2014’s Twerpiest Guy award: “I was mugged and I deserved it because white privilege”
Last weekend, my housemate and I were mugged at gunpoint while walking home from Dupont Circle. The entire incident lasted under a minute, as I was forced to the floor, handed over my phone and was patted down.
And yet, when a reporter asked whether I was surprised that this happened in Georgetown, I immediately answered: “Not at all.” It was so clear to me that we live in the most privileged neighborhood within a city that has historically been, and continues to be, harshly unequal.
What has been most startling to me, even more so than the incident itself, have been the reactions I’ve gotten. I kept hearing “thugs,” “criminals” and “bad people.” While I understand why one might jump to that conclusion, I don’t think this is 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.
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.
Young people who willingly or unwillingly go down this road have been dealt a bad hand. While speaking with a D.C. police officer after the incident, he explained that he too had come from difficult circumstances, and yet had made the decision not to get involved in crime. This is a very fair point — we all make decisions. Yet I’ve never had to decide whether or not to steal from people. We’re all capable of good and bad, but it’s a whole lot easier for me to choose good than it may be for them to.
Hey, DC muggers! Mug this weenie pushover again! He;ll do whatever you tell him to do, he’s probably now got an even better phone that his parents paid for to hand over to you, and he’d love to write another op-ed for the student newspaper about your “otherization” and how you’ve “been dealt a bad hand.” He thinks you’d want him to be your friend if you knew him a little better. Get to know him!
h/t: Campus Reform
Posted by Charlotte Allen