Friday, January 05, 2007

Apologia for a Disaster

Today’s N&O features an impassioned apologia for the Group of 88 from one of its most temperate and reputable members, English professor Cathy Davidson. One day short of nine months since the appearance of the Group of 88’s statement, Davidson is defiant, confident that she and her fellow signatories did nothing wrong. Though she doesn’t come out and say so, both the tone and the content of her op-ed suggest that she shares the view of Karla Holloway, who told the Duke Chronicle that she would sign the statement again “in a heart beat.”

Trying to blunt the widespread criticism that in signing the ad, the Group of 88 was exploiting their own students to advance their personal, pedagogical, or ideological agendas, Davidson claims that she was protecting Duke students. She asserts,

The ad said that we faculty were listening to the anguish of students who felt demeaned by racist and sexist remarks swirling around in the media and on the campus quad in the aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house.

The insults, at that time, were rampant. It was as if defending David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann necessitated reverting to pernicious stereotypes about African-Americans, especially poor black women.

The decision to draft the statement, penned by Wahneema Lubiano, came sometime shortly after March 29. The Group of 88’s ad appeared on April 6. The indictment of the first two players targeted by Nifong—Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty—came on April 17. Dave Evans was indicted four weeks later.

So who, exactly, was using “pernicious stereotypes about African-Americans, especially poor black women” to defend Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty between March 29, the earliest date when the idea for the ad could have originated, and April 6, when the statement appeared? Davidson doesn’t say.

During the time period before the statement appealed, who was defending Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty at all? No one “in the media” knew their name: a Lexis/Nexis search indicates that the only media mention of the names Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty came in the N&O’s publication of the infamous “wanted” poster, which hardly exemplified “pernicious stereotypes about African-Americans, especially poor black women.”

And on campus? Again, Davidson is simply reinventing the past. Between March 29 and April 6, activist students on campus distributed the “wanted” poster. Some pressured Brodhead for more forceful action against the team. During this week, virtually no student support came for the lacrosse team in general or for Seligmann and Finnerty (who weren’t even targets of the investigation for most of this period) in particular. Or is she saying that heretofore unrevealed Duke students were engaged in a whispering campaign at that time, defending the lacrosse players through racist “insults” about the accuser? Could Davidson actually be broadening her assault on Duke students beyond the Group’s attacks on the lacrosse team?

Davidson further notes that her decision to sign the ad was a result of seeing “many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage as the lacrosse players were being elevated to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism.”

In late March, when the idea for the Group of 88’s statement originated, who—either on Duke’s campus or in the media—was elevating the lacrosse players “to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism”? Certainly not the protesters to whom Davidson and the other Group members said “thank you” in their statement. The protesters whose work earned the gratitude of Davidson and her colleagues, it’s worth remembering, held signs saying things such as “Castrate,” “Sunday morning, time to confess,” and “Real men don’t defend rapists.” Between March 29 and the issuance of the Group’s statement on April 6, were members of the media or cable news network talking heads elevating the lacrosse players “to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism”? Who, exactly, does she think she’s fooling?

The statement, claims Davidson, had nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the lacrosse players. That it appeared at just the time Nifong’s inquiry was peaking, and after one aspect of his procedural misconduct was apparent (his improper statements) is just a coincidence. What words were in the ad?* “To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.” But the ad had nothing to do with the players’ guilt or innocence. That ESPN reported that its author, Lubiano, understood that some would view the statement as driving a “collective stake” through the “heart” of the lacrosse team is just a coincidence.

(The link above, by the way, is to a reproduction of the ad, which suddenly vanished from Duke servers shortly after a Chronicle article appeared last fall, highlighting the increasing criticism of the Group of 88.)

After working through some gratuitous criticism of the lacrosse team—whose “sleazy” behavior brought her “shame,” and whose hiring strippers reflected the “appalling power dynamics” in American society—Davidson reaches out to the accuser. Is she a “liar,” as Susan Estrich claimed? No, states Davidson: “Who is that exotic dancer? A single mother who takes off her clothes for hire partly to pay for tuition at a distinguished historically black college. Of course the lacrosse story makes Americans of conscience cringe.”

Finally, Davidson gets to the real victim—herself, and her 87 colleagues. She has been victimized by “right-wing ‘blog hooligans’,” who have criticized the ad.

Davidson is a professor of English. I can only assume that she deliberately chose the word “hooligans,” to imitate Nifong’s insult of the lacrosse players.

