Monday, February 05, 2007

Our Collective Voice - The Limits Of Social Theory

I am proud to be a liberal. I’m against the war. I'm for gays being allowed to get married because I think gays should have the same rights as straights. I want statehood for Washington, D.C. because I think that people living there should be represented in Congress like citizens in the rest of America. I want a system of healthcare for everyone in this country. And I believe that under the law we all have the presumption of innocence. Part of the definition of being liberal is being “open-minded." That goes double when considering the guilt or innocence of someone accused of a crime. I never thought I’d have to say that, but after following the Duke case for almost a year I do.

My problem with Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon started with a blog she wrote attacking LaShawn Barber for comparing the three Duke lacrosse defendants with the Scottsboro Boys. She wrote:

“[T]he concept of racism has been reduced to intention instead of a systematic societal problem, [so] people like Barber can get away with equating people who are loaded with privilege with victims of a racist system like the Scottsboro Boys. And that’s why it’s so damn frustrating when white liberals insist on making racism about someone’s intentions instead of the effects of their actions.”

Everyone carries around social theories in their heads. It’s a kind of shorthand everyone uses to make sense of what they experience. At some point in my upbringing, before I actually knew what a social theory was, I had decided that facts trumped theory when dealing with specifics. It seems like Marcotte missed that.

I remember as a child from New Jersey in the early sixties visiting my grandparents in Mississippi. We were in a big park in Jackson, the state capitol. I was running around working up a sweat and needed a drink. I saw a huge line at one water fountain so I went over to another fountain where there was no line. You can guess. I had used the "Coloreds Only" water fountain. My grandmother was mortified. She tried to explain to me the terrible thing I had done. I said, "It's the same water, isn't it?" She had no answer. My grandmother's social theory had lost out to my thirst.

Marcotte, apparently, has come to a theory of racism that would not allow for the comparison of the Scottsboro Boys case with the current case because African Americans are systematically oppressed and the well-to-do defendants in the Duke case aren’t. But there were comparisons to be made between the two cases. I sent an email to her to point out that the accuser had embroidered her false story with racist elements. And the DA, Mike Nifong, had knowingly used claims that the men had committed a racist hate crime when he knew (as we now know) that no rape had occurred, pandering to the anger of a constituency he needed in order to win the May primary.

I went to her website the next morning. She had announced proudly that she was throwing away emails about the Duke case as soon as she realized that they were favorable to the accused. I guessed that was an acknowledgement of my email. A little more poking around found another post, presuming the players’ guilt (the infamous “waiting in the airport“ piece). It was clear that she had made up her mind about the case and had done it without any facts.

She had made broad, presumptuous statements about the players based on… her social theories. There was a blog entry, about the O.J. Simpson case, but her regulars there were commenting on the Duke case as well. I made a few posts as did “Emmy,” another regular on the Liestoppers Board. Our posts, not in any way rude or inappropriate for the discussion, were immediately deleted while original posts that misstated the evidence in the Duke case remained. In short, Marcotte wanted to preserve the theoretical purity of her clubhouse, facts be damned.

The irony of this incident, along with the posturing of the Group of 88 and others, is that this case could have been a lesson in how racism works. How Mike Nifong used racially charged images that went back to the antebellum South to inflame African American voters in Durham is the very same mechanism of fear and hate used by David Duke. The accuser’s lies about the racialist atmosphere in her false rape story are the same kind of lies that got many a black man lynched in our country’s sordid past. Let’s not forget the angry demonstrators demanding “Castration” in the first weeks of this case, or that Victoria Peterson, a “community leader” and political ally of Nifong, was openly calling on protesters to burn down the lacrosse players’ house.

When Marcotte says, “it’s so damn frustrating when white liberals insist on making racism about someone’s intentions instead of the effects of their actions,” how she can pretend to speak about a case she clearly has no knowledge of? She presumes intentions of the defendants based on demonstrated lies that not even the accuser is standing behind anymore, and yet seems not to understand the effects of this false prosecution, or her continuing trumpeting of it.

