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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Peter Bradley

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Peter Bradley

Last Build Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 17:08:21 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

Racism 101 at Duke

Wed, 12 Apr 2006 17:08:21 -0600

The reaction from the media, local politicians, school officials and black race activists was swift and predictable. Duke President Richard Brodhead announced he is canceling the rest of the lacrosse season. The nationally ranked team will forfeit the rest of their games. Coach Mike Pressler resigned. DNA samples were taken from 46 of the 47 team members (the one black player was not required to give a sample). The Duke "Progressive Alliance" posted mug shots of the white players around campus with the headline "Please Come Forward." Students held a "Take Back the Night" rally and banged pots and pans outside the house of President Brodhead and the house where the attack allegedly took place. The players moved out of the house out of concern for their safety. Before the results of the DNA tests came back negative on Monday evening, most of the amateur detectives hyping the case had already convicted the whites. The general theme was that the alleged rapes represent "white skin privilege." "The issues here," said Chandra Y. Guinn, director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, "go far deeper than a single incident. There are pockets of white privilege on this campus ... ." "There's an embedded white supremacy here," said Travis Simons, a Duke divinity student. "For me, this is not simply a case of sexual violence or just a case of racism. It's a case of racialized sexual violence, meaning if it had been a white woman in that room, it would not have gone down the same way," claimed Mark Anthony Neal, an African Studies professor. "Last weekend was Duke's minority recruitment," said local resident Betty Greene. "What a welcome for minority students to walk into this story. I'm trying not to call it racial terrorism, but that's really what it is." Crying Wolf? Not mentioned in most of the articles, protests, teach-ins and "dialogue" about the incident was the possibility that it could be a Tawana Brawley-type hoax. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was "very confident" that the rape occurred but has yet to file any charges. Nifong, who is facing the voters in 21 days for election to his office, and who is contemplating a run for mayor in the heavily black city of Durham, had said he will pursue the case even if the DNA results come back negative. Yesterday, in a community forum at historically black North Carolina Central University, the school attended by the accuser, he said: "My presence here means this case is not going away." Lawyers for the players have stood firm throughout the ordeal. Attorney Joe Cheshire says the whites will be owed an apology after the specifics of the case come out. If he believed his clients were guilty he would most likely have tried to cut deals to reduce the sentence (the three whites face a minimum sentence of 16 to 20 years if convicted). Another defense attorney, Kerry Sutton, said that numerous e-mails written in the hours after the woman said she was attacked support the players' claims that nothing happened that night. Sutton believes the woman fabricated her claim and "quickly got in over her head with the story she's telling." Lawyers for the players also point to a 911 call that conveniently came in just minutes after the attack was said to have occurred. It came from a black woman who claimed someone at the party shouted racial slurs at her and a friend. Cheshire thinks the caller was the second stripper. She alternatively told police they were driving and walking past the house. The white players have maintained their innocence all along. The only public statement by the players read: "Any allegation that a sexual assault or rape occurred is totally and transparently false. The DNA results will demonstrate that these allegations are absolutely false." It has now been almost a month since the alleged attack. If the lacrosse players actually had witnessed a rape, it is likely that at least one among the 46 would have come forward by now, if only to cut a deal for himself. The DNA test results seem to conclusively prove tha[...]