To the Editor,
When I first published my article, “I Was Mugged And I Understand Why,” I could never have predicted the response it would receive. I hope this letter clarifies some of the points that have been wildly misread.
To be perfectly clear, I do not condone violence against anyone, and I certainly did not deserve to be mugged. Understanding why someone might steal from me does not suggest that I deserved it.
Everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior, and my attackers made a bad choice, for which they ought to be punished. But the conversation should not end there.
Innocent individuals never deserve to be attacked. But in an unequal society, we can’t be shocked by crime. I’m not suggesting it’s OK, or that we should accept it. I’m saying wake up: the futures for some are bleak. Until we do something to understand and address the root causes of crime, it will continue. Acknowledging that there is more to crime than pure evil does not equate to condoning it.
As for me, I’ve chosen empathy. I’ve chosen to write an article that deepens the conversation about privilege. And I will continue to address issues of structural injustice as I see them. I invite others to do the same.
Oliver Friedfeld (SFS ’15)