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Is social media reflecting our lack of empathy?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthplace
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthplace
S. Patterson via Galaxy S5

I’ve written a lot about the lack of empathy in the past couple of weeks. Admittedly, it is a subject that I’ve been obsessed with as of late, because it is a quality that seems to be in short supply. When I visited the King Center earlier this month it brought what I was feeling into a blinding clarity of sorts.

As I walked the grounds of the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site, I had the distinct realization that I was walking on a sacred ground of sorts. I started wrapping my head around the idea of where the real power of humanity lies and I came to the conclusion that it requires taking our shortcomings head on instead of discounting them as the domain of “others”.

The ongoing struggle that is humanity’s quest to determine and secure its divine purpose cannot be confined in the faux confines of “race”, which has no biological foundation that it can lay claim to. Instead the larger goal should be geared toward having humanity on the same page, but shallow thinking is easier than complex lines of discourse.

This is where Dr. King harnessed the power to do what was thought to be unfathomable at the time, he made the nation and the world by extension gaze at the ugliness that was accepted as the norm rather than the exception. He used empathy as a tool to empower those who otherwise would not have had it at their disposal.

Sometimes we have to look our own contradictions in the face so that we can conquer and move past them, but I fear that humanity is reaching a point of no return…

Especially when we consider how social media has made our planet smaller with its exponential growth.

I feel as if I’ve belabored the point in contending that social media is a double edged sword, affording people the platform to empower others, but in the same breath it is used a segue to say anything without any regard to the power that our words hold.

The comment boards throughout the social media universe is filled with invective where people take comfort in hiding behind fictitious screen names to spew what they don’t have the fortitude to say in a conventional setting.

The question that I have of “aren’t we better than this?” Continues to go unanswered, if we don’t have a foundation, respect and understanding of empathy and how it intersects with what makes us human, what type of future can we truly aspire to?

As I stood in front of the reflecting pool looking upon the crypt of Dr. King and Mrs. King I came to the conclusion that I wanted to evolve past the labels that have served to weigh me down. It was empowering embracing the reality that I was greater than the confining labels that only served to obscure the broader picture of who I truly am.

In a perfect world this would be a trend that would spread across social media, but that would be too much like right.


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