A recent TV advert by Unicef offers parents a chance to purchase a card system allowing them to discuss difficult concepts with their children. Although the concept of parenting-by-card is unusual in most cultures one is expected to jump on the opportunity to have your parenting automated should you present yourself as white. The final card in the Unicef deck deals with something every white person struggles with: empathy.
Empathy was largely inbred out of white leadership in order for them to succeed as colonial overlords over a century ago. Nevertheless a combination of training and drugging (mainly privilege and experimental pharmaceuticals) keeps non-elite whites from developing empathy during puberty. This results in strange result when white people encounter others who display the trait.
To examine empathy we followed one recovering white person suffering from ‘just-dark-enough’ a condition where their melanin content allows them to be labeled as non-white by fellow whites should they exhibit traits such as empathy. Traditionally referred to as non-aryanism the correct term for this has been recently changed to PMS (proportional-melanin syndrome as opposed to the more common definition: patriarchy maintenance system).
The individual in question was repeatedly met with stunned and confused responses for displaying empathy towards others. In the first incident the observed, said white person questioned whether indigenous people where present during a discussion of white history. Shocked, the white people around him immediately began theorizing that he must himself be indigenous eventually designating him métis with the accuracy and enthusiasm of early anthropology. In another incident another group of white people reacted to the same individual’s assertion that “Palestinians have a right to defend themselves” in an identical manner questioning whether the white speaker harbored a secret Semetic ancestor. In a final incident the individual questioned the wholesale killing of wolves. A third and separate group of white people present at the time ended up split as to whether the empathetic individual was himself a werewolf.
A significant number of recovering white people are attempting to revive empathy. Given their existence and lack of tangible experiences the results have at times been disastrous. In one incident a person describing their experiences surviving a refugee camp haunted by the smell of death was met with: “I know what that is like, you should have smelt my dorm room first year.” In another incident a Sikh individual describing their father’s struggle as to whether or not to wear the pagh while looking for a way out of underemployment was met with: “my family had a beige Toyota in the 1990s too.” Finally a person discussing their upcoming gender transition was met with: “HR had me as the wrong gender for a while, I know what that paperwork is like.” All these incidents indicate white people struggling to show empathy vocally, when shutting up may have been the best method if not for showing empathy then perhaps for hiding its nemesis utter stupidity.
This final example however is perhaps the most grievous example of a misguided attempt at empathy. Discussing the challenge of appearing Muslim in early Twenty-First century white spaces and that constant suspicion associated with brown skin one individual faced a white person claiming: “I know what it is like to be brown, I am Portuguese, we tan easily.” The important lesson here of course is before you claim to understand said struggle as your own make double sure your nation doesn’t have a white streak responsible for multiple colonial operations and the largest slave-economy on an entire continent.