We are almost a year into this fraud. Anyone following this case with an open mind knows that no gang rape occurred and that the charges are false. Nifong, recused, is facing charges by the State Bar (their amended letter containing almost three hundred examples of his violations). The public now knows enough of the accuser’s history of mental illness, criminality, drug abuse and her work in the sex trade to understand how this woman may have thought she could get away with telling the story she invented. It’s painfully true that men have used what has been described as the “nuts and sluts” defense (either a rape victim wanted the sex or she is crazy) when trying to counter a rape charge. But in the instant case we have a woman with a demonstrated history of severe mental illness. She was hospitalized for it for a week in 2005. We know of her wild and unsubstantiated story of the “Creedmoor gang rape.” We’ve heard about her accusing her husband of attempting to murder her, a!gain unsubstantiated. Two sources (The New York Times and “Sixty Minutes“) report that she is bi-polar and the latter reports she is prescribed strong medicines to control her manic behavior. We know about her bizarre behavior the night she stole a taxicab from a strip club and tried to drive over a policeman when she was cornered. Glimpses into her medical records show a history of drug abuse. She admitted to police she misused a prescribed muscle relaxer with alcohol on the night of the alleged rape. We know she only claimed rape that night when she was about to be involuntarily locked up in the local drunk tank.Anyone following the case with an open mind knows that she lied about the gang rape itself. There is no physical evidence that anyone at that party raped her, there is no witness to any rape, all probative evidence disproves a rape occurring, and the accuser has contradicted herself too many times to be believable, much less be the only source on which the charges are based.

But Marcotte has apparently insulated herself from all this as witnessed by her “waiting in the airport“ blog entry.

Marcotte also seems incapable of seeing the damage that this case will cause race relations, or how future rape victims’ credibility will have to overcome the image of Precious lying to the police. Or even how this case will probably fiscally impact the residents of the City of Durham.

Marcotte has constructed a social theory of race, class and gender which she refuses to allow to be in harmony with the facts of this case. I doubt that she could actually discuss the case intelligently, which is why she won’t and why she censors opposing views on her blog. One way to avoid appearing ignorant is not talking about what you don’t know. Another way is to know the facts. Marcotte chose neither.

Racism may be a system in Amanda’s world view, but it is also a series of individual actions and intentions. One may graph out racism, but it helps to identify the dots. And it does nothing to argue against racism while recirculating the racist lies told about the defendants in the Duke case. Trying to smugly reinflate this case or in any way use it to advance the cause of equality and fight racism is just not going to serve those purposes. Since I actually care about these things I can only hope that Amanda will do the right thing and open her eyes.
Bob in Pacifica


Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath waiting for that, Bob. This Amanda person is not interested in knowing the truth.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post - hit the nail (Marcotte) right on the head. Thanks Bob.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work Bob. Hope you send this to Jeralyn Merrit at TL. Maybe she can pass it along to her buddy Amanda. And also, please email it to the Edwards camp.

Mandy's got some 'splainin to do!

Howard said...

Marcotte also seems incapable of seeing the damage that this case will cause race relations, Race relations are already as bad as they can be. The most bigoted people are Blacks, and they are bigoted against white people.

or how future rape victims’ credibility will have to overcome the image of Precious lying to the police. unfortunately there have been far too many cases of women lying to police about rape, about racist attacks, even defacing their own property so as to "prove" their lies. Every sob story by a woman is suspect and has been for some time.

Or even how this case will probably fiscally impact the residents of the City of Durham. Let's all hope so, and not only the "people of Durham," let's hope the people at Duke will pay and pay and pay; not to mention some of the disgraceful reporters, especially those at PC ESPN.

Last, Marcotte is simply a representitive Black who just happens to have a blog and some clout. If you lived in LA, New York, Chicago or any one of a dozen other cities you'd know that.

Anonymous said...

Amanda Marcotte (according to her own bio) grew up in the small West Texas town of Alpine. There are almost no Blacks in Alpine, if any.

Marcotte may have spent some time in Austin, Texas, but her core values were developed in a dusty, small community with potentially a narrow view of the challenges faced by different groups in America coming to terms with one another, peacefully.

I imagine that Marcotte's world view was formed around her fantasies. She needs to grow up. Who but an immature clown would feel the need to use the "F" word in practically every sentence.

Marcotte is a bad hire for John Edwards... and she will be dismissed.

JorgXMcKie said...

I have just about given up on all of those who spout the 'racist, sexist, elitist' line. They're invulnerable to logic, fact, data, or proof.

My wife, who took a couple of graduate seminars in Women's Studies has totally abandoned calling herself a feminist (she's damn near the perfect model of a strong, free-willed woman) due to the behaviors of such as Marcotte.

