I'm talking about the power of empathy. The more we strive to empathize with one another, the clearer the vision for the future will become, and the more invested in that future we will be. (Apologies for Yoda-style syntax, but I couldn't figure out how else to word it.) I lay it out so simply not to be ignorant of the legacy of oppression in the South, but because distrust, pain, and ignorance are much easier to process and digest when empathy is the guiding light.
In an analogous fashion, leaders like Robert F. Kennedy (prodded by Marian Wright Edelman) and Jesse Jackson - though they had drastically different starting points - have sought to better empathize with poor, black citizens of the South through their own journeys to the region, specifically Mississippi - RFK in 1968, and Rev. Jackson in the mid-80s. In the clip below, which is about a notoriously impoverished neighborhood in Tunica, MS called the Sugar Ditch, you'll see Mike Wallace attempt to do the same, while also seeking to expand his understanding into a wider medium via his 60 Minutes piece.
Mr. Wallace and the Tunica residents he interviewed in 1985 have much to teach in this segment. I present it not as an end-all, be-all perspective of an individual neighborhood, though, but rather to make it clear how empathy requires persistence and an intentionally-build longitudinal understanding of a place and its people - a tall order for something as finite as a newspaper article or a news show segment. It takes time.
Until next time,