Saturday, January 20, 2007

Duke's Tenured Vigilantes

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.
"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."

For discussion of "Duke's Tenured Vigilantes," click here to visit the LS Forum


Anonymous said...

The Duke 88 don't care if the rape happened or not. Evidence and facts are just tools of the power elites to opress and exploit. They will hunker down and fight to the last breath because this case has morphed from the perfect case study of dominant privilege to a nightmare scenario for them. Now they will have to defend their world of language, construct and context against the very real world of fact and evidence. They did not protest the treatment of the accused because they don't care about them other than as symbols of a larger struggle.
Ordinary people should be very afraid of these otherwise ineffectual snobs. They would gladly imprison these three boys or any other convenient symbols to jusify their point. The trial should not be the Duke Three but the Duke 88.

Anonymous said...

I think we will see trials for at least some of them; Kim Curtis' being the first of what I hope will be many.

I'd trade Duke/UNC basketball tickets (if I had them)to sit in on the depositions!

Anonymous said...

I think this case demonstrates that we can no longer tolerate the pseudo profs that we have supported for the last forty years in the name of political correctness. I'm talking those who are graduates of such non-fields as "feminist studies," "black studies," and similar.

Typically these subjects are no more academic than a religious cult is, being the constant repetition of a small segment of the world's opinion totally unsupported by evidence or any fact based research.

For decades we have bought off on this as a sop to people who have played the "I'm a victim" or the "I'm the legacy of a victim" game, and we clearly have served these people no better than we've served ourselves by going along with this decades long sham.

These departments were originally created as a sop to the academically unqualified to artificially raise the number of people who could be admitted above what would have been had reasonably stringent admissions criteria been used. That was bad enough.

Then, having actually graduated people with major's in these nonsense fields, we felt compelled to hire them back...turning the whole process into sort of a self-licking ice cream cone.

But as we see, we have simply created a subset of out faculty that lacks any semblance of academic rigor, and passes their ineptitude off to future generations.

Time has come to say enough, and cease funding this claptrap.

Anonymous said...

The January 20 issue of the Baltimore Sun contains an article stating that the LAX team parents are angry at Duke for not speaking out more aggressively on behalf of the players. The article contains the following comment from Duke law professor James Coleman:

BEGIN SUN ARTICLE: Duke law professor James Coleman Jr., who led a university review of the lacrosse program, said that he is sympathetic but that parents and alumni might not realize what Duke was up against.

"It is much more complicated than the families appreciate," Coleman said.

He said the bitterness is "understandable."

"I can't imagine I would not feel the same," he said. "But I feel it's somewhat misdirected."

Coleman suggested that the parents' anger might be better directed at Nifong.

"The question is, what was the obligation of the university when a district attorney is saying a gang rape occurred?" Coleman said. "He basically invited the public to condemn the whole team. I just think the university was in a difficult sort of place and had to be very careful and very measured." END SUN ARTICLE

As usual, his comments are right on target. In hundreds of prior posts and comments, K.C. Johnson and others have cited Professor Coleman as being a person of great courage and intelligence and have cited his comments about the LAX case as support for their own positions on the case. In fact, numerous commenters have stated that the trustees should make Coleman the next president of Duke. Now Professor Coleman has made some statements which basically state that President Brodhead and the Duke Administration did the right thing in not speaking out aggressively on behalf of the players because the entire situation was much more complicated than the families appreciate. So I guess the question that arises now is whether K.C. Johnson and the LAX team parents will show the same respect for this newest comment by Professor Coleman that they have shown to his prior comments about the case, or will they just blow him off now that his comments do not correspond to their own biased view of the case.

Anonymous said...

I greatly respect Professor Coleman's understanding of the law, especially as it relates to DA Liefong's handling of this case. However, the Duke University Office of Student Affairs sat on a critical piece of information for 8 days prior to informing the president of Duke. Why ? The Office of Student Affairs was initially led to believe that the alleged incident would involve at worst misdemeanor charges (thus they were not too concerned about the incident). By the time the Office of Student Affairs realized this was not the case DA Nifong had already gained the favor and support of the national media. Had the Office of Student Affairs communicated the initial information to the president of Duke right away it is reasonable to conclude that the course of events would have taken an entirely different path from the onset. Once the criminal case is resolved for the 3 accused I believe the 3 accused and their families have a viable lawsuit against Duke University for negligence. Obviously it serves no beneficial purpose for the accused and their families to sue Duke right now. If Duke had to pay a female field kicker approx 2 million dollars for sexual discrimination I think the families I have a really good chance of winning their suit.

