My Empathy Essay Example
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Lee) You never know what is going on in people’s head. What I have learned with my empathy adventure and in stories like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Black Like Me” is that you will never know how someone feels. You also can’t know the reasons behind their choices unless you “climb into his skin and walk around it in.” That is not possible; it leaves us guessing on what is going on in their head. When some of our experiences are the same we are able to empathize with people. But, the choices we make in life make it so, we feel and take things differently. Everyone chooses different routes and, interprets each challenge differently.
Atticus gives this advice to Scout, to show her that everyone goes through different things in their life. Try your best to get along because you don’t know what is going on. It is not possible to ever “get into another’s skin” because everyone is doing and thinking things that never come out of their mouths; even if they do, you are not there to see all of their experiences to know why they make that decision. This is something I have learned with going to the Soup Kitchen. I am lucky. I’m able to have a nice home with food on the table not having to wonder where my next meal is coming from. I also don’t have to think about how I will get it. People Judge people who go to the soup kitchen or need help. They make assumptions like, they are not smart with their money, they can’t keep a job, etc.
I never knew what the soup kitchen was until I was older, and then I thought of the movies and all the gross prison food people go was served there. I also thought that I never wanted to go there in my lifetime. I thought it would be gross and not fun. I thought that people should take care of themselves and shouldn't depend on someone else. I thought that no one worth talking to would be at the Soup Kitchen. My mom always tells me to stay away from people on the corner that something bad could happen like rape or kidnapped, or whatever.
When I got to go to the Soup Kitchen, with some people in my church. We try to go 2-3 times a year and we went just recently, recently time I tried to actually pay attention. I go before it even opens and stayed until it was all cleaned up. We got there early and helped put the food into containers and put them on to the serving counters we were having Spaghetti and meatballs with bread salad and dessert.
We got washed up and put on the gloves and aprons. We all tried being happy and kind and say nice things and do our best. It was difficult when someone made a snide comment or something while we were helping. There were a few that called up spoiled kids, and some that just scowled at us for what feels like forever.
I thought about how lucky I was because I could have a meal on my table every night and food in the cabinet for when I need or want. I noticed that for some people it was the only one of the full correct meals they get one time a week. Some people came back and got more and more they were starving! They had kids and helped them but sometimes it looked like they only cared for themselves. But then they would come back at the end and ask for food for their wives and kids and other families that couldn’t make it. Then one woman that work their new each person and their families and asked about them. There was this one woman that came through the line, I met her first since I was the one serving noodles she glared at me and then when I asked her how much she wanted she said that she could get it herself and took over, then she went to the sauce which was my sister Talia and she glared at her and said that she could do it herself also we left her to do what she wanted to do not wanting drama or anything.
When she did this, it made us all feel bad and not wanted. I was talking to Sam, Zach, & Talia they all said how they just wanted to help but no one ever wanted their help and it really put us all down. But then, there was one man who came through the line and was super happy and kind. He immediately struck up a little small talk with us and we got to have a good laugh with this guy, we had one boy named Zach putting Parmesan Cheese on people’s plates; he came down with his Spaghetti and kept on asking for more and more and more there were at least 5 big spoonfuls on his plate and he told us how much he really liked Parmesan Cheese.
He was super nice and made our days! We all joked around with him and kept on making jokes and could talk to some and have a better experience with some but if it was bad, we would all joke about the one guy that wanted more and more cheese. It went like this for most of the night until around 6:30-7:00 ish. One woman working there forgot pretty much all the stuff she considered important to her. She left, one of her friends knew where she was staying and went to bring her the stuff she forgot back. She noticed that she forgot her stuff about halfway to where she was going so she turned around in the rain and walked back to
The Soup Kitchen. She was more than furious that her friend tried to help her. I took a while to understand why she would be mad that someone was trying to help her, then Wendy said something that made it all makes sense Wendy said, “that’s probably all the stuff she owns” That made me think of what it would be like to not have a place to go to or a closet full of clothes or some of the other random things I take advantage of daily. If I only had a few crates with all the stuff I owned I probably wouldn’t want anyone to touch my stuff.
I noticed that some of these people were raised with not much money so they went to school and then they grew up they didn’t have money for college and so they just had to do their hardest to survive. This didn’t mean that they were lazy workers, and they were lazy. They just needed some help they couldn’t do it all by themselves and nobody should have to do that but sometimes it what it feels like. This was the pale green pants, they need someone to go to for help and a shoulder to cry on. They know the women that work there fantastic and can help and get to know these people around them and truly care for them. These people go through many trials throughout their life you couldn’t understand or even comprehend what happened.
In comparison, racism, “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” (Dictionary) People make assumptions about people who are black and judge them for things that they can’t change. People go to the soup kitchen to get help; some assumptions are not right but not for everyone. John Howard was one person who wanted to stop racism. What John noticed was that he can never know what it is like to be black unless he was black.
