In the wake of Dharun Ravi’s sentencing for his role in Tyler Clementi’s suicide, not many seem concerned about the boy who ended up deadThe Shame of Dharun Ravi: The Boy Who Can't Say Sorry
Sandip Roy, writing for The Huffington Post, hits on some good points in the above article over the lamentations of the family of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student that was convicted of “bias intimidation” for his role filming Tyler Clementi’s encounter with another man. At Ravi’s sentencing, Ravi’s mother stated:
Ravi's tears came when his mother told the court how the last couple of years had been a living hell for him.How is this even remotely morally acceptable? Indeed, the Ravi family, including Dharun himself, have seemed at best, indifferent to the fact that their son contributed in a very major way to Tyler Clementi’s suicide. Perhaps that was born of the very justified outrage that Ravi could be sentenced to a decade in prison at the maximum. Perhaps there’s latent homophobia in the family, or perhaps it’s the cultural differences, as the Ravi family are immigrants. The ten year sentence was unacceptable for a kid being immature – 30 days seems fairly appropriate. A large block of prison time was never the answer – pranks that are just as bad happen on a daily basis, and while it was a mistake on Ravi’s part, it certainly shouldn’t cost him a decade of his life. Yet, the one thing we have not heard so much from Dharun Ravi is an apology for what he did – accepting accountability for his actions. Instead, we hear lame excuses as to why he shouldn’t say sorry:
His smile and bright eyes are gone, lamented his mother. For the past 20 months, Ravi, she said, had not gone anywhere to "even grab a sandwich." "He literally eats only one meal a day as he suppresses his hunger. He has lost more than 25 pounds going through his ordeal," she said tearfully.
One mother is mourning a dead son. The other mother ended her statement to the judge with this line
I am hoping and waiting to see Dharun eat as any 20-year-old would.
Ravi cannot find the words to apologize. However, he somehow found the words to explain why he did not apologize. "Anything I say now would sound rehearsed and empty and nothing I say is going to make people hate me any less," he told the Star Ledger newspaper. ""Whatever I say will never change the Clementi’s mind about me, or how people see me."The idea that Ravi is truly sorry doesn’t even cross his mind – the only concern that Dharun has is for how the public and the Clementi family see him – which shows how little he has learned from the incident, how little concern he has for others, and his own obsession with himself and his justification for his passively homophobic behavior. To see his team of lawyers appeal his 30 day jail sentence is almost a direct slap in the face to the Clementi family and LGBTQ Americans.
The bottom line is this – while a 10 year prison sentence, or all those felony convictions, are or would have been a complete overreaction, a 30 day jail term is not. And Ravi’s inability to apologize or show remorse for his behavior is just as unacceptable as that 10 year prison sentence. Shame on the Ravi family. Sandip Roy puts it best:
But Dharun Ravi, it's not about you. You don't apologize to change people's minds or how people see you. You apologize because something you did caused terrible damage, even if unintended, in someone else's life. You apologize for what you have done, for what has happened. A true apology comes without strings attached. And it has nothing to do with whether the Clementi family were as supportive of their son as they should have been.