“Making A Murderer” Is More Than a Compelling Whodunit; It’s An Incisive Portrait of American Social Class

Privilege is a special right, or advantage available only to a particular person or group of people. The term is commonly used in the context of social inequality, particularly in regard to social class,[1] race, age, sexual orientation, gender, and disability. Two common examples would be having access to a higher education and housing.

Probably like a lot of people who first start hearing about “privilege“, I initially resisted the idea.

While not quite as blind to the benefits that you get in our society simply because of your skin colour or education or socio-economic status as Saskatchewan’s Premier, I was still hesitant to admit quite how much advantage I had because of those things.

But it’s an ongoing process to understand this and sometimes insight can be found in the most unlikely places.

“Making A Murderer” is a documentary series on NetFlix that’s getting a huge amount of buzz right now.  In 1o one-hour episodes, it tells the story of Steven Avery, a working class man with a low IQ in rural Wisconsin, wrongly convicted of a sexual assault then exonerated after serving 18 years of his sentence. (And that’s just the first episode!)

Then, in a shocking twist, Avery is once again charged with a major crime, this one a homicide (conveniently, just as he’s looking to get a big settlement about his earlier false arrest), and the rest of the show becomes a True Life crime show detailing the investigation, trial and related events.

A lot of the buzz comes from viewers debating whether Avery is guilty of the murder or not (and if not, what may have actually happened.)

(Personally, I think Avery’s clearly innocent but am always skeptical of bias, even in a documentary, and realise I won’t have the same information that the jury had and/or that the filmmakers may have had an agenda.)

Beyond the back and forth “did he do it?” debates, I think what’s even more fascinating is the insight the show provides into the uphill battles that those without education or money or status or who simply don’t fit in with their local community can face when people in authority decide they don’t like you, that you’re beneath them and that they are (possibly) willing to do anything up to and including planting evidence against you with little risk to themselves of any repercussions.

Shea and I have probably never binge-watched any show like we just watched this one – ripping through all 10 episodes in a few short days. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend you check it out.

Reddit has a sub-Reddit for the show with tonnes more links and commentary.

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