Empathy, Bias, and Prejudice

Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary committee, has been widely quoted as saying, “When you show empathy for one party, you necessarily show bias for another group.”

Human Resources — as a function within Corporate America — is in the middle of most debates that deal with race, gender, and ability. Furthermore, job seekers who visit Punk Rock HR have shared stories of perceived mistreatment based on race, gender, ability, beauty, weight, age, height, religion, etc.

I know you have an opinion on this issue. Here we go.

  • When you show empathy for one group, do you show bias for another group?
  • When you are empathetic, do you display bias?
  • Does empathy have a role in critical thinking and decision making process in your life? At work? In our government?

What do you think? Does the Sotomayor appointment — and the current Senate hearings — pick at the unresolved social battles from the 1980s regarding affirmative action and protected class?

Empathy, Bias, & Prejudice

Posted using ShareThis Oriniginally posted onPunk Rock HR by Laurie Ruettimann.


3 thoughts on “Empathy, Bias, and Prejudice

  1. I am not sure how empathy became a liability in decision-making. People deciding on policy that affects an entire nation of people had better engage in some perspective-taking. Making policy decisions simply on ideology is a great way to alienate the people you are supposed to serve.

    • Hi George, I don’t the broader issue is empathy in decision making but utilizing empathy in judicial decision making. It’s not for nothing that ‘justice is blind’. I would hope our legal systems effectively filter out emotion and make decision solely on logical and rational reasoning. I would also hope that our law makers use logic and reason rather than empathy. Don’t forget George, justices/judges do not make policy, lawmakers do, that is represenatives and senators at the state and federal levels. I agree with you George, policy making based simply on ideology is not sound governance. Perhaps we as citizens can and should handle all perspective-taking at the ballot box. Kind Regards!

  2. Empathy and Bias

    Empathy with the plaintiff.
    Pity for the defendant.
    The closest thing to bias here is mercy.

    Without mercy, impartial judgment
    Comes too close to cruelty,
    Indifference and lack of compassion.

    Law without mercy
    Is a curse on the people
    And the lawmakers
    Who champion this evil.

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