And who are these “blog hooligans”? Again, Davidson doesn’t say. The three major blogs who have criticized the Group of 88: Johnsville News, a non-ideological crime site; Liestoppers, which as far as I can tell has no ideological bent at all beyond a hostility to Mike Nifong; and this site, which is run by a centrist Democrat who’s vehemently pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and who’s backing Barack Obama for president in 2008. If this is the “right wing,” then I wonder if Davidson, safe in the “groupthink” environment at Duke, has ever met a real right-winger. Or perhaps Davidson is referring to mystery blogs, like the mystery legions of people who were elevating the lacrosse players to the status of martyrs between March 29 and April 6.

Oh, by the way, for any reader who makes it to paragraph 14 of a 16-paragraph op-ed: Davidson offers some qualified criticism of Nifong: “I refer to a prosecutor who may well have acted unprofessionally, irresponsibly and unethically, possibly from the most cynical political motives. If it turns out that Mike Nifong has no evidence (as he insisted he did back in the spring), he will have betrayed the trust of an entire community and caused torment to these young men and their families.” [emphases added] Has he done so? Davidson doesn’t say.

In Davidson’s mind, “I am positive I am not the only professor who was and continues to be adamant about the necessity for fair and impartial legal proceedings for David, Collin and Reade while also being dismayed by the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13.” With “defenders” like Davidson, the players need no enemies.

*--corrected item to note the "it just isn't Duke" was in the ad, too.

[Update, 10.26am: A brilliant response by Michael Gustafson to the Davidson op-ed can be found here.]

120 comments:

Anonymous said...

No mention of why the ad was pulled from their web site. If they did nothing wrong why hide the ad?

Anonymous said...

"Thank you for not waiting." Now there's a considered, reasonable, dispassioned, plea. The ad is wholly indefensible. In a way, this sort of follow on now, when things are so very clear, is more damning than the original piece. Total agreement: with professors like these, who needs enemies.

Alan said...

I could get to be proud of someone of Davidson's calibre calling me a hooligan, but 'rightwing hooligan'? That's low.

Anonymous said...

If the Listening Statement was talking about a general and recurring problem at Duke, why did they publish it in March of 2006? Was that a coincidence? It doesn't wash Davidson. You know what the statement was about and we know what it was about. Let us stop all these lies. We are all grown ups here.

Cathy Davidson's article in the paper today is an attempt to get some attention for herself. It has absolutely no other purpose. It looks like poor Kathy was feeling a little neglected with all the attention given to Karla and Lubiano and others. So, she wants some to, and I suppose she will get it too.

Anonymous said...

KC wrote: According to Davidson, the ad “insisted” that “it isn’t just Duke, it isn't everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster.” But, of course, those words aren’t in the ad.

Actually, the ad does say "it isn't just Duke, it isn't everybody and it isn't just individuals making this disaster." KC should read it again.

Of course, those words don't justify the ad or Davidson's lies defending the ad.

Anonymous said...

from a non-lawyer/retired professor: She is a revisionist historian. If you don't agree with her, you are a hooligan.

Michael said...

Shouldn't her adamance on a fair legal process have required some action?

Anonymous said...

What about the prejudice against athletes? They (the lax players) all must be guilty. Apparently in the Duke 88 world, such prejudice is ok. The fact that Coleman then did a investigation on the LAx team and racists attidutes on campus and could find anything to support these racist charges.

Well, why should a Duke 88 prof actually let facts get in their way?

You would think that a Duke lawyer would have told the Duke 88 not to comment on the case. Another Prof has locked themselves to a unbelievable postion.

emmy said...

Gosh, KC...you just shot down her justification for that idiocy beautifully...perfectly! Thanks, as usual...

Anonymous said...

I've been following the Duke Chronicle boards on this case. Those who defend Brodhead and the Group of 88 are completely dishonest about how events developed in March and April and just drip condescenion for people who don't share their politics.

In their world, "right-wing" means anyone who believes human beings and facts are more important than group identities.

gs said...

Many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage as the lacrosse players were being elevated to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism.

So because some people realized that the lax players were being unfairly attacked, we should feel sorry for the black students?

Talk about PC.

Maybe people were elecating them to martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism because they were being unfairly attacked?

Anonymous said...

Seeing,"Many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage..." Could you please name two any two will do...

Anonymous said...

Folks like Davidson cannot see beyond a wierd view of what she calls, "the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13." CGM is a victim in Davidson's eyes, and everything else is secondary. What Davidson and folks like her will never accept is that much of the "social disparity" she decries is the result of choices made by CGM and others. CGM may have been born with strikes against her (although being black was not much of a strike late in the twentieth century), but she chose to have three kids who would have no fathers around to help with child rearing, and she and made many other choices that now put her on the low end of Davidson's "social disparity."

