When you are poor, it means you are often overlooked and unnoticed. Most nations have a growing homeless problem, and most working-class and above citizens pretend as if the poor do not exist or will simply go away. Being rich means you are privileged. You have more to gain and usually a reputation that can be damaged. A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest nation.
As Stevenson states, “My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.” (18). Stevenson believed that all they needed was justice. By the idea that poverty is best understood through the lens of inequality. Such policies also tend to undermine the family and create a culture of dependence on the state, unleashing harmful consequences that would, again, fall disproportionately on the poor. We were all burdened by a certain kind of indifference to the trouble of poor people. Bryan Stevenson shows empathy, in which it relates to Brene Brown’s theory. Brene Brown is a motivational speaker who studies the human courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. In Brene Brown’s talk on empathy, she states that “Empathy fuels connection.
Sympathy drives disconnection.”. Empathy is feeling with the people and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Brene Brown quoted from Teresa Wiseman that empathy has 4 qualities; perspective taking, staying out of judgment, recognizing emotions, and feeling with the people. Empathy is a secret place, and it is a choice. “Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable choice. Because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.”. Overall empathy is the connection and emotions that you have. Recognizing emotions in other people is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I have shown empathy a few times in my life. One time I have shown empathy was when I went to my mother’s job. At the time she was working at a family homeless shelter. The shelter was a having a recreational party and one of the teenagers didn’t want to attend. When she came up the stairs to the door of the party, she looked inside and began to cry.
When asked what’s wrong, she said I’m not coming in because I don’t have the latest name brand clothing on like everyone else. I look different from everyone. I allowed myself to remember how I felt when I was not up to date with fashion. I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see me so I didn’t go outside. I put myself in her shoes and told her that clothes don’t make a person it’s your inner beauty that counts. After telling her that and letting her know that I would go inside and stay with her. She agreed and began to smile.
When we got inside and sat at the table we began talking and laughing, others came over and joined in the conversation. This allowed others to see her inner beauty rather than the clothing she was wearing. This also allowed others to see that everyone deserve to be treated with respect and kindness no matter what you have or don’t have. Stevenson connects to Brene Brown’s theory on empathy because he is fueling the connection. He believes that looking at people’s lives and experiences up close is a prerequisite for the kind of empathy that can lead to mercy. He doesn’t want to see them struggle but yet their voiceless towards what’s going on. Having empathy towards these people is a choice that he has made. Stevenson has the idea that everyone is capable of making mistakes, but everyone should be granted mercy. Stevenson insists that achieving more in society and encouraging an ethics of mercy requires individuals from all sides to become more empathetic.
Stevenson represents that one way to preserve humanity in the face of injustice is to extend forgiveness and mercy. Based on Bryan Stevenson childhood experiences, he believes that you should forgive the accused instead of seeking harsher punishments for them. Practicing empathy and mercy, then, is the way to break the cycles of cruelty, violence, and punishment that are ripping society apart. According to the Brene Brown video about empathy, she states “But one of the things we do sometimes in the face of very difficult conversations is we try to make things better. If I share something to you that’s very difficult, I’d rather you say I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m just so glad you told me. Because the truth is rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”. Brene is expressing that just by hearing out the person and letting them express to you their feelings without any judgment is being empathetic.
Stevenson is seeing how the inmates are feeling based on their point of view. He is seeking emotions and is feeling the same pain that they are going through. Stevenson managed to find a way to make hope appear in the lives of those who failed to find a reason to. Stevenson fights against a broken system and managed to change people’s views in the process. Overall, Bryan Stevenson shows empathy towards the inmates. In conclusion, Stevenson states, “The way we judge a nation is not by how they treat the rich. It is rather in how they treat the poor.”page. His experiences show what hope can do in negative situations. In a hopeless situation, he is willing to fight for justice. His answer to conflict caused by overuse of power is hope. Stevenson’s journey showed that in strife there is always a way out and that hope is the key.