment of certain people, such as immigrants, is being brushed off? ” Ayana, my interviewee, replied saying she believes people will not do anything because no action will be taken unless there is a direct connection with a problem. This demonstrates how much society in America lacks empathy. There should not be an incentive for there to be a kind act done. Kindness and empathy should come because of a good heart. For my second interview, I interviewed my parents.
My parents, both immigrants, feel deep empathy for immigrants not only coming from Mexico but from around the world. When my mom first came to the United States she encountered many hardships. When she first arrived at the age of 21, she was not a legal resident, so she had to cross customs in the trunk of a car along with four other people. When my dad first arrived at the age of 14, he was put in a car tire and was told to swim across El Rio Grande by the coyote, the person directing them to the United States. Both of their reasons for crossing the border was to find a job. My parents are from the same village in Mexico where there is no opportunity, no jobs, and no sustainability to live. Coming to the United States enabled them to grow, have their own house, own family, and have jobs. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which gave undocumented people work visas and a chance for a resident’s card. The act is the reason my dad was able to become a resident and be legal in this country. My parents married in 1996, had me in 1999 and my brother in 2001. My mom was able to obtain her resident’s card in 2005 because my dad was a resident and he was able to sponsor my mom. Fast forward to 2015, my mom, after paying a bit over $5000, is now a legal naturalized citizen. Both my parents are living the American dream.
From being illegal to legal over the years, they will always empathize with immigrants who are currently trying to succeed in this dream country. Television and social media are big platforms on social media that either blind us from the truth or have the truth uncovered. Recently, there has been a big uproar about how inhumane immigrants are being treated at the border. From separating kids from their parents to having only newspaper as their bed. Instead of the President, Donald Trump, empathizing and doing something to stop these acts, he blames democrats. In a tweet from Donald Trump, “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. ” (Trump) In a country full of diversity, full of different races, and different backgrounds, the leader must take into consideration the different hardships people have to take in order to get to success. The lack of empathy from the president leads a lack of empathy in the population. Why should we care if the President doesn’t care? Why should we care if my family isn’t being affected by it? Asking Ayana these questions, she replied “Because they are not citizens, a large majority of America views them as less than or not worthy of their attention. ” In Dan Rather’s essay, he states “One often finds the greatest lack of empathy in those who were born lucky. ” (n. pg) There is no empathy for the immigrants as they were not born into citizenship and those people who were born here were “born lucky”. When the Travel Ban was enacted, there was many different reactions. There were the people who were extremely against it or extremely for it. A tweet from Representative Steve Scalise, “This is the right decision. @realDonaldTrump ran on putting America first again and standing up to keep our country safe. That’s exactly what this policy does, and today’s ruling affirms that authority. ” (Scalise)
On the contrary, a tweet from Representative Salud Carbajal, “Targeting people based on their nationality or religion undermines our nation’s values and puts Americans at risk by emboldening our adversaries. Disappointed by today’s decision & I will continue fighting against discriminatory and hateful immigration policies. #NoMuslimBanEver” (Carbajal) Undoubtedly there were reactions from the American people which were reactions that were also on completely different sides of the spectrum. For example, a new Jersey resident speaking about her and her family and how they all viewed the United States as a shelter from their hardships back home. “”For my family, personally, and my uncle who was first person to come to the United States, who came here seeking political asylum, it’s a real disappointment to put it mildly that a country that had welcomed him previously with open arms is now closing the door to Muslim families. “(Amirhamzeh) An example lacking empathy would be from a Delaware resident who stated “”The president has every right to protect our country in any way he sees fit. “(Ware)As Dan Rather stated in his essay, “But these divisions inevitably come at the expense of the long-term health and welfare of the nation as a whole. ” (n. pg) Great long-term health is always a goal that one wishes to complete. Some of the reasons many people are against immigration is because of the overall well-being of the population.
The fear of foreign diseases is one of the biggest reasons towards not pushing for immigration for all. Another reason would be the abuse or overuse of the welfare system. Immigrants are viewed by certain people as being takers and not givers. The abuse of the welfare system leaves the legal, or American-born, people with the question of why should immigrants, who are not legal, get free food stamps while I work and receive no government help. An argument that is typically heard from anti-immigration people is, “Well they should have came here legally. ” Interviewing my parents, I came to the realization that my dad had to pay $3000 when obtaining his resident’s card, my mom paid $5000 for her Resident’s card and $5000 for her naturalization process. If it was not for the amnesty of Reagan’s administration, both my parents would be illegal aliens in this country. There is a failure to understand that the process to be here legally is costly, time consuming, and an overall inconvenience. Not everyone has the money to become legal. Many immigrants barely have enough money for themselves or family, let alone thousands of dollars to have papers that make them legal. As humans, there should be no legal and no illegal. There are also many illegal and legal immigrants who come to this country with no help from home and no help from the government, just themselves and the money they receive from their jobs.
In Dan Rather’s essay, he states “Empathy is not only a personal feeling; it can be a potent force for political and social change. And thus the suppression or denial of empathy is a deliberate part of a cynical political calculus” (n. pg). There are many advocates around our country, such as celebrities Chrissy Teigan and John Legend, who use their platform to raise awareness to issues. For example, Chrissy Teigan tweeted “John and I are outraged to see and hear the horror stories of immigrant families seeking asylum and refuge in America being ripped apart due to the inhumane policies of the Trump Administration. ” (Teigan) At the end of her statement, Chrissy Teigan stated that her family and herself each donated $72,000 to the ACLU, an organization committed to defending the rights and humanity of families. Celebrities using their platform to raise awareness shows how empathy can effect change. Lack of empathy could obstruct a large population of people from achieving their dream. Because of my parent’s sacrifice, I am able to live in the United States, go to college, have a roof over my head, and food on the table, legally. There are many people, older and younger, who go through their day-to-day life wondering if they themselves or family members will be there when they get home. Nowadays, it seems as though there is no hope for coming to America and making the American dream. There is no empathy for the people wanting to create a better life for themselves or their family. The quote, “When we live in a self-selected bubble of friends, neighbors, and colleagues, it is too easy to forget how important it is to try to walk in the shoes of others,” in Rather’s essay highlights how easy it is to forget the hardships of others.
One may be handed a car while others work years for one. People often forget many people don’t have the same luxuries as they do, or they take for granted the luxuries they do have. Empathy is a virtue that needs to be worked on by every individual as every individual is not 100% empathetic. Immigrants should not be treated as animals, they should be treated as people. Although, there will be no change until there is empathy. A big problem we are facing as a human race is not feeling empathy for others. “We see others but we cannot imagine what their lives are actually like. ” (n. pg) As human beings, empathy should not be put outside of the picture; rather, it should be an automatic sentiment.
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