What Code8 Says About the Problem of Exclusion
The moral case for recognizing the problem with exclusion.
Author’s Note: If you’d like to see the opposite argument for this piece, check out the 2021 piece linked to at the end of this one.
People don't like to be excluded from things.
Anyone who's ever experienced this, which is pretty much everyone, knows this to be the case. They don't like to be told what they can and can't do within a reasonable level of options. Obviously, crime is something that most people prefer not to happen. Beyond that however, it becomes a problem when they are excluded from the simplest of things. Whether it's being able to go to a school dance, find someone to love, or even be able to find and maintain work along with many other parts of society. Any group which is excluded from these things is going to cause a problem for those who might otherwise want to participate. They see people who are allowed to do things they are not, and that creates resentment and anger among those being excluded.
In being excluded, they will seek to find ways to either create their own space to do these things or will try and force their way into the spaces where they're being excluded. Of course, trying to force your way into a place you're not allowed creates resentment and anger in the people who are being included. The excluded have ruined their ability to participate. They've had their ability to participate disrupted or removed. Which makes them feel excluded themselves. It also can reinforce the idea that the excluded are justified in being excluded. After all, those who have been included don't do such things. That must mean that the excluded are being excluded for justifiable reasons.
If you force the exclusion of people for long enough though, you end up creating an entirely new problem. You have an entire group of people who all have one thing in common, they feel excluded. This creates solidarity among the excluded and in doing so, you have the makings of a truly destructive force in society. A group who would be willing to do just about anything to maintain their survival. This gives them a reason to work outside the system they've been excluded from. To do things that the included won't. Simply because it's the opposite of what the included want. Which is part of where you get the problem of crime.
Code8 is at it's core about what happens when you exclude people from society. When you push a group of people out of society in order to maintain what you currently have. Connor is a great example of this. He wants to be part of the included. He wants to be the kind of person that's accepted by society. The problem is that by nature of who he is, he's being excluded. And that means he feels justified in living outside of the system. He feels that breaking the rules of the included is the only way he can achieve what he wants.
Sadly, this is in fact the case. There is no way for him to work within the system. Precisely because he is one of the excluded. Those who are included feel justified in leaving him out, and so there's no reason for him to do things their way. But of course, this doesn't lead anywhere good. People who are included have an interest in keeping him out, and they will work to stop him.
It's a vicious cycle for which there's only one way out, for society to include the excluded.
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