Taking up your great mountain metaphor, while the guy at the bottom of the mountain is going to get hurt more when a rock thrown by the guy at the top hits him, the guy at the top might be less likely to get hurt by any individual rock, and yet because he’s getting pelted by rocks constantly nowadays, he’s increasingly losing his footing and getting dangerously close to the edge, and if he finally gets knocked off that mountaintop, he has a lot further to fall. So empathy has to go both ways.
And what we ultimately need to do is shift the metaphor entirely. We need to get off that mountain where one person is always going to be a step above another and where we’re all going to be endlessly clambering for a higher perch and get ourselves all into a lush valley where we can all enjoy the fruits of our collective bounty.
The way to accomplish this is to stop our endless wars of identity politics that are turning into an escalating race war, and return to a vision of a nation where we are judged based on who we are as individuals rather than based on the color of our skin. On this, I think, we can agree.