Othering By Bernie Goetz Analysis

1721 Words 7 Pages
An issue that has plagued society for centuries is the creation of “the other half” - a group of people that are considered below or of a lesser value than the rest of the population. “Othering,” refers to any action by which an individual or group is mentally classified in as not being “one of them” or “one of us.” While many factors contribute to why “othering” is still prevalent today, its consequences are extremely detrimental to society. The tone and words used to refer to individuals based on their ethnicity or color of their skin can have severe effects on its victims. Simple classifications like “those people” immediately degrades a group, putting them in a closed box of inferiority. In contrast to being mindful that every person …show more content…
Cruel behavior and the usage of vulgar insults and comments against others are subconsciously absorbed and in turn incorporated into a victim’s personality and vernacular. Each author describes the destructive effects of the use of derogatory language on those who are perceived as the others. In the story of “Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime by Malcolm Gladwell,” Goetz explains, “ The only way we 're going to clean up the streets is to get rid of the spics and niggers”(Gladwell 240). The use of this language shows that Goetz believed that the black youth were of an inferior class and they were the reason there was so much crime. This flawed mentality …show more content…
However, why is it that only Goetz reacted in this way? Gladwell explains Goetz, “Then there’s Goetz. He did something that is completely anomalous. White professionals do not, as a rule, shoot young black men on the subway. But if you look closely at who he was, he fits the stereotype of the kind of person who ends up in violent situations” (Gladwell 158). There certainly have been individuals who have the same flawed mentality; however, it is because of Goetz’s environment while growing up - being the focus of his father’s rage and always being teased by classmates- that he sees them as inferior and ultimately ended up in this violent situation. The catastrophic effects of the common use of demeaning language can also be seen in Susan Faludi 's “The Naked Citadel” through the hazing of the knobs, even though they were meant to do exactly the opposite. Faludi describes the effects of "othering" through hazing by explaining, “One former cadet said that he had withstood ‘continual abuse’ until he found himself thinking about jumping out

Related Documents

Related Topics