“Compassion and the Culture “
Compassion is an attribute often obtained by understanding. Understanding however, is not that easy for many. A large number of our culture will only obtain understanding through experience. Then there are those who have the ability to empathize with someone or something. The (let me walk in their shoes) way of thinking. However that compassion is obtained I think it’s safe to say the world needs more of it. In 2019 over 550,000 people were counted as homeless according to Housing and Urban Development. Since 2013 that number has remained just under 600,000. The country’s homeless population has maintained its presence while becoming one of society’s norms. There is a lack of compassion for certain issues that still reside in our cultures background.
There are a number of contradictions that still beg for our cultures attention, but continue to be ignored or overlooked. The mind blowing number of names lost to police brutality. Due to the state of mental health in our nation, the nation’s prison system, or lack of education regarding reform, there are a lot of issues that are continually plaguing our society. On top of everything these are the worst days many of us have, or will experience in our lives. Compassion is scarce in so many aspects. Although it is scarce, that does not mean it doesn’t exist. Compassion is a positive attribute in a culture that champions division and negativity. The fact is much of the compassion that exists in our hearts or gestures towards others will be greatly overshadowed only for the glorification of the negative. Take for example artists like 2 Chains , who supports programs like the Hip Hop Summit Action Network or his Tru Foundation which have raised millions of dollars providing assistance to less fortunate individuals as well as families. How about Bay area artist like Mista F.A.B. and Philthy Rich, who have been giving back for years
through annual food drives and backpack giveaways helping the less fortunate and showing our communities compassion. Nas supports the Save the Music Foundation. 50 Cent supports Shriners Hospitals for Children. There are countless people in the world who are giving back. Displaying compassion even if the culture chooses to exploit the negative rather than the positive. Many times the compassion that exists is there due to a level of understanding. Understanding that we are more fortunate than others at times, maybe that we as people may have been, or will be in the future , victims of circumstance. In order to change something we must understand it. That understanding leads to compassion. Whether its Pierre Omidyar who is the current Chairman of EBay, who in 1998 established The Omidyar Foundation ( an organization that donates to a diverse range of causes from human rights, to food and energy initiatives ) or The Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth who provide the help, hope and support needed to rebuild the lives of our youth. The commonality is compassion. It’s out there.
The culture of today will magnify mistakes, only to conceal the light that illuminates from the humility we have for each other. We must always remember and be aware that we are that light. Compassion is something that is developed, it is required for growth and should always be recognized by those who believe in change. As small steps are taken towards bigger goals compassion needs to play a bigger role in our culture. It must begin within each of us. Our compassion must be the light that continues to shine.
Written by Tyshawn Smith