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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Georgetown University student mugged at gunpoint says he is unable to criticize attackers 'from my perch of privilege.

A student at Georgetown University wrote in an op-ed piece that he was 'Not at all' shocked that a recent mugging he suffered at gunpoint took place.
Student: Oliver Friedfeld, pictured, wrote the opinion piece which sparked a debate among online commenters 
Student: Oliver Friedfeld, pictured, wrote the opinion piece which sparked a debate among online commenters 
Senior Oliver Friedfeld said in his piece, 'I Was Mugged, And I Understand Why,' that he questioned his own ability to criticize his attackers, citing his 'perch of privilege.' 
The op-ed was published November 18 in Georgetown's student newspaper The Hoya - and picked up by several media outlets this week.
As of this writing, Friedfeld's piece has 142 comments on the student newspaper's website - a number of which debate whether or not the author is victim-blaming for the crime, while others debate the idea of privilege.
Friedfeld wrote of the encounter '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.'
He continued '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 [Washington, D.C.] that has historically been, and continues to be, harshly unequal.'
Frieden revealed in the op-ed that he did not view the muggers as 'bad people' - and that instead of the various opportunities he'd received in life, wrote that, 'I'd venture to guess that our attackers have had to experience things I've never dreamed of.'
'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?"' he argued. 'It’s precisely this kind of "otherization" that fuels the problem.'
Friedfeld wrote that though there is always the possibility of choice, 'it's a lot easier for me to choose good than it may be for them to.'
The college student also dismissed the idea of an increased police presence being helpful; he wrote '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.'

At the end of his column for The Hoya, Friedfeld argued that people ought to acclimate themselves to crimes taking place.
He wrote, '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.'
Friedfeld did not immediately return a request for comment from MailOnline.
Credit: DailyMail

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