I've long thought that compassion and empathy were key for truly understanding poverty. If you have no compassion for people who are poor, then it's unlikely that you will care about their problems, or about the problem of poverty in the world. The big question is, how to inculcate that compassion in people who don't already feel it? How can poverty education encourage empathy, and thereby spur both understanding and action about poverty?
Those questions need big answers. Nicholas Kristof offers a few thoughts on them a propos of a recent column on low-income Americans that elicited some uncompassionate responses from his readers.
"There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach.
To break cycles of poverty, we have the tools to improve high school graduation rates, reduce teen pregnancies and increase employment. What we lack is the will to do so."
Read the whole article.
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