“Walk a Mile in my Shoes”

shoes Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 MSG

“Building the Bridge Together” over the ethnic cultural divide involves empathizing with positive and negative aspects of what we call humanity. An old saying says “Walk a Mile in my shoes”. In a series of earlier posts, the subjects of love and empathy were discussed extensively. Empathy is the first step in “Building the Bridge Together”, and one that can not be taken lightly. While many times the focus is on the provocation of racism, the ancillary effects of Privilege and the Race Card. A deceptive sentiment creeps into the fabric of ethnic/racial relations. A natural effect evolves from the structural social power dynamics that leads, many times, unsuspecting recipients of privilege into sympathy. Though often times it does; sympathy should never be mistaken for empathy. The two sentiments are very different. Empathy places us in our neighbor’s shoes. In an article entitled “Six Habits of Highly Empathic People”, Roman Krznaric’s defines empathy this way:  ” But what is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity.”  Six Habits of Highly Empathic People By Roman Krznaric | November 27, 2012 In that same article these six habits are Identified as:  Empathy21: Cultivate curiosity about strangers  2: Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities  3: Try another person’s life  4: Listen hard—and open up  5: Inspire mass action and social:    6:Develop an ambitious imagination A common thread of these Habits is the desire to feel what the others feel this is akin to Paul’s experience that he exclaimed in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. This was a call to love people through their eyes and not only our own. When we are motivated to serve across the ethnic cultural divide instead of only help it brings  the ultimate humility to any conversation about reconciliation and bridge building etc, “To help” has many different connotations. One prevailing definition in the western hemisphere’s interpretation for those wanting to (help) bridge the ethic/cultural divide, is “to save; rescue; succor: Help me, I’m falling!” Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.        “This sounds vicariously similar to the spirit of an old poem written by the late Rudyard Kipling  entitled the “White Man’s burden“,  which establishes that western European norms, values and culture becomes the standard by which all others must assail to in order to ever become accepted and seen as successful. This burden is to (help) others reach those standards. On the other hand, To servewpid-Positive+Words.jpg is to seek to take on a state of mind that values people not just self or the things that satisfy self, or using the people to get the things that satisfy self. “Building the Bridge Together” is to Value all sides of the ethnic cultural divide as true equals. Paul knew that he would only win the “Some” yet he was non discriminatory when it came to the love that he showed to the “All”.  Giving all and only receiving some in return, according to Western values doesn’t add up.  Imagine if we could multiply Paul’s selfless concept of all for some. Simply put; the Sum total of this will become the synergy to bridge any divide. Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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  1. […] is right in the treatment of those outside of our socio- ethnic/economic and cultural circles i.e. the Others. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a one sided affair. All sides of the great divide are […]



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