Almost six years ago, the world saw privileged rebellion at its finest when the daughter of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani shoplifted from a major cosmetics store.
If you don’t remember this notable moment, then allow me to paint the picture. In August of 2010, Caroline Giuliani walked into a Sephora. While in the store, she stole over $100 worth of goods. Then the Harvard drama student was arrested. She was photographed in handcuffs by police wearing an NYU shirt and apparently had over $300 in cash on her, but all of that is beside the point.
Obviously, Caroline wanted to do everything she could to rebel against the privileged life she knew so well. Stealing when you have more than enough money to pay and wearing a shirt for a local private university that is ranked lower but possibly more expensive than your Ivy League alma mater are just two ways of telling the world I’m so privileged, I literally don’t know what to do.
And there it was. A simple story of good girl turned temporarily bad for the sake of youth angst.
However, the story doesn’t end there, for now her father is the one stepping out and exuding his privilege in the worst way possible.
Recently, Rudy Giuliani spoke with Fox News, saying a myriad of critiques against the Black Lives Matter movement. The climax of the interview occurred when he called the movement “inherently racist.” He’s also gone on record to say, “I believe I saved a lot more Black lives than Black Lives Matter. I don't see what Black Lives Matter is doing for Blacks other than isolating them.”
Now, I’m sure that even Caroline herself heard this and thought, ‘No, dad, no!’ But it was too late. He made his comments and now he has to live with the fact that he single-handedly demonstrated the national hypocrisy and privilege in this country.
Just like Caroline, Rudy is a privileged individual. Let’s remember that Giuliani was the one who originally proposed the “Broken Windows Theory”: a practice that basically argued that cracking down on minor crimes will keep a city safer.
However, his “Broken Windows Theory” really did nothing but unfairly target and criminalize poor people, Blacks and Hispanics. Looking back, it’s clear how such a theory would marginalize and disenfranchise areas with people of color. But Giuliani didn’t see that because he is privileged.
It’s really quite simple. The more privileged you are, the more difficult it is for you to empathize with people who are in worse situations than you. Caroline wasn’t worried about how a shoplifting criminal record was going to affect the rest of her life because she knew it wouldn’t. Because she knew she was privileged.
And now, Rudy Giuliani doesn’t care about how harmful his lack of understanding for the Black community is. His privilege blinds him from the idea that this country has systems put in place that make life unfair for Black people and now he has gone full crazy and said exactly what we all knew he’s been thinking all along.
Also, I wonder how tough he really was on Caroline for shoplifting, with his "Broken Windows Theory" and all.
Maybe Rudy and Caroline can attend a privilege awareness seminar together. Or maybe they can just stop and think for a moment before acting on the white privilege they’ve been brought up with.
(Photos from left: Louis Lanzano/AP Photo, Patricia Schlein/Star Max/GC Images)