Which kids are worthy of mercy?
The children of the privileged aren’t the only young people who deserve the benefit of the doubt, said Adam Serwer. Conservatives were outraged when Harvard University rescinded the admission of gun rights activist and Parkland shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv for racist comments he made at age 16. Many argued that Kashuv deserved the chance to grow into a better person. Perhaps, but their “ideal of charity” should not end there. The same pundits enraged by Harvard’s decision have justified the killings of unarmed black youths. Did 12-year-old Tamir Rice, shot by police because he was holding a toy gun, deserve the death penalty? America has long been unforgiving of the young and marginalized. More than a dozen states have no floor on the age children can be tried as adults, with more than 100,000 children imprisoned alongside adults every year. The Trump administration, meanwhile, is holding thousands of migrant kids in deplorable conditions and has rescinded protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Do those kids not also deserve a chance? “The children America throws away are no less children than the ones it deems worthy of protection.”