Difference Between Empathy And Social Justice

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Despite attending a Jesuit high school for four years, I still can not effectively define what it means to be a “man or woman for others”. I used to look at the phrase superficially, easily picking out themes like charity and selflessness. However, in this mature stage of my Jesuit education, a deeper meaning of the phrase has begun to reveal itself. This year in Catholic Social Teaching, we have been discussing the differences between sympathy and empathy, and charity and social justice. Our class decided that sympathy is just feeling bad for someone, while empathy is taking the time to really understand the way someone thinks, their culture, and the underlying issues that may have caused the problem. We also decided that charity is just giving things to people in the hope of helping them, while social justice is trying to fix the system that is causing the problem. …show more content…
I think that many people will go to a soup kitchen once a month and say “I am a man or woman for others”. While charity is by no means bad, you can not become a “man or woman for others by being solely charitable. When you are a “man or woman for others”, social justice is the essence of your character. You must wake up everyday with the intentions to make a difference in the world, and create a world that is fair for everyone. You must have empathy for all people, not just people you like or can relate too. Social Justice must become habitual. You can not go to a soup kitchen one morning and then go to your job at a large corporation that takes advantage of marginalized members of society. Being a “man or woman for others” goes much deeper than just helping