The definition of a scapegoat is, "anyone who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency." Expediency means convenient or practical...being in the right place at the wrong time. Sociologists have documented that scapegoating "often occurs between groups when a society is plagued by long-term economic problems or when resources are scarce," This fact is so common throughout human history that "scapegoat theory" was developed as a way to understand conflicts between groups. And, unfortunately, it still holds true today.
The term scapegoat is biblical in its origin, coming from the Book of Leviticus. it is said that a goat was sent was sent into the desert carrying the sins of the community. The Hebrew term "azazel" translates into "sender away of sins." Originally, a scapegoat was a person or animal who absorbed the sins of others and carried them away for the person(s) who actually committed them. There are four different ways scapegoating takes place, or scapegoats are created.
1. One-on-one. This is where one person blames another for something they or someone else did. This is the most among children who will, traditionally, seek to avoid the shame of disappointing their parents and thus avoid the punishment that will follow, They will blame a sibling or friend for their misdeed.
2. One-on-group. This happens when a person blames a group for something that happened. This form of scapegoating most often "reflects racial, ethnic, religious, or anti-immigrant biases." We see this in the workplace, sports teams, and within our own communities.
3. One-on-one in groups. This occurs when a group of individuals blames someone else for a problem they didn't cause. This was the cause with Quigley, Jr. Another example might be when a black person gets promoted over a white person at work and all the whites feel that the black person was receiving preferential treatment because of his color.
4. Group-on-group. This often happens in gang "turf wars." it is also very common within political and economic groups (the classic us versus them). It can also "manifest itself across lines of race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin."
Scapegoating is prevalent today. We read about in the news all the time. It is becoming increasingly common in political circles for one group to blame another group for the ills of the entire country. No one ever wants to accept any blame for what happened.
I'm happy to say that we managed to get Little Quigley's problem taken care of. He's no longer being scapegoated by the bullies in his school. Quigley also knows that an "escape goat" is something that doesn't really exist. Unless you're riding one in an attempt to flee. In which case you're probably going to get caught anyway; goats aren't known for their for being speedy.