Only Race Matters: A Duke Woman Speaks About A Disturbing Aspect of the University’s Response to the Lacrosse Scandal
“Any number of people with whom we spoke commented on how much better it would have been if a wider array of life histories and perspectives had been brought to bear on what were sensitive and highly charged issues. We agree, and we know that President Brodhead agrees.”
Duke women's lacrosse players, from left, Katie Chrest, Caroline Cryer, Michelle Menser, Leigh Jester, and Carolyn Davis celebrate a goal earlier this season. MSNBC
“I never believed the day would come when we’d see an educational institution so flagrantly stupid, so selfish, so conspicuously aloof. Evidently it’s Duke, supposedly one of America’s more honorable institutions of higher learning.”
“And what lesson has the women's team taken? They apparently have learned that pack behavior is a good thing. They are speaking as one, and are proclaiming the entire men's team, as one, to be innocent. Team unity trumps all.”.“By making such a public stand of unity before the facts come out, by saying so clearly that the accused is a liar, the women of Duke's lacrosse team won't make it any easier for other women to step forward. I can only hope that none of them will ever be in such a position -- where they may be a victim, want to step forward, but sense ultimately that it just isn't worth it.”
“These are stupid, spoiled little girls. It smacks of high school. Maybe one day when they’ll read about one of their friends who was raped. Then they’ll rethink this.” said Kathy Redmond (founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes).
Redmond goes on to say, “More than any other sport, there’s this mentality with women lacrosse players of, ‘We’re as tough as the men.’ It’s almost like a competition. It’s like they try to carry themselves with a masculine edge. They want to be looked at as being just as good as the men, yet they still look to the men for validation."
“They were athletes themselves, as well as "true fans." In a moment that called on more action than I had will for, I wanted to write to them to ask if they might, instead, consider writing the word "justice" onto their gear, a word whose connotations run deeper than the team-inspired and morally slender protestations of loyalty that brought the ethic from the field of play onto the field of legal and cultural and gendered battle as well.”
“Any attention we got for the wristbands paled in comparison to having the media staked outside of our practice and the girls' dorms. Of watching your friends be arrested; watching your fellow students not support fellow students; watching professors not support students." Comcast
“It’s something that frustrates and often baffles other young men, particularly those who’ve had girlfriends stolen by these guys.”
“This by no means constitutes a set of social norms as portrayed in the article. I attended Duke on financial aid and loans and thank the Lord that I had the chance to do so. To see it represented in the public spotlight in such a negative and inaccurate way is very painful and makes me wonder why so many people are going to such great lengths to portray the student body as foolish, rich, white, superficial, sexually promiscuous and shallowly insecure. I have tried not to take it personally but the attacks on duke students as a whole are so rampant and so untrue that I feel as though lies are being told in the national media about me and my classmates. I take that very personally.”
“I spent two hours with the Rolling Stone reporter when she was on campus. I agreed with her that some undergraduate women lead social lives that seem incompatible with their intelligence and ambition. We talked about why that happens, about how pleasing male peers becomes more important than staying true to one’s self. I talked about patriarchy, about effortless perfection, about the insidious nature of female socialization. I also told her – over and over and over again – that the social scene she was witnessing represented just one subculture at Duke, and that many Duke students would find it as unfamiliar as she did. Unfortunately, the reporter did not include that context in her article, which made it a one-sided piece, an incomplete and inaccurate portrayal of Duke.”
“By transferring their registration from other places, by enfranchising themselves in Durham, these students’ only intention is to oust District Attorney Mike Nifong. This selective intervention amounts to nothing so much as the deliberate act of closing ranks against Durham. What Duke students becoming Durham citizens does is displace the problem of racism from the lacrosse team and the university to Durham’s political system.”
One might have thought that the problem with Durham’s political system was a corrupt and unethical District Attorney making a mockery of the justice system and one might have thought that faculty members would have applauded Duke women for becoming politically active in their community to respond to this problem. Even more disturbing is that administrators and security officials actually prevented DSED from distributing voter registration materials in a parking lot outside the homecoming football game Sept. 30.
