What happens when we show each other respect
Recommended by OluTimehin Adegbeye
The ability to step outside of one’s own experiences and inhabit those of another is not innate; it can be taught and practiced. But today it feels like empathy is the unusual choice and that we’re predisposed to disregard all kinds of people — including those whose choices put them on the wrong side of the law. But what does it mean for our societies if we are unable to provide those who have become legal outsiders an opportunity to come back in?
Human beings are predictable in that kindness, empathy and respect often have the tendency to bring out the best in us, even when we might have spent much of our lives at our worst. The people who cycled through Judge Victoria Pratt’s court, and whose turnarounds are at the core of her TED Talk, are an example of this powerful truth.
Judge Pratt’s concept of procedural justice may have been refined by her experience presiding over her portion of the American justice system, but its roots are in the simple yet too-rarely implemented idea she got from her working-class family: treat every person fairly and with respect. Her talk — delivered with humor, heart and an assured confidence borne of the fact that her idea actually works — reminds me of the immense power of acknowledging and according people their full humanity, especially when they themselves might have lost sight of it.
Imagine a world in which that is the goal of every person, every society, every justice system: to treat everybody the same, and with respect. It’s one I know I would love to live in.