What's Your Crime?
By Nora: @herjablife
What’s your crime?
Let’s face it we wake up, look at our phones, and read about all the negative things going on in the world. Hearing a positive story has become so rare it feels like a crime when you hear someone committing a good deed. Sometimes doing a good deed like speaking up or standing up for your rights is a crime. For example, Harriet Tubman, the woman on my hoodie in case you didn’t know, was considered a criminal for creating the underground railroad and trying to free slaves from the south. Society has associated the word crime with a negative perception. Sometimes because people are doing something unordinary or society is uncomfortable with it, it’s considered a crime. So that leads me to this question: Are all crimes bad?
The definition of a crime is “an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.” It’s up to an authority or a state to decide if someone had committed a crime or not. This word has been thrown around for centuries and has been used for people’s personal interest if they disagree with acts of an individual that doesn’t abide with their rules or the socially constructed values created. Usually when we think of the word crime, we think of robbery, murder, fraud, etc. But those are not the only actions of a crime.
For example, it was a crime for black students to drink from a water fountain that was designated only for white students. It was a crime when Rosa Parks didn’t sit in the back of the bus and decided that she is an equal individual and can sit wherever she wants regardless of her skin color. It is a crime when graffiti artists are tagging walls and trying to send a message. It was a crime when women drove a car in Saudi Arabia before the new law. It was a crime in the early 20th century for women to wear trousers. It is a crime for women to wear a face covering in France.
If Rosa Parks didn’t commit the crime of sitting in the front of the bus, we wouldn’t have had female leaders like her pave the way for the discussion of racial justice and one of the earliest acts of the Civil Rights Movement. If Luisa Capetillo wasn’t arrested for wearing trousers, women wouldn’t have taken the step of finally choosing what they can wear. If artists like Shepard Fairey didn’t risk getting arrested for posting posters and using the streets as an art gallery to portray issues like war and justice, people wouldn’t have known who he was and his message for society. These are just a few examples of people that have committed something considered provocative because it wasn’t part of the social norm. But sometimes these crimes have to be committed so they aren’t crimes anymore. Even though the word crime sounds negative, but these examples of crimes were the beginning of change of what was considered lawful and forbidden. Sometimes it takes a crime to make a change. So what’s your crime?