Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Rich White Boys, Liberal Profesors, and the Media

In the past few weeks, the Duke University Men’s Lacrosse has been under fire for allegedly raping a stripper at a team party. The allegations have (as yet) no proof – the only evidence is that the allegation of rape exists. (On Tuesday, Durham area police released findings that there is no DNA evidence supporting the stripper’s claim.)

Rather than stand behind their students, several Duke professors have very openly assumed that the team was guilty and berated them in the news for their actions. The team’s season has been cancelled, their coach has resigned, and the players have been alienated by much of the university community. The national media has taken to this story like Ted Kennedy to scotch and now everyone in America knows that these boys must be guilty.

The last time that I checked, judges and juries declare people guilty, and only after that guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless there is some evidence that has yet to exposed, the players are innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is an interesting occasion to bring forward an interesting view on rape:

“In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give consent.” – Catharine MacKinnon (author of “Sexual Harassment of Working Women”)

However, it seems the Dukies didn’t even have sex with her, so, even MacKinnon cannot allege rape here, yes? Well, perhaps, as Daphne Patai (author of “Heterophobia”) said on the subject of being accused of sexual harassment in the workplace: “I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. ‘How do I see women?’ ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’ ‘Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?’ Those are good questions.”

This story is about more than just a bunch of rich white lacrosse players being accused of rape by a stripper. Three strippers were brought to the party – none of the stories they have told to reporters about the night line up – but all of the strippers are African-American. (The only black player on the Duke team is the goalie – the other 46 players are white.)

In summary, a black stripper accused a handful of rich white lacrosse playing college students of rape. Rather than wait for any evidence, the media, the Duke community, and many others assumed guilt. Clearly this situation has a great deal to do with "racial issues," however, the issue is the media taking what seems to me to be a fairly racist stand against a group of white people.

(Note: I am not in favor of the practice of inviting strippers to a party where drinking is taking place – I’m not defending that decision. I’m not even saying that the players are innocent of rape – only that the evidence seems to be pointing in that direction.)

Another opinion on the subject from a similar perspective

A good run-down of what is proven and what is unproven on this story

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great article and the one thing i cannot get past is: Why does race even matter? the issue here is a women claimed she was raped. take the claim seriously and if nothing comes out of it (not guilty verdict) then thats the end of it. Why must everything be based on race in this country? im sick of it. Jason Whitlock wrote a great article on the topic, he tries to get everyone to notice that race is not the most important factor, read more here