Dr. Akilah Watkins: The following is a transcript of the video above, from our webinar on “Remaking the Economy: Redefining Leadership.” View the full webinar here.
[W]e don’t get to really talk about empathy a lot, and we don’t get to hear a lot of men talk about empathy, which I think is extremely important. I think one of the tenets of empathy is this whole ideal of being seen and valued, and Tony [Pickett] talks about that explicitly. But I think for communities of color, the whole idea of empathy is to actually see people, and for communities that have been historically invisible, or they have just been [subjected to] extractive practices, have just been used, so they’ve been othered.
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Empathy—radical empathy—sort of changes the relationship that we have with each other in this country. And it’s courageous to do that. It’s courageous to see people who have historically been invisible on purpose, and then it’s also equally or even more important to say, “I find value in you.” We all know that when people are from historically different backgrounds, communities, economic classes, races, that there may be some social distance there. To say that, even with the distance that we have, “I still see value in you,” that’s powerful. It’s a very powerful sentiment to say, it goes against a lot of the tides that we’ve all had to endure in this country. We’re seeing some of it even play out in our current larger political system because we should never lose sight of the point that we all have value and that part of living in a society together is that we see that value, and we value that value.