More importantly, no reasonable person could think that lynching lacross players would affect whatever social disparity existed nine months ago. No "social disparity," whatever the cause, justifies or excuses a false charge of rape.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that Ms. Davidson is an "Interim director and professor of interdisciplinary studies, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University".

Let us hope that the Duke power structure never allows someone who displays this type of leadership to actually become a permanent director.

Michael said...

When you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.

AMac said...

anonymous 8:48am points out that, contra what KC Johnson asserts in the body of this post, the "Listening Statement" does say:

"They know that it isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster."

anon 8:48am is correct on this point. KC Johnson should update the post to fix this error.

emmy said...

michael, so true! They'll never stop, though...

Anonymous said...

It appears Duke is infested with these PC, far left kooks.
To think,I actually gave money to support these nuts.
I will always look fondly at my time spent at Duke, but I've come to the realization that it's not the same school I graduated from.
I've called five of my classmates and I doubt any of them will be making contributions to Duke in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Every statements the Duke 88 make will be recorded to be included in a future lawsuit.

She has just said that they wrote this doc because Black students felt shamed at the Lax players being considered martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism.

Good luck explaining the logic of that to a jury. Because the Lax players were/are innocent the argument is nonsense.

Does anyone know if Duke lawyers every talk to these people (Duke 88) and tell them to issue a "No Comment"?

If not Duke needs better lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Excellent KC!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cathy Davidson makes me shudder.

What a cold move to use the word "hooligans." Especially when the 88 are all upset from the use of racial /sexual stereotypes.

She has lost all my respect.

Anonymous said...

The actual piece contain a number of inflammatory assertions:

"in the aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house"

Shouldn't that read what didn't happen or at least, what reportedly happened? Also, I think the allegations actually were that things happened on March 14.

It goes on from there, but the bottom line is that this is someone who chooses not to admit reality.


Think about it, which is more likely:

1) Some naive kids ordered two strippers, hoping to get someone very attractive to them (someone who looked like themselves) and actually got at least one prostitute, who didn't look like them and was too chemically messed up to perform but insisted on taking their money anyway

2) Some racist kids (several of whom were taking very PC classes) decided that they would order two strippers who didn't look like them for their spring break party so they could degrade them -- they then decided it would be fun to gang rape one of them and did so, then the entire group acted as though nothing had happened, including somehow managing to leave things such that the prosecution's evidence exonerates them all by itself, quite apart from any alibi?

I can see making arguments about the morality of ordering strippers but to me, it seems as if it was not the students who made this about race. Further, anyone with any objectivity or common sense would at least hesistate in rushing to judgement in light of the facts in evidence at any point, even early on.

Anonymous said...

The rats are leaving the ship.

Anonymous said...

I guess she just totally misses the point and the irony. She and others stereotyped the athletes as did the authorities, engaging in precisely the type of behavior she was condemning. It also is impossible to read the ad without concluding that the authors believed that "something" happened and the ad did not give any indication that the people to be charge would be victim of a hoax.

I guess in some ways that is understandable, although I never believed that. A lot of people thought that smoke meant fire and not just a drunk hooker trying to say out of jail. What is not understandable is a modification or supplement that recognzines that stereotyping goes both ways or, until now, some type of statement about due process.

Anonymous said...

Coming up - National Rationalization Week.

AMac said...

Most of the way through her storyteller's version of the events of March and April, Davidson verges on insight. She writes,

"There is also a different kind of social disaster in this incident, ..."

I was wondering if this sentence would continue,

"... that members of Duke's faculty were the leaders of the initial rush away from self-reflection and reasoned judgement, and that Duke professors authored many of the most poisonous and misleading pieces about the case over the ensuing months."

Naw.

Anonymous said...

from a non-lawyer/retired professor: Would Professor Davidson just simply endorse unequivocally the statement by the economists? The same question to the other members of the 88?

Anonymous said...

Swing and a miss, KC.

If you're looking for pernicious statements on poor black women, just read the comments on this blog. They were in evidence back in April as well -- they've just been strengthened by the community gathering around your blog.

You also omit Davidson's anti-Nifong statement.

KC, I think you started this endeavor with the best of intentions. But your work is in serious danger of being hijacked by people with ugly intentions, and they're pushing you to burn down Duke and dem pesky "lib'rals" along with the Durham DA's office.

If you back away from that and just present the facts as they are in the cold light of reason, you'll still expose a major injustice, and you will have provided a much greater public service. And a better book.

Good luck.

Eddie said...