I also find that too, too many of my students appear to have bought into this line in hopes of getting things without working for them. It's so sad to think of all the blood and effort that went into getting opportunity being wasted as it seems to be.

Cedarford said...

Bob - I am proud to be a liberal. I’m against the war. I'm for gays being allowed to get married ...I want statehood for Washington, D.C. because I think that people living there should be represented in Congress like citizens in the rest of America.

Sounds good until the last, which is the lame liberal kow-tow to "angry blacks" and cynical liberals that want permanent black Democratic Senators from one dysfunctional inner city and thus open America up to tribalism and a breakup of American States into smaller states, each with at least 1 Congressman and Senator.

If a parasitic inner city deserves its own 2 Senators, why not all? Why not Statehood for Detroit, Hartford, Oakland, Camden NJ? NOLA?

And if every patch of 500,000 people in America like DC or even non-parasitical - deserves 2 Senators, California gets to go to 68 Senators, of laudable diversity and MultiCulti, no doubt.

Even brainless rightwing Libertarians are somewhat sympathetic to the black power structure of DC, yammering about the Holy Founders and "Taxation without representation". But if that was true, DC would be like Connecticut and New Hampshire screwed and getting only 60 cents back on each tax dollar they send to the Imperial City. Instead, DC exceeds even the golden hand of largess that Robert Byrd gives W Virginia, 2.38 return on taxes paid. The parasites of DC get 6.41 dollars of Federal spending per dollar of taxes paid to the Feds.

The solution is not DC statehood and the remainder of States unravelling like the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia did to get to 300 states with 600 Senators to maintain power balances. It is for Maryland to take DC away from the "Home Rule" black municipal leaders and the 2 Congressional Committees that lavishly fund it. Account for DC in the Maryland census, let DC be represented like Baltimore is by MD Senators and delegation.

The problem is Maryland doesn't want it's swampland and the parasites that now live there, back.

Neither does Virginia wish to cross the Potomac and add lands. Taking DC would be a bigger disaster for them than the last time Virginia crossed the river.

As for gay marriage, I don't care much one way or the other but my not so minor quibble is about it being imposed and shoved down our throats. I'm for The People deciding on wether to revolutionize a core cultural institution or not, not elitist lawyers pretenting their black robe gear makes them High Priests of our morals and values as well as our laws.

Anonymous said...

Character, it speaks volumes about Marcotte. What we liberals, middle of the roaders, and conservatives have learned from this case is that the truth has no party.

Nice article Bob in Pacifica

Anonymous said...

I wandered into the Pandogen site by accident via DIW. Amanda took my post, although I was very critical of her language, views, poor writings and the "software" excuse. The regulars wanted to hang me in a public square and deleted - I think we are more tolerant of different opinions on this site. reading the posts was fun as they are so laughable. Really got mad when I said Ben D. wrote better than her. She is a coward and kept referring to her breaking a rule she did not know about. I think that was in referance to her scrubbing her posts. Good for a few laughs.

Anonymous said...

I posted today on her comment on Edwards' site about taking the job. I quoted one of her rants from Jan. 21 asserting a sexual assault occurred. I'll be interested to see if she'll get around to responding or deleting the comment.

Cedarford: I agree with you on Senate reps for D.C. and on statehood. But merging D.C. with Maryland or Virginia presnts a problem with Federal control over the district, besides the obvious fact that none of the three jurisdictions want that to happen. There ought to be voting representatives in the House, though, proportional to population. Outside of the desire to avoid having more Democrats in the House I find it hard to justify the current representation (non-voting single representative).

Anonymous said...

If not for Republicans, the "colored" water fountains might still be operational.
Gosh Bob, you forgot to tell us where you stand on abortion, capital punishment, prayer in public schools, keeping Christ in Christmas and allowing Nativity Scene set-ups in the Town Square, (possibly even on gov't property!), closer scrutiny of young male Muslims at airports, and tax cuts for the people who already pay 80% of all taxes. We are in agreement, however, about the miscarriage of justice that has gone on in Durham these last eleven months.

Gregory said...

BinP, Your best yet!!!

Did you get around to offering her the classic "BinP Challenge," one, just one piece of credible evidence of a rape or sexual assault or kidnapping?

Blog on, brother Bob!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!! Go Bob!

Anonymous said...

