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Student Mugged in D.C., Won't Condemn Robbers Because of His 'Privilege'

| by Michael Allen

Georgetown University student Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were recently mugged in Washington D.C., but Friedfeld says he doesn't condemn the robbers because of his own privilege.

Friedfeld recalled the incident in the The Hoya, the student newspaper of Georgetown University:

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.

...When we play along with a system that fuels this kind of desperation, we can’t be surprised when we’re touched by it. Maybe these two kids are caught, and this recent crime wave dies down, but it will return because the demand is still there, and the supply is still here. We have a lot, and plenty of opportunities to make even more. They have very little, and few opportunities to make ends meet.


According to the Washington City Paper, the nation's capital ranks fourth among major American cities in income inequality per a study by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute also found that the wealthiest five percent in Washington D.C. earn 50 times the income of the poorest 20 percent.

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Washington D.C. Mayor Vince Gray signed a bill earlier this year that will raise the city's minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $11.50 in 2016.

Sources: Washington City Paper, The Hoya / Image Credit: MPD01605