So, let me get this right. Davidson sees the plight of the accuser as heroic:
"No, states Davidson: “Who is that exotic dancer? A single mother who takes off her clothes for hire partly to pay for tuition at a distinguished historically black college. Of course the lacrosse story makes Americans of conscience cringe.”

But, she criticizes those that would pay the "Single mother who takes off her clothes for hire partly to pay for tuition . . . "???????????

This makes my head spin.

You can't have it both ways. The accuser can't be a hero while those that support her heroic lifestyle are hooligans.

Davidson and her colleagues should be forced to spend a semester in the real world as penance. They should be required to get a job at the mall just to see how things really work.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure most here would agree that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link(s).
Geez. Given what I've learned in the last twelve hours about Professors Kim Curtis and Cathy Davidson, I not sure a Duke education is all I've heard it is.
If a school has 88 professors who apparently have no critical thinking skills and live their lives based on their subjective views of what is "fair and unfair" rather than objective realizations of what is right and wrong, Duke is in big trouble.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:32, can you read or are you willfully dumb?

"Oh, by the way, for any reader who makes it to paragraph 14 of a 16-paragraph op-ed: Davidson offers some qualified criticism of Nifong: “I refer to a prosecutor who may well have acted unprofessionally, irresponsibly and unethically, possibly from the most cynical political motives."

At least read the post before critizing it, or do "pesky liberals" have the wisdom such that they don't need to be concerned with facts?

Anonymous said...

I think 8.48 has it right. Davidson has absented herself until now? Sounds like she is trying to climb on a bandwagon now that she knows which way the wind is blowing.
And distinguished? Hasn't she been hiding in administration for the past 10 years? And just recently republished two old books. She needs to be recycled like the publishing she is doing. It is too late for her to try to make what the evil 88 did to Reade and Colin and David right. Just like it is too late for Duke. Recycle bin.

Anonymous said...

KC,

I agree with the posters concerned about the racist statements on the blog, less so on yours than on others. The issue of justice is not a racial issue and wrongful conviction issues impact all races and colors, and minorities as well. Anyone who wants to get pushed up about blog hooligans has plenty of ammunition with generalizations about race and "blacks" appearing all over the place.

Part of the issue is how many different types of people have been galvanized by Nifong's hoax, with many formerly law and order and limited government types willing to defend cops and prosecutors at all costs switching sides, conservatives (such as myself) who have always believed that prosecutors overreach on a regular basis and fail to represent true conservative principles, traditional liberals who have long fought for constitutional rights for the downtrodden, duke alums, north carolina residents, people who hate the mainstream media, and so froth. This disparate group is not easily aligned on much, and so we have dissonant statements.

I do not believe they represent the vast majority, but they give ammunition to the group of 88 supporters.

Anonymous said...

K.C., I posted this earlier at Liestoppers; Texas Mom

Ms. Davidson, I hope you read this post.

I am one of your "blog hooligans." I am a fifty-seven year old woman. I was in college at a time when most elite institutions (not Duke) were single-sex. I protested the Viet Nam war. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I am from the South. I voted for Clinton twice. I will vote for Barrack Obama if he runs for national office. I HAVE BEEN a single mother, a widow, with three small children, no life insurance, no health insurance, no visible means of support, and no education equipping me to enter the marketplace in my forties. I received Social Security Survivors' benefits. I did not have enough money to pay for my husband's funeral- an anonymous party paid for it. I have never been able to find out who assumed that financial burden on my behalf so that I could thank him/her. The low point of my job hunting was being turned down for a job at The Gap. I did not turn to prostitution or stripping to support my children. Most women do not.

Spare me the gratuitous "women as victims" garbage. How do you classify Anna Nicole Smith, Ms. Davison? I imagine that she is the ULTIMATE ROLE MODEL for every stripper- she married a multimillionaire who died within a year and made her a very rich woman. Is she the sort of victim to whom you are referring? Crystal CHOSE to engage in behaviors that resulted in her separation from the Navy with a less than honorable discharge. Crystal CHOSE to have three children- and, yes, that was a CHOICE, my generation fought for that right. Crystal CHOSE to work as a stripper and sex worker. This woman CHOSE to degrade herself- it was not foisted upon her. Come down out of your ivory tower and talk to women who have raised children by themselves, we have lots of stories to tell about working hard at more than one job, about worrying about not having health insurance, about the humiliation of saying to a doctor, "How much will it cost; I can't afford it."

