The Racial Empathy Gap: No Sympathy For The Black Working Class
Marcus H. Johnson
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As for the response vis a vis opioid versus cocaine it may have more to do with the growth of harm reduction and science based understanding of addiction but when you compare sentences for arrest with powder cocaine as opposed to arrest with rock cocaine there is the empathy gulf w/out a doubt.

The use of white economic anxiety to justify the white working class vote for Mr. Trump says a lot about the media’s desire to maintain normative social relations (the status quo) rather than the media having empathy. I have a hard time imagining the hard drinking, cocaine sniffing members of the national media having empathy for anybody other than their myopic selves.