Anonymous said...

WOW - thats writing. Excellent piece.

clazy said...

Allen has provided just the right frame to see how wondrously self-indulgent Holloway's language--indeed, her entire relationship to this affair--is. I read phrases such as "bodies available for taunt and tirade, whim and whisper" in "the subaltern spaces of university life and culture", and I can almost feel Holloway's excitement as she tastes the words on her tongue and taps away at her keyboard. She's like a lonely man in whom the glimpse of a girl has swollen to a pornographic fantasy. Too bad she didn't keep it to herself.

Anonymous said...

Karla Holloway is a tragic figure. She adopts a child (a kind thing). The child grows up to be a multiple rapist and murderer. The woman feels bitter and discouraged and shamed and guilty, even though she may have tried hard to be a good parent.

Enter the Duke rape allegation case.

Now the pent-up shame and guilt explodes into an externalization-fest: her child was guilty, ergo these kids must be guilty.

Clearly she should not have been involved with the alleged Duke rape at all. She was at as high a risk of being biased as anybody on the face of the earth. By finally resigning, she did the HONORABLE thing.

I am bothered by the vast dissemination of the letter that a Duke mother privately sent to Karla Holloway. While the case against the players was a repugnant travesty of justice, let us remember that two wrongs never make a right. Let us be honorable in all we do, regardless of how the other side comports itself.

I hope the time will come when, in a case such as this one, whites are the first to throw the book at white kids guilty of chronically impolite conduct around the neighborhood, and blacks are the first to question the words of a seriously questionable black accuser who has a history of driving a stolen car and almost running over the policeman who tried to arrest her.
This would be the recipe for cleaning up the act on both sides in a hurry.
Karla might consider dealing with her despair by trying to help her son's victims and help the community heal. She showed heart by trying to help a little orphan boy. She could be an asset now, helping the community accept the innocence of those three innocent boys.

Bill said...

"So I guess the question that arises now is whether K.C. Johnson and the LAX team parents will show the same respect for this newest comment by Professor Coleman that they have shown to his prior comments about the case, or will they just blow him off now that his comments do not correspond to their own biased view of the case."

Well there are things Broadhead did that were "locked in" the minute the indictments went in. One example is suspending the students. Though it didn't come off as a "good" thing, if I were the students' adviser, I would be telling them to withdraw from the university ASAP so that they could focus on their defense. Also given the misconduct of the 88/7, I would definitely be telling them to stay clear of the university since the faculty cannot be trusted to treat them fairly.

That said, Broadhead SHOULD be taken to task for not standing up to the 88 (who DID raise students his Duke to undue calumny), as well as tacitly implying the students possible guilt in the face of rapidly fleeting evidence. Broadhead himself is walking a tightrope between rogue unchecked (and uncheckable) faculty who will be there LONG after the Duke 3 are history and what is right, but since he is THE campus leadership, he should be held to a higher standard.

I like Coleman, but I think his blanket defense of Broadhead is misplaced. Then again. Broadhead IS his boss. I suspect that he may be needing to hold his tongue in some areas.

Anonymous said...

The LAX players were "lusting after tawny-skinned beauties"? Well, if that was somebody's "metanarrative," then that person must never have seen the two black strippers who actually showed up at the LAX party. They were certainly no beauties, and from the photos of the party, it didn't appear that any of the LAX players were "lusting after" them -- laughing at them, disgusted by them, yes, but "lusting after" those two skanks -- no way.

GPrestonian said...

Great article, but I hate it when they get the simple ones wrong:

"(a primary that he won handily, as well as the election itself), .."

He won neither 'handily'.

TC said...

Fark Tenure!

If duke had any sort of backbone, they now have the opportunity to come out against such!

But they won't, There is no backbone residing in any position there, I suspect!