This event disturbs me on many levels. Did the Duke administration dislike the eyesore of students expressing their right to vote? Or, did they not like that DSED might register voters who would vote against Mike Nifong? Maybe instead they just wanted to stop the image these commendable young women doing more on behalf of their fellow students than the administration and faculty combined.
Alex Rosenberg’s Interpretation of the “Listening Ad”
The Group of 88 have offered a variety of interesting and at times bizarre explanations for the “listening ad.” This past week, Professor Lee Baker mumbled on the O’Reilly factor, “We presumed innocence…At least I did.” I still find it bizarre that faculty members believe signing the ad looks better if they thought the players were innocent. Even more bizarre, however, are the sexist and nonsensical explanations from philosophy oracle Alex Rosenberg. Here, I will have to defer to the comments of Professor Michael Gustafson, who described Rosenberg’s statement the best.
"Dr. Alex Rosenberg, for instance, apparently misread the ad. He signed it, according to...himself...in the New York Sun, because "...he was concerned with the prevalence of alcohol on campus and bothered by 'affluent kids violating the law to get exploited women to take their clothes off when they could get as much hookup as they wanted from rich and attractive Duke coeds.'' The ad does not speak to drinking, nor to Dr.
Rosenberg's apparent opinion of the sexual availability of Duke women. Dr. Rosenberg's statement does speak to Dr. Rosenberg, however."
I’m as baffled as Gustafson about Rosenberg’s answer. I’m also insulted as a former female student. Does he really see his female students as objects that provide as much sexual satisfaction as male students want? Perhaps Dr. Rosenberg should turn off “Animal House” (or something worse) and actually meet some Duke women.
Even if he was joking, I wonder if this professor has ever googled the word “coed.” The first site to appear is a porn site called “Coed Chicks” and, needless to say there are plenty of XXXs throughout the rest. Therefore, when this obvious insult is thrown down, where are the feminists and other faculty members running to the defense of their students?
We Want Apologies (Just Not For Women)
Apologies, retractions and explanations have certainly been demanded by the faculty for other reasons, race being the primary hot-button. One example is the immediate reprimand of Professor Baldwin, after he wrote an excellent guest column in The Chronicle and used the common phrase “tarred and feathered, ridden out of town on a rail” when he voiced his feelings toward faculty members who publicly denounced the lacrosse team.
The very next day, Women’s Studies Professor Robyn Wiegman wrote a letter to the editor reprimanding Baldwin’s use of the term “tarred and feathered” due to the fact that it’s the “language of lynching.” Not surprisingly, Wiegman did not give any facts or basis for her determination because it seems to have been formed in her own head. My own internet search failed to connect these terms, and wikipedia’s definition shows only colonial and frontier roots.
Perhaps Wiegman should spend more time thinking about how to help Duke women and less time inventing new ways to be racially sensitive. Unfortunately, I’m rather doubtful, as I see Wiegman has joined the Concerned Duke Faculty, after previously not signing the Group of 88 ‘Listening Ad.’ Perhaps she felt like she was missing out on something.
Women, You’re Just Not PC Enough To Praise
Regardless if these faculty members had the basis to ask for an apology, why do the slights against female students of Duke go unanswered? No professor wrote to support the Women’s Lacrosse team after they were vilified by the media. No faculty members sent letters to the editor of “Rolling Stone” to say that their depiction of Duke women was exaggerated and unfair. The Duke administration never apologized for their reprehensible actions to DSED (only sending noted truthteller John Burness to write a letter to the Chronicle claiming it was a misunderstanding). And no colleague confronted Professor Rosenberg for his insult of female students.
Even today, I find no articles or statements by Duke faculty members, including those “experts” in women’s issues, about the accomplishments and class shown by Duke female students during this ordeal. This makes me sad, as I am extremely proud to be associated by Duke affiliation with the Kerstin Kimels, Emily Wygods, Christiane Regelbrugges, and Kristin Butlers of the world. When people put “Duke” and “women” in a sentence, I want them to think of these heroes, not the dismissive insults and cartoonish views of Rolling Stone, Shadee Malaklou, Robyn Wiegman, and the rest of the English and Women’s Studies Departments.
Who do you think I want my daughter to grow up to be? Or is that a question only a “stupid, spoiled, little girl” would ask?