What DID happen at 610 Buchannan the night of March 13/14, 2006, Ms. Davidson? A bunch of young men had a party and SOME underage students consumed alcohol. They hired strippers- a not uncommon practice for men (and some women), both young and old. The women danced for approximately four minutes, got their $400 apiece and left. The only "social disaster" at Duke has been the denigration of the members of the lacrosse team and their coach. You have turned "I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR" into "I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME WHINE"- and I, for one, resent it. Get some backbone, madam, and lose the victim banner- it serves no one.

Anonymous said...

It isn't just the "listening" statement that is in hiding.

Professor Davidson herself, between yesterday (when I emailed her) and today has pulled her own email addresss off the Duke mailserver.

You can't make this stuff up.

AMac said...

"Swing and a miss" 9:32am wrote --

"If you're looking for pernicious statements on poor black women, just read the comments on this blog. They were in evidence back in April as well -- they've just been strengthened by the community gathering around your blog."

Swing is right, there are such pernicious comments at this blog.

However, Swing hasn't thought enough about open comments on blogs. The problem of folks writing in ugly or stupid remarks--not to mention trolls-- dogs all open-access initiatives on the Web. Left, Right, and Center alike.

An account owner can restict comments, or spend lots of time moderating them, or leave them open in the spirit of, "the best antidote for bad speech is more speech." KC Johnson, like many from throughout the spectrum, has chosen the latter approach.

As far as Swing's swing at "the community gathering around your blog"--silly person, there's no such thing. I write and stand behind my comments. Not Johnson's, Swing's, or anyone else's.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Davidson missed her true calling as a revisionist historian. At this point, every one of those 88 should be consulting an attorney in anticipation of being sued, not penning disingenuous articles further embarrassing themselves and Duke. Keep talking, Ms. Davidson, and only make matters worse.

For Duke's sake, it should be setting up a legal defense and settlement fund to make all this go away, or it will find itself mired in multiple lawsuits because of its radical faculty. Duke may or may not win those lawsuits but discovery will expose dirty laundry on a scale unprecedented in higher education history.

Zimri said...

Professing support for a man whose inheritance and upbringing are as far from Black as possible is not going to let you off the hook.

Support for Obama (or Powell), too often, is not support for the actual candidate but status-seeking among fellow liberal Whites: "some of my best friends are Black". At least Colin Powell's ancestors came over on the same sort of ship. (Not to mention that Powell was vastly more qualified for an executive position than ... well, anyone really.)

I'm not accusing you of racism; just pointing out that Obama isn't going to save you from those who do.

GPreston said...

9:53am Anon:

Wow. Had to test your assertion, this is what I got back:

Your message

Subject: 1/5/07 - N&O: In the aftermath of a social disaster

was not delivered to:

Cathy.Davidson@Duke.edu because:

User Cathy Davidson/JHFC/Academic/Univ/Duke (Cathy
Davidson/JHFC/Academic/Univ/Duke@notes.duke.edu) not listed in Domino
Directory

sceptical said...

Here's a letter I posted at Liestoppers:

Here is an e-mail I sent to Prof. Davidson (I have omitted the first paragraph here for privacy reasons).

Dear Professor Davidson:
(Omitted)
One cannot look at the text of the "Listening Statement" in isolation. The time and context in which it appeared is equally important. There was a witch-hunt going on at Duke against the lacrosse players-- they were in some cases kicked out of their dorms, they were harrassed by some of their professors, they were castigated by pot-bangers, they were threatened by NBPP and other radicals. The "Listening Statement" was like throwing gasoline on a fire. You in your recent letter try to put the "social disaster" in a broader context; I suggest you do the same with the statement you signed and decline to repudiate.
I have read the "Listening Statement" many times and, in context, it is an attack on the lacrosse team.
The vehement reaction to the ad reflects the disappointment of many students, alumni, parents and concerned citizens in the lack of support by the Duke faculty for the team and the indicted students, While "in loco parentis" is out of vogue, there still is a special relationship between a faculty and its students. Do parents abandon their children when they get in trouble? With a few notable exceptions such as Prof. James Coleman, most on the Duke faculty have stood by silently as evidence has mounted of the innocence of the students and the prosecutorial misconduct of DA Mike Nifong. To paraphrase, evil will triumph if enough good men or women remain silent.
I applaud your concern for the social ills you eloquently list in your letter. I also do not condone drunken parties or hiring strippers (although these behaviors are all too common on many campuses). I do suggest that it is not too late for those who signed the "Listening Statement" to express their concern and welcome for the indicted students should they come back to Duke, to support the investigation of Mr. Nifong's conduct, and to ask for a speedy resolution of the case.

Anonymous said...

Professor Davidson is acting director of the Franklin Institute at Duke:

jhf-institute@duke.edu

Anonymous said...

