A Georgetown University student was mugged at gunpoint, but blames his own privilege, making it clear that he can “can hardly blame” the people who mugged him. Oliver Friedfeld and his housemate at Georgetown were mugged by thieves who, according to the senior, were younger than he was.
“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,” Friedfeld stated in an editorial he wrote for The Hoya, Georgetown University’s newspaper.
In the editorial, the Georgetown student stated that he lived in the most “privileged neighborhood” within a harshly unequal city.
“Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me,” Friedfeld continued. “In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay.”
Friedfeld suggested that his life at Georgetown was due to a privilege that the people who mugged him could never know. He said their universes were “light years apart” from each other. He stated that there was a significant inequality gap in Washington, D.C.. He says this gap fuels crimes like gunpoint muggings. Friedfeld said that, due to his privilege growing up in a middle-class family, he has never been in a position where he felt the need to mug someone. He said that he had never even seen a gun, nor did he know where to get one.
“If we ever want opportunistic crime to end, we should look at ourselves first. Simply amplifying police presence will not solve the issue. Police protect us by keeping those ‘bad people’ out of our neighborhood, and I’m grateful for it. And yet, I realize it’s self-serving and doesn’t actually fix anything.”
Friedfeld feels that instead of blaming the criminals, that people of privilege must learn to adapt to normalized crime, according to Campus Reform, until “the wrongs of the past are righted.”
“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. 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.”
While the editorial was well received by some, other called the editorial victim-blaming.
Your tuition dollars at work, mom&dad: “White Student Mugged But Says His ‘White Privilege’ Forced Mugger to Attack” http://t.co/TqLKT4J5s0
— Leslie (@LADowd) November 26, 2014
“I suppose if you were murdered you’d blame yourself for that, too. Pathetic,” Niko Kostas wrote in response.
This is the kind of dumb that you can only get from being college educated: http://t.co/CEnWOvuRcs
— Carlton Hinds (@methuselaschild) November 26, 2014
“He wasn’t giving the muggers a pass at all – just noting that the quick dismissing of these ‘bad guys’ perpetuates the divide between people in our city,” Ron Castaldi responded to the author’s critics.
What do you think of the Georgetown University student’s editorial where he blamed being mugged on the privilege people in his position enjoy, and says that he can hardly cast blame onto his perpetrators?