The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

For about a week every year in my childhood, I was a member of one of America’s fading aristocracies. Sometimes around Christmas, more often on the Fourth of July, my family would take up residence…


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On groups

The Srebrenica anniversary is weighing on me. As is the article on lynching I read this morning. It’s like a grey filter over the world, overriding the green and blue and the warm blanket over my shoulder with the grime of dehumanisation. Why do people do these things is an almost meaningless question, right because they clearly do, and it keeps happening.

What remains clear, though, is that the second we start thinking of people as part of a group, and of that group as less than human, then we’re wavering on the age of the precipice. People are people. They can be mean, and gross, and sharp, and kind, and warm, and cold, but they are people, regardless of group. If a Phelps daughter can end up free of her family’s brainwashing through the friendships she made on Twitter, then anyone can.

And irregardless of whether someone is redeemable or not, that’s not the issue at hand. They’re still people. We don’t get to disclaim one group as not belonging to humanity. Not ever. We have to take the good with the bad, and treat everyone as human, because otherwise we’re nearly there again, staring inhumanity and the acts that come along with it in the face.

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