KC,

Thank you for pointing out the discrepancies in the dates, namely when the ad was published and when the defendants were indicted. Until I read your piece I thought, well, I don't know exactly what was going on at Duke...certainly the media did not report ANY support of the Duke LAX players during that time that I remember...in fact the reports seemed to indicate just the opposite, but she certainly should know more about what was happening on campus than I do...maybe racial insults were being hurled about as people tried to defend the defendants. But then we realize there were no named defendants when the ad came out.

I am with Michael, Emmy, and non-lawyer--stop digging and jump in with the economists. Furthermore, when discussing this case, the PRIORITY should be justice for the students and maintining the integrity of the justice system--paragraph 1 should make that clear--talk about poverty somewhere else, like another article. The accuser had working parents, an opportunity to make good in the navy, and access to college at least. Many people have gone far with that. Ms. Davidson's sympathies still seem to reside primarily with the accuser rather than the falsely accused, and, despite the pain caused by the ad and the facts revealed to date, she is not backing down.

I do appreciate Ms. Davidson's publishing this, though, as we try to understand WHAT people were thinking or thought they were thinking when signing/publishing the ad.

Observer

Rocky said...

The 88's advertisement last spring was gasoline on the fire, no matter how it is parsed. Even though the advertisment was poorly written, as with anyone, the signatories were and are entitled to their views. Some of the ideas that were expressed have merit, and may have been well-intended. But the "edge" and "attitude" of the words are incindiary.

Ms. Davidson's essay is an apparent attempt to clarify. Notwithstanding the Dowd suit, the 88, however, should seek some advice. Everything, however subtle, the 88 say and do from hereon takes on a new and very serious dimension, and likely becomes one thing only: evidence. If they have good advice, they will say nothing, not even an apology, which is far too late in any event and would be viewed as disingenuous. Having said that, once again, Ms. Davidson and the 87 have the right to express anything they want short of defamation. But, flames, once fanned, can consume the ignitor. Durham, Duke, its students and faculty should take the advice of Dr. King: "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." Ms. Davidson and the 87 are convinced that they had to break the silence, but their words were subject, as with all expression, to interpretation. Dr. King's admonition was sadly ignored by the 88: The advertisement, while compelling, is unnecessarily vitriolic. The question now is who will the ultimate interpreter be? Who will be repentant? It is unfortunate and appalling for those who are honored to have graduated from Duke to see that the next interpreter may be found in a courtroom rather than in the discourse of free and open debate.

Anonymous said...

10:06A- I may be a rightwing blog holligan but I have yet to be wrong when it comes to the 88.

They never fail to sink below even my modest expectations for them.

KC Johnson said...

Thanks for the correction on the ad's wording--what I get for trying to get the post out quickly this a.m. before heading out for a meeting :)

Made the correction.

GPrestonian said...

Duke's Dr. Gustafson chimes in on Davidson with this:

Ugh...Redux

Josh said...

I do not think Ms. Davidson is referring to KC Johnson as one of her "hooligan bloggers." I have nothing but praise for Mr. Johnson's entries into this blog, and I believe that any worthy academic minded person would have a tremendous amount of respect for him. When I look at the blog as a whole I am also amazed at the intelligent and well written responses in the comment areas. But there are a few commenters who have used this blog as a pulpit for their more conservative minded ideals. I've read many comments lamenting the shift to diversity in schools. Calling for the "defunding" of ethnic or gender studies. As if this event will return education to rich white boys learning about dead white men (which all have to admit was the way it was).

Anonymous said...

Swing and a miss" 9:32am wrote --

"If you're looking for pernicious statements on poor black women, just read the comments on this blog. They were in evidence back in April as well -- ..."

No doubt, but KC's point was that such comments appeared *after* the ad came out. Yet Davidson claims the ad was made in response to them.

Did "this blog" even exist prior to ad's appearance?

huesofblue said...

I don't mind that Davidson defended the bulk of the listening statement. When the whole world thought that white LAX players had committed a horrible, apparently racially motivated assault, I don't think it was inappropriate for the faculty to reach out to minority students on campus with reassurances that the faculty was listening to their concerns.

But I can't excuse the lines in the ad that presume an assault happened and praise the protestors calling for the heads of innocent men. People weren’t marching in the streets over underage drinking or because a couple of 20 year old kids did something stupid over spring break. The only reason the entire LAX team was demonized and put through hell was because a morally reprehensible individual accused them of terrible crimes they didn’t commit. And that’s the only reason why the 88 published their ad.

