Harvard Case Study On Deviance

Decent Essays

Deviance is not an event. It is a process that involves multiple levels of disapproval in the society, which has been proved to be biased against certain groups of people. Deviance isn't just a matter of actions, but our identity. Everyone commits crime, but not all obtain the identity as deviant. The process of acquiring that status involves exclusion of others, and the attribution of stigma, as illustrated in Goffman's study. Visible and perceivable stigma leads to spoiled identity, where people acquire through interactions with others. We become deviant through membership in different groups as they produce deviance by participating the 'rituals' of inclusion and exclusion. Its complexity continued to elude our attention, as we had constantly …show more content…

The tragedy showcased in the Harvard case presented a perfect illustration of this statement. Harvard student Sinedu Tadesse, a junior from Ethiopia, stabbed her roommate Trang Ho, a Vietnamese junior, forty five times in 1995. This grave news received a wide range of media coverage; the severity and the mysteries of this case caught national attention, and it questioned the role in which Harvard University had played. The report publicized the horrendous psychological pain Sinedu undergo, signified the individual moral failure that the public has assigned to the deviants. The report also implied the influence of Buddhism, suggested that Sinedu was thought to be possessed by demonic spirits, and Trang being perfected and ready to move on to "the Pure Land". It also brought in another perspective, the responsibility that Harvard kept on avoiding. This story revealed Harvard as an institution that was not well equipped to deal with mental illness on campus, that it cared more for its reputation than its students' health. These problems and evaluations were only made after this murder, because we only discuss our perceived collective value with each other when the perceived borderline drawn by the society has been crossed. With our lack of knowledge and information, public looks for "a villain", a role that Harvard University does not want to be associated with. This is …show more content…

Harvard University has a great reputation for both their academic standings and student's morality. Their fear for the reputation generated their ignorance and avoidance to these matters. Around that same year, two recent graduates pled guilty to stealing money from a Harvard-based cancer charity; one prospective student's acceptance was rescinded because she killed her own mother. These events can all potentially damage the school's great reputation, and they are reluctant to talk about these issues, as shown in the report. The social elites, those that have high academic success, defined morality in their own terms, associated with students' academic standings, as Sinedu's application to a certain class was denied because she wasn't good enough, which was a rejection she did not take well with; groups that are powerless received less help, attention from other social groups and received less help. In this case, Sinedu's status as a foreign student or "third world" student, as used in this article, could attribute to her lack of resources and the ability to access

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