Along with that, John Howard Griffin changed the color of his skin and move to the south as a black guy. John did this as a social experiment to see how people of the black race are treated and why. He did this to see what he could do to correct the racism towards black people. I went to the soup kitchen to help people who are less fortunate than me. I want to help people in any way I can. I didn’t even know how sad it was to not be able to take care of yourself until I helped.
To continue, John didn’t know how bad it was until he was in their shoes. He said, “With my decision to become a Negro I realized that I, a specialist in race issues, really knew nothing of the Negro’s real problem.” (Griffin) John wanted equality, he wanted to help but he doesn’t even know exactly what was going on or how they feel so he needs to “put himself in their skin.” No one wants to feel different; they judge these people for stuff they couldn’t change or do anything about! People at the Soup Kitchen aren’t always able to change why they go their some have disabilities and can’t keep a job or some can’t make enough money to keep themselves helped.
Next, everyone has secrets they tell no one. When the Southern legislators said, “that they had a “wonderfully harmonious relationship”(Griffin) Thinking everything was fine at least it was fine because they were fine. When in life John states that the southern negroes," they had reached a stage where they simply no longer cared whether they lived or died." (Griffin) People try so hard to do their best and do what they can; people are mean the world isn’t a crude place to live in, it’s the people who live in it! The Negro’s were bullied to a point where they didn’t care about their life or what happened to them. It like some people John tried to get into their shoes and after 50 years he knew what it was like to be black. Some people who went to the soup kitchen I noticed from school. I kept it to myself because when I think about it if I was the one going there I wouldn’t want someone to tell everyone I went there.
There are some things you don’t tell people it embarrasses them and they aren’t going around saying they go there and it’s not fair just like how the Negroes never said that they were not being treated with respect. “Communication between the two races had simply ceased to exist” (Griffin) Just like politics now people who have more money and people who have less can’t agree. That is because they don’t see eye to eye. This is one place that the idea they can’t take care of their self because they aren’t hard works or all the other rumors. They just don’t understand what is happening to them because their lives differ from the others. Plus the people with less money don’t want to admit that they need help, you wouldn’t
Aside from that, the white people made it so that the Negroes were not used for slaves and because of this made them “equal”, but that didn’t stop the discriminating and the picking on because they differed from the white people. To put this in perspective of today, people judge others by their wealth and their hair and clothes and anything else that’s put on a scale. Not everyone is lucky enough to even have 3 meals a day 7 days a week. Some of these things you take for granted. People come to the Soup Kitchen starving some haven’t eaten for multiple days.
“You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you don’t you let ‘em get your goat.” (Lee) This is advice Atticus gives scout, but this advice is for everyone; the black people had to try their best to use it every day of their life. Some people who I have met at the soup kitchen have gotten that the best they can do is good enough and can smile through these hard times while others are grumpy and fight and scowl at you for trying to help. You understand that they are grateful for your help but are also very jealous of what you have you don’t; you can take time and help while they don’t.
In the story the lottery states, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,”(Jackson) There is no better way to say it. Life isn’t fair! Would you want to go through the same experiences as one of your friends or someone who you don’t even know? There are people who look like they are doing great but, dang they are good actors! I saw people, they act like life is perfect but they are just hiding it so they're not judged for not being able to have all the things their friends do. “There is a secret to it besides being white,” (Moody) When compared to today there’s more to being rich than being smart and hard-working. We all don’t have the same trials! I know multiple people in my life that have bad health problems and aren’t able to work like they would like to.
My new understanding about the people that go to the soup kitchen is that they are people too and we all have trials but in a way, it just looks like there's more visible. Most people are trying their best to be able to help themselves but they just need a little help. Some people are kinder than others showing people that they need help, and are better at showing gratification. You can never know what life is really like for anyone until you are them. Therefore you don't know why someone goes through something or why they make that decision.
People are so one-sided they see life through their eyes. “Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,” (Whitman) Some people see it as super happy and everyone singing and having a good time because they see the world as happy and good. This is just how they see it with their trails and their situation in life. “Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed-” In the 1860s when the slaves were freed, they white people thought that they were doing them a favor. And now everything was right. They are pretty much treated the same they are still treated very poorly, they just get paid and what the white people think is equality. That is not how the black people saw it they still wanted to do better and were angry.
Griffin, John Howard. “Black Like Me”. Berkeley. October 20, 2010.
Lee Harper. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Warner Books December 1982.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Published in 1828. https://www.Merriam-Webster.com/dictionary/racism
Moody Anne. “Coming of age in Mississippi” Bantam Dell. 1968.
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery” Farrar, Straus and Company 1948.
Hughes, Langston Edited by Arnold Rampersad “I, Too, Sing America” Published by The Estate of Langston Hughes 1994.
Whitman, Walt “I Hear America Singing”
Frost, Robert “Mending Wall”