So I just don’t understand why none of the 88 professors has the decency to say, “I was wrong. Like many others, I rushed to judgment. And in doing so I rubbed salt in the wounds of innocent Duke students who did nothing to deserve the hell and anguish they experienced. I regret that I played a part in fostering this grave injustice.”

What’s so hard about that? I’m not asking them to take back their support for minority students! And I’m not asking them to take back their criticisms of students drinking and hiring strippers! I just want one of them to show a shred of humanity and do the right thing.

At this point the group of 88 know that there wasn't rape. They know that these students

CF said...

Ah,yes..the badly put upon defenders of the just and decent now find themselves martyred, too.
Brother!

You know, all this insistence on due process and the presumption of innocence and like-um-you know--actual evidence is so un-fa-ir.
Just more proof of the racist,patriarchal ,class ridden system we must endure.

Words and actions have real meaning outside the precincts of the self-deluded deconstructionist,revisionist smarty pants faculty.

Her defense is dripping with rhetoric designed to obscure what she did--It is, after all, irrelevant to the case, for example, that the accuser attends an historically black college. Isn't it? Why put that in, except to repeat the original mistake of seeing this not as a dispute about what happened between a group of INDIVIDUALS, but rather as a chess game in which the winner should be predetermined by race,sex and background.

Anonymous said...

10:07: Great letter.

"To paraphrase, evil will triumph if enough good men or women remain silent."

That is very true. Davidson and the rest of group haty hate need to be reminded that Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and thousands of other people have been labeled as hooligans in the past while they were trying to stand up for justice.

Where would this case be right now if it wasn't for KC, hooligan bloggers, and other supporters? It would be a much different picture. The reason Davidson is name calling bloggers right now is because they are embarassing group haty hate.

DisgrAce

Anonymous said...

Another "Look-what-you-made-me-do" statement from one of the 88.

The Drill SGT said...

KC,

In your analysis, I think you focus on the wrong time period. You say:

aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house.
...(snip)
The decision to draft the statement, penned by Wahneema Lubiano, came sometime shortly after March 29.


But you write about the period from 29 March, when as I understand it, some of the group of 88 coalesce and decide a statement ought to be made and 6 April when the ad is printed.

It seems to me that your analysis of the climate and slurs being voiced at Duke should be from 13 - 29 March, during the period the 88 seem incensed about.

altview said...

Perhaps KC and the bloggers here are too caught up in the 88. They did not originate the events that occurred at the house or at the DA's office, nor did they decide the university's response. On campus the ad was mostly ignored. Like most of those writing here, the 88 are bystanders, mostly unnoticed except insofar as commentators make them famous. In an age when being famous is more important than being right ("famous for being famous"), the contined attention on them may actually strengthen their roles at Duke and more widely, now and in the future. Why do this?

Anonymous said...

altview said...

Like most of those writing here, the 88 are bystanders,



Words fail me.

jpj said...

9:09 AM has hit the nail on its head.

Recall that the 88's original ad lends itself to prominently feature in a future suit of the lacrosse team members against Duke university: The 88 had made clear they were speaking as faculty members and the administration failed to contradict this claim -- to say nothing of reining them back.

In that ad, the 88 were taking the lacrosse team's supposed racism as a given ("we go to gym with people who are racists"), the accuser's story as true ("what happened to this young woman"), supported the "protesters" without qualification and even did not refrain from hinting at get-back ("I can’t help but think about the different attention given to what has happened (...) if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport (...) that’s not so upscale.")

Recall also that enrollments are down, donantions are down and that a few days ago, the university's administration finally started to try and make amends to at least the three falsely accused in a move that had "damage control" written all over it.

Now Davidson is starting an editorial in a public newspaper claiming to speak for "we faculty".

It could well be that Davidson is just trying the old tactic of when cornered, try to cast yourself in the role of victim, and that she gave no thought to the consequences of her utterings at a time when Duke is being being abandoned by its customers and supporters and when the tort lawyers have come circling. She might not have intended this editorial as a slap in Duke president Brodhead's face, but a slap in his face is exactly what she accomplished.

I will be most interested to learn whether on this occasion, the administration will make clear the 88 are speaking only for themselves and as private individuals, if at least to mitigate liability; or if Brodhead continues to avoid conflict with the 88 and to allow them carrying on as perceived spokespeople of their university.

Harry Eagar said...

'Already shaky legal system.'

What do you suppose she meant by that?

Anonymous said...

Can someone post Gustafson's response in full as a comment? The link will not work on certain systems...

Anonymous said...

