Thursday, January 7, 2016

Passive voice = the worst kind of victimization...


Here's what a well meaning and passionate advocate for students wrote in October 2015 (emphasis mine):

"Growing up, Cameron Simmons endured a gauntlet of school suspensions, expulsions, and arrests that could have easily condemned him to a life behind bars or even to an early violent death--the present lot of many of his childhood friends. But things turned around for Cameron in the 12th grade, when he found himself at the doorstep of a restorative justice school in West Oakland."

The passive voice is being used for effect, granted. The author wants us to see Mr. Simmons as a victim of at best a failed system, at worse of systemic oppression. She has an important message and I am elated for Mr. Simmons and the empowerment he found through RJ processes. By all accounts in the article, he has found the kind of agency that he was denied, at least rhetorically, in the paragraph above.

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