Do African American Women lack Empathy?

Definition of Empathy- The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. (

Now before you get all defensive on me, just hear me out. I first would like to say I am proud to be an African American Woman. I was born and Raised in Detroit, went to school with African Americans, raised by African Americans, and work with African Americans, so excuse me if I happen to believe I am a little experienced on discussing the lack of empathy sometimes displayed in the African American community. I would like to even say that I am an expert when it comes to this topic. Well, here we go.

As you can see, the definition of empathetic basically means to be understanding towards others when it comes to their shared experiences or feelings. Sometimes AA women can get labeled as “Angry” or “Attitudinal”, when in actuality, we may just be direct, or inquisitive about the subject we are discussing. There are no ways to totally wipe out stereotypes, especially with television shows depicting AA women to all be a certain way. However, we can take the steps to look within ourselves to be a little bit nicer. Don’t let your pride, and how you have been all your life stop you from evaluating yourself and being an even better you.  “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].” 1 Corinthians 10:12

For years AA women in the workplace have had to battle the “Angry black woman” stereotype. I totally believe a lot of the times people are misunderstood, but what are we doing on the flip end to bash this stereotype? Are we feeding into the comments and saying “Well, if they think I’m angry, they haven’t seen nothing yet!” Or are we simply staying away from the office gossip and in turn our seclusion is being looked at as rudeness?

What about on the home front? Are our men quick to call us attitudinal or a “Roof top woman” after they forget to wash the dishes for the third straight day, or wash your favorite dress in hot water causing it to shrink? Is it really us, or is it them?

Well, at the end of the day, we all have to be self aware. We must evaluate ourselves in all areas of our lives and see if we are really carrying this stereotype with us everyday. I know it’s hard to deal with everything as a woman, work, finances, kids, husbands, boyfriends, no boyfriend, family, friends, and any other extracurricular activity that you may have added on to the long list, however, your ending result will not be based on how other people treated you, but what you did and how you treated other people.

Your probably saying, Dara, the people at my job are crazy, this man is selfish, and I feel like I am doing the very best I can. There is always room for improvement. I totally empathize with you. I too, have a lot on my plate, but we have to remember, only what we do for God will last, which means us changing and evaluating ourselves for God will outlast any current issue or problem that we are dealing with. #truth

“Even the most honest person cannot see himself as others do, for which we should be thankful. Each person is blind to certain parts of his character even when he is most brutally honest with himself.” Source

Below are some scriptures about self evaluation, being loving, and love in general. study them, commit them to memory, and when that knuckle head boss/co-worker/friend comes your way speak it! Believe me it works!

Love you guys!


If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.

Proverbs 25:21-22

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:9-10

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). 1 John 3: 18


When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4



About daranichole

Lover of Christ, Wife, mother, author, and entrepreneur! I have a heart for women!

Posted on February 23, 2012, in Christian Lifestyle, confidence, faith, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yes, I agree. I am sometimes angry, frustrated, bitter and cranky because I run around like a superwoman with no cape. I’m not like that at work, more so at home with the men in my life who always seem to wait on me to do EVERYTHING! LOL, but great articles Ms. Dara. I’m not mad at you; you simply spoke the truth for so many.

  2. Great article Dara! I think we as AA women have become conditioned to be this way (at times), it’s like we are always defending our actions or trying to measure up to the standards of society. However, you are correct that we should always look to improve ourselves. Very nice read!

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