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Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Let's talk about race and Duke


Not this simple

Kathleen Parker, an especially odious person wrote the following

The two Duke indictments handed down late Monday - and a handful of inconvenient facts about race, sex and class in the South - have demolished some of our cherished stereotypes and busted the merchants of victimhood.

Ever since news surfaced last month about the alleged rape of an exotic dancer by three members of the Duke lacrosse team, we've been treated to the usual litany of laments from the usual suspects. So familiar is the script by now that most Americans could ad-lib without cue cards.

Where there's a female victim, there's usually a feminist spokesperson making the case against aggressive males. Where there's a black victim, there's usually a black reverend making a case against racism.

Enter the Rev. Jesse Jackson - who has been performing the same gig for so long, he's become a caricature of his caricature - trying to keep the memory of slavery alive.

"The history of white men and black women, and the special fantasies and exploitation, is old and ancient," said Jackson, commenting on the case. "The historical pattern of this behavior arouses so many fears and conjures up so many bad memories."

No one wishes to minimize the pain of slavery or the trauma of rape, whether at the hands of a 19th-century plantation owner or a modern-day lacrosse player, but let's be clear. The historical pattern of Jackson's behavior is what keeps those fears aroused and conjures up bad memories.

If Jackson were an honest dealer in the race card game, he'd have to mention that those ancient fears, though perhaps once justified, are no longer factually relevant. The U.S. Department of Justice's 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, which breaks down crime victims and perpetrators by race, indicates that the vast majority of violent crimes, including rape, are intra-racial. Blacks tend to attack blacks, and whites tend to attack whites.

There is no current trend of white men raping black women, in other words. In fact, though sample sizes are considered too small to draw any solid conclusions, the most recent figures show that among white rape victims, 15.5 percent of those rapes were perpetrated by blacks, while 0.0 percent of black victims were raped by white males. (Zero in this case is a rounded figure meaning that the total number of black women raped by white men is between 0 and half of 1 percent of the total.)


Uh, except for the racial slurs toss about by the party givers, Parker might have a point. But to pretend the woman hasn't been devalued because she was a black stripper is humorous. They haven't been describing her as veteran and single mom who stripped out of desperation.

People like Parker pander to racism, yet refuse to admit that they do so. They have little, to no clue, that every time they attack Jackson or Sharpton, that increases their effectiveness, because it only proves their point about people like her. Like so many conservatives, they think we need people to remind us that bad things happened in the past. Uh, racism is a personal experience. Not talking about it will not make it go away.

But I posted this because it so gloriously misses the point. Yes, what Jackson says is true, and drives some of the debate, but a small part. She also downplays class.

But, if you focus on race in this, you will miss a very large point.

The ONLY reason this is a story is that the woman wasn't a Duke student, wasn't a 19 year old girl and came from the community.

Because she was an outsider to Duke, she could go to the police.

If she had been a Duke student, regardless of color, the odds are high that the woman would have never contacted authorities, much less the DA. If you focus on race, and say they acted as a racist mob, you so miss the story here.

Because this is about gender and power more than race. I doubt the white residents of Durham are any happier with this.

Why wouldn't a Duke student have been inclined to report a rape? Social pressure. Her so-called friends would defend the guy, her RA would chime in, she'd worry if the guy would attack her again. It would be far, far easier to remain silent or transfer than to confront her attacker.

According to DOJ, most college rapes aren't reported. The entire system mitigates against it. I doubt anyone has left college in the last two decades without hearing one rape story, especially any woman on a residential campus. It is far easier for the Parkers of the world to talk about race, than the simple fact that according to DOJ, women are in a fairly high danger of being raped while in college.

This happens every day to women, and you don't even have to be in college.

Let's recall the OC Rape Case for a minute. Everyone white, and the boys who raped their friend filmed it. Their defense was a more aggressive version of what we've heard this week. They not only claimed the sex was consensual, but that the victim wanted to be a porn star. They ran around the community and followed the victim, they initmidated witnesses, they slandered the girl, a 16 year old girl's, character.

In short, they did every trick in under the sun to get this woman to drop the charges, and she didn't. It took two trials for a conviction. Now she's suing the lawyer and the families, as well she should.

I understand why black people feel it's about race, They feel if the races were reversed, they would have seen dead black men on lamposts. But to me, the ONLY reason this woman has a shot at justice is because she's a 27 year old mother, with community support. If she was a 19 year old Duke sophmore far from home, unless she was found dead, it would have never been a story.

Race is the siren here, but it isn't the story.

posted by Steve @ 2:40:00 PM

2:40:00 PM

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