That is not a trick question.
Judith Levine and Erica Meiners pose that question as they consider a few recent documentaries, and other films, that attempt to, with varying degrees of success, humanize sex offenders.
Asking whether the sex offender is human only legitimizes the question and reinforces the doubt it arises from: if you have to ask, maybe the answer is no. And if one category of people can be less than fully human for their (real or imagined) bad acts, so can others—just ask the legions of young black men tarred as “superpredators” in the 1990s. As Trump takes office having risen to power by dehumanizing, criminalizing, and promising to seize the rights of broadening categories of Others, humanizing remains a necessary political step. But it’s not an end in itself. A movement for justice must start from the fundamental truth that everyone born in a human body is endowed with all human qualities and also with inalienable human rights—and move forward from there.
Read the full piece here.