Hold on, let me put this in perspective.
Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as “thugs?” It’s precisely this kind of “otherization” that fuels the problem.Thats a direct quote from Oliver Friedfeld, a senior at Georgetown University in Washington DC, who, along with his roommate was recently mugged at gunpoint (wait, a gun in DC?)
Take a deep breath. Okay, Oliver has the opinion that since he has so much, and the criminal has so little, he has no right to blame them for robbing him and Oliver takes this circus-train of thought one step further by suggesting that referring to his muggers as "criminals," "thugs" or "bad people" isnt fair.
Not once did I consider our attackers to be “bad people.” I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay. They wanted my stuff, not me. While I don’t know what exactly they needed the money for, I do know that I’ve never once had to think about going out on a Saturday night to mug people. I had never before seen a gun, let alone known where to get one. The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.
Once again, Oliver tells us so much about his way of thinking with very few words. He places trust in a mugger, armed with a gun, and is certain that no harm would come to him. The fact that he wasnt hurt is somehow justification for the idea that he couldn't have been hurt. Oliver's wealth of experience in the criminal world comes from...well having relatives in Mexico City, as he says, so he considers himself not "shielded from poverty." So hes basically saying the socioeconomic equivalent of I have black friends.
Honestly, This sort of thinking isn't unique to Oliver and as much as I wish it wasn't, the idea of "checking your privilege" seems to be growing, especially at the college level where academic idealism supplants education and the radicals of the 60's and 70's are now passing along their theories to the students and leaders of tomorrow. I dont belong to that world, never have so perhaps I cant understand it as well as someone who clocks in every day to learn how they have it so much better than other people because not they, but their parents, grandparents or ancestors put in the hard work to see their family provided for and allow for young Oliver to go to Georgetown and feel sorry for having the opportunity. Just trying to track that line of thought hurts my head.
|yeah, he probably didnt buy that...|
Well I have some bad news for Oliver. Oliver is a sheep, he is the textbook definition of food and his way of thinking isnt going to win over the hearts and minds of the unfairly treated criminals. Oliver's philosophy creates victims-in-waiting; people who are accepting of being victimized because the criminal must certainly need what hes taking, otherwise why would he be taking it?
When we play along with a system that fuels this kind of desperation, we can’t be surprised when we’re touched by it. Maybe these two kids are caught, and this recent crime wave dies down, but it will return because the demand is still there, and the supply is still here. We have a lot, and plenty of opportunities to make even more. They have very little, and few opportunities to make ends meet.Again, I dont know Oliver but I think it would be a safe bet to say he doesnt know how a shovel works, or how one uses a lawn mower. Oliver may be totally out of touch with the ideas of manual labor because its looked down on in his world. Getting a job with a construction company or installing carpet may not be considered a "hand up" in his world. It may not be seen as worthwhile work, because, you know, Georgetown. There isnt a single job unworthy of someone to work it. Oliver makes excuses for those who dont have what he does when in all actuality he probably wouldnt have what he does if someone else had not have worked for it. The men who mugged him made a choice to take rather than to earn, and who better to take from than someone at the end of a line of other peoples hard work? Oliver's opportunities were created by someone else. That doesnt mean he isnt capable of creating wealth of his own, Im sure he is, but to assume his muggers couldnt have chosen a different path, done honest work and built themselves up to a comfortable life is the real "privilege" thinking.
but have no fear, for Oliver really lays down the gauntlet at the end...
The millennial generation is taking over the reins of the world, and thus we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past. As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges. Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.
"Reins of the world"? How does this kid hope to do so when he is obviously accepting of being a victim? Oliver actually thinks that he, and those like him, will suddenly find themselves in a position to change the world because they are the first ones to "understand" the criminal? Well, I have news for him. Every single senior class since forever has had similar ideas and we still have crime...that must mean we haven't spread the wealth around enough, right? Or maybe it means that the more our education system produces people not able/willing to fight back and the more these same people push government to support the "less privileged" through entitlement programs, the more we are going to have this problem. You stop the majority of opportunistic crime by changing the views of honest work, and making the crime so risky as to dissuade those too good to have an honest job from trying to take what isnt theirs. Ditches need dug, lawns mowed, trees trimmed, buildings painted, cars serviced, windows washed, food cooked, cabs driven, dump trucks loaded, metal welded and bridges built. Those are all honest jobs, and being okay with working them goes a long way towards not being a criminal. I guess since everyone in America is a temporarily embarrassed millionaire, some people will keep looking down on those jobs.