TO BOB from Sweetmick:
So, you're proud to be a liberal. You mean liberal, as in supporting and rationalizing the Soviet Union and the Gulags, the murdering of millions, the crushing of the freedom fighters in Hungary? You mean proud to be a liberal as in rooting for the Viet Cong to win?As in cheering on liberals Hanoi Jane and Tom Hayden and Angela Davis as they received accolades and awards from the most murderous communist countries, honoring them for their support? You mean liberal, as in the great conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein and his liberal cognoscenti who "got off" by throwing lavish New York parties for the Black Panthers and the BLA, whose members were merely murdering our policeman.
Bob in Pacifica, you are a worthless piece of horse manure. This blog is NOT about liberals or the war.... and it's NOT about YOU. Next you'll be telling us about liberal Ted Kennedy's heroic attempt to save Mary Jo.

Anonymous said...



His article didn't have any of that tired and canned nonsense you just spouted. I assume you learned reading comprehension in school?

Next time, try commenting on the topic at hand.

Anonymous said...

The point of owning the dreaded "L" word Rush, I mean Sweetmick, is that not only right wingnuts support the defendants and recognize this case as a hoax. Your definition of liberal doesn't fit any rational view of the term but if it makes you feel better, hold onto it.

Anonymous said...

Sweetmick says: What's tired and canned and spouted is this claptrap that, "I'm a liberal, against the war, for gays, for presumption of innocence..." Wow, what a good, moral person you must be....therefor, whatever you say following that must certainly be gospel. Can the crap, is my point. Glad you got it. Stick to the Duke Lacrosse case or go post on Kos.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought it was Excellent!

Excellent. I agree Amanda is probably not interested in the truth, but she still should be shown her errors and ignorance.


Anonymous said...

Bob, I'll start with my own credentials. I cast my first presidential vote for Richard Nixon and I am to the right of you on perhaps 90% of your politics. You are one of the most eloquent writers on this hoax and you prove this injustice transcends politics. Keep writing, everyone else lightenup. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sweetmick says: In the spirit of lightening things up, consider these antagonists:
Mike Nifong, Liberal Democrat
Bob Ashley, Liberal Democrat
Melanie Sill, Liberal Democrat
Ruth Sheehan, Liberal Democrat
Linda Williams, Liberal Democrat
Gov. Easley, Liberal Democrat
Victoria Peterson, Liberal Democrat
Cash Michaels, Liberal Democrat
Holloway, Orin Starn, Peter Wood, Lubiano, Liberal Democrats
Ted Williams, that doofus lawyer on Fox, Liberal Democrat
Wendy Murphy, Liberal Democrat
Nancy Grace, Mental Case
See any connection, Bob in Pacifica?

Anonymous said...

Chris says:

Stefanie Williams: wrote the Duke article in her UMD newspaper that was a huge success--liberal registered democrat.

Just because the talking heads of this case were idiots and happen to be liberal doesn't mean all liberals feel that way. Get over yourself, go blow up some abortion clinics.

Unknown said...

It's obvious that Bob mentioned his liberal views to counter Sweetmick's list and show that not all liberals are idiots who buy into the "victim"'s story.

Anonymous said...

I agree w cedarford- then why couldn't I demand 2 senators from my block ! seems just as reasonable to 2 enators from DC - another arbitrary boundry

Anonymous said...

As much as I rail against liberals, I don't think this is fair. "Liberal" at one point meant supporting personal freedom while acknowledging personal responsibility. It seems now "liberal" just means emotional, hysterical, and shrill.

I hope this opens some people's eyes. Maybe a new political party can even emerge from this. People like Marcotte are going to make 'democrat' become a 4 letter word.

Anonymous said...

5:01 anon,
I don't follow your logic there. Are there 500,000+ people on your block who have no voting representative in either the House or Senate? I agree with no Senators but there should be full congressional representation.

D.C. is more than just a territory, like Puerto Rico.

Anonymous said...


Today's useless trivia is that Alexandria VA was part of the federal district from 1790 and the founding of Washington until 1846 when it was given back to Virginia.

Anonymous said...

When people become government employees they should lose all rights of citizenship!

Anonymous said...

3:22 Love this board. My first vote was for Jack Kennedy. As this case turned, I have moved from a liberal Democrat to a Rudy G, Democrat. The left wing Stalinist and racial hatred has shocked me.