Recently I found myself in a conversation with a student where I felt like Kwai Chang Caine, from the 1972 sitcom Kung Fu, imparting some wisdom in a somewhat indirect fashion. I was explaining the importance of diversity and inclusion throughout our society using an analogy of different flavors of ice cream in an ice cream shop. I asked the student if he would go to an ice cream shop that only sold vanilla ice cream. The student responded, “no, because I like chocolate and vanilla mixed together.” Then I asked the student if he would go to an ice cream shop that only sold chocolate and vanilla ice cream if he was with a group of friends who liked other flavors that the ice cream shop did not offer. The student responded, “I don’t care if the ice cream shop doesn’t have other flavors, as long as it has what I want!” I responded with the question, “well, what if your friends are unhappy because they cannot get the ice cream they like?” The student responded, “I hate cry-babies! My friends should just get what the ice cream shop has!”
The conversation quickly shifted from a lesson on diversity and inclusion to a lesson on empathy and antipathy.
·Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others, and to understand other people's perspectives on a situation.
·Antipathy is a deep-seated feeling of dislike; aversion.