Monday, March 24, 2014

Privileged Position

Reading the story of Jared Remy and the out-of-control spiral of his life that lead to a woman's death, I think, leads one to an understanding of what privilege is about. At it's core, it's a simple matter of categorizing.

When I worked with children it was understood that there was no such thing as a bad child - there were only bad decisions. We often want to abandon this with adults, and decide that they good or bad is something that someone is - rather than something someone does. Mr. Remy, it appears, was consistently categorized as "good." And that allowed people to tell themselves that his behavior - the bad acts he was constantly being hauled into court for - were aberrations that didn't require the corrective measures that were otherwise meted out to others in his situation.

There were many factors that played into people wanting to understand Mr. Remy as a "good guy." In the end, they're not as important as the understanding itself. Bias, whether privilege or prejudice, justifies different rules for different people by creating distinctions where none actually exist.

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