"Mike Nifong's handling of the case was clearly outrageous. But he would probably not have gone so far, indeed would not have dared to go so far, had he not been egged on by two other groups that rushed just as quickly to judge the three accused young men guilty of gross and racially motivated carnal violence. Despite the repeated attempts by the three to clear themselves, a substantial and vocal percentage--about one-fifth--of the Duke University arts and sciences faculty and nearly all of the mainstream print media in America quickly organized themselves into a hanging party. Throughout the spring of 2006 and indeed well into the late summer, Nifong had the nearly unanimous backing of this country's (and especially Duke's) intellectual elite as he explored his lurid theories of sexual predation and racist stonewalling."..."The metanarrative they came up with was three parts Mandingo and one part Josephine Baker: rich white plantation owners and their scions lusting after tawny-skinned beauties and concocting fantasies of their outsize sexual appetites so as to rape, abuse, and prostitute them with impunity. It mattered little that all three accused lacrosse players hailed from the Northeast, or that there have been few, if any, actual incidents of gang rapes of black women by wealthy white men during the last 40 years. Karla Holloway's online essay was replete with imagery derived from this lurid antebellum template. She described the accuser and her fellow stripper as "kneeling" in "service to" white male "presumption of privilege," and as "bodies available for taunt and tirade, whim and whisper" in "the subaltern spaces of university life and culture." On April 13, Wahneema Lubiano, a Duke literature professor, wrote in another online article, "I understand the impulse of those outraged and who see the alleged offenders as the exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus."
Saturday, January 20, 2007
The Weekly Standard's Charlotte Allen has written a must-read look back on the Hoax and those who enabled it. After an excellent overview of why no charges should have ever been brought, Ms. Allen focuses on the two groups whose active participation encouraged Defendant Nifong's malicious prosecution - the career victimologists and intellectual elite within Duke's faculty and their kindred spirits in the mainstream media.