Can you protest racism on campus after the Paris attacks? Of course you can.

On our myopic hierarchy of suffering

There are no rules when it comes to grieving.
(Image credit: Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)

The headlines pile up, the images, the outrage, the horrors. Anger and heartbreak, in three directions, five directions, 12, all pulling at our attention and time, our sympathy and tears. It's perhaps inevitable that humans (animals who, like all animals, are hardwired to assess risk) tend to rank these horrors as they unfold, a never-ending Olympics of Suffering.

The relentlessness of the news cycle doesn't help: Racism on college campuses was headline news until terrorism in Paris pushed it off. Earlier, protests at the University of Missouri had supplanted clashes in Jerusalem, which in turn had replaced Europe's refugee crisis, which pushed out police brutality, which overcame Bill Cosby. And did we mention Yemen? The bombings in Turkey? How about 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, executed in a Chicago alley for the crime of being his father's son?

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