Growing up with Asperger's, I have struggled with empathy. Despite what others falsely say, autistic men and women do have empathy and do care about others; we simply lack a common emotional language to express and understand feelings and emotions.
I have had to work very hard over the last two decades to learn how to understand my fellow man. Because of this, I treasure my empathy. It is a truly a gift.
So it shocks me to see the world around me being so unempathetic. Conservatives talk about liberals like they are hardly people. Liberals return the favor. Racials tensions seem to be growing even as American becomes more diverse. Hate is the currency of the day. Instead of treating fellow Americans as brothers, we treat them as others. I think this is because we have stopped listening to each other and learning each other’s stories.
To see another as your brother takes humility, willpower, brainpower, and some imagination. But we don’t even need imagination. We can ask someone to tell us their story and they will usually be more than happy to oblige. And everyone has an interesting story to tell. Brandon Stanton has proved that with his Humans of New York series.
I am going to be starting something similar in the next week. The focus of the stories I record and relate will be to foster empathy. I will seek out the "other" and show that he or she is a human being, just like you and me. I am hoping that this journey will take me to all corners of society and allow me to talk to all kinds of people.
I hope that this blog will allow you to learn about peoples and communities you normally wouldn’t have gotten to know. I also hope that as I grow in empathy and love by hearing these stories, you will do the same when you read them on this site.