Here it is:

Friday, January 05, 2007
Ugh...Redux
Today Vice Provost Cathy Davidson has had an op-ed published in the News and Observer entitled, "In the aftermath of a social disaster." My primary problem with her letter is her statement, "I am positive I am not the only professor who was and continues to be adamant about the necessity for fair and impartial legal proceedings for David, Collin and Reade while also being dismayed by the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13." Such adamance would, it seems, require some form of action at least within an order of magnitude of 88 faculty members signing a one-page advertisement. To my knowledge, no such action has ever taken place.

Beyond this, other members of the "Group of 88" (not all of whom were faculty, just to be clear) have acted in ways that make the reverse statement possible - that I am positive there is more than one professor among the signers who couldn't care less about fair and impartial legal proceedings for David, Collin, and Reade.

At first...

As protesters shouted "They must be the rapists" and "Out of the house, out of the town!" and published "fact sheets" containing lies and held banners that urged castration, and faculty members urged expulsion, and the district attorney made dozens of appearances in the media demonstrating chokeholds and talking about an assault in ways we now know to be completely false - an ad with 88 signatories in the campus newspaper. An ad that stated, in part, "To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard."

And then...

When Durham police entered a dorm to "interview" lacrosse players without their legal representation present? Silence.
When the New Black Panther Party came to town and wanted to "interview" the lacrosse players? Silence.
When a member of our own law school and the chair of the committee tasked to examine the lacrosse team's behavior concluded that "The committee has not heard evidence that the cohesiveness of this group is either racist or sexist. On the contrary, the coach of the Duke Women's Lacrosse team has expressed her sense of camaraderie that exists between the men's and women's team; members of the men's team, for example, consistently come to the women's games. The current as well as former African American members of the team have been extremely positive about the support the team provided them." and that "the line-up ordered by the D.A. for the Duke lacrosse case violated local, state and federal guidelines"
When Moezeldin Elmostafa was arrested in connection with a crime he helped police to solve, shortly after coming forward with evidence of innocence for one of the students? Silence.
When a student elected to NCCU's student government organization stated that "whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past"? Silence.
When DA Nifong refused to hear evidence from David, Collin, or Reade? Silence.
When DA Nifong was clearly caught in a lie regarding exculpatory evidence? Silence.
What did it take to move past this deafening silence? You be the judge.

Posted 1/5/2007 9:43 AM

duke09parent said...

I find myself once again in full agreement with huesofblue(@10:24).

This section of Davidson's revisionist history essay made me think she consulted with Jon Lovitz to write it:
"I am positive I am not the only professor who was and continues to be adamant about the necessity for fair and impartial legal proceedings for David, Collin and Reade while also being dismayed by the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13."

We were just speaking out IN SUPPORT OF the lax players, yeah that's the ticket!

Anonymous said...

I can only say wow.

This professor's ridiculous self justification, even today, and her still trying to make the stripper out as the victim should give us a window on how Mike Nifong can continue on with his case.

He is blinded by the same racial and class guilt as this woman, and he also has the huge additional incentive that he needs the case to end some way other than with an arrest warrent for the accuser in order to save himself.

I am really, really shocked that this woman would write such drivel this late in the case and seem to consider the factual innocence of the boys as a rather irrelevant detail.

I spent a lot of time yesterday saying it was silly to sue Duke, I officially reverse my opinion. They should sue anyone they have even a thread of a cause of against against.

That woman is so closed minded she should not be allowed to teach third graders.

Anonymous said...

Zimri at 10:05, racism is the trump card of any debate these days, and I call b.s. I once suggested to a poster at another message board that if she wanted to see the end of the "n" word then the black community needed to quit using it and glorifying "pimps and hos" and drugs and all the rest of the garbage that I see in popular "culture."

I happen to like Obama; I don't care for Hillary. My preference. I LOVED and REVERED Barbara Jordan- and she was a Congresswoman a very long time ago. I refuse to let anyone categorize my opinions based upon my race. My opinions are mine alone and are based upon ALL of my life experience. If I make an assertion that I find to be inaccurate or just flat WRONG, I usually try to correct myself and apologize if I have harmed someone. Unfortunately, the 88 do not seem to have that desire.
Texas Mom

Michael said...

There were two that said that they were wrong and one that actually apologized for their posts on the Durham Responds Yahoo Group after a fair
amount of analysis. These
two were guys. Basically
silence from everyone else.

I saved all of the Yahoo Group messages in a text file just in case the Group suddenly vanishes.

Anonymous said...

I went to the link to the Duke "ad" and found the following:

"I was talking to a white woman student who was asking me 'Why do people --
and she meant black people -- make race such a big issue?'
They don’t see race. They just don’t see it."

It sounds to me that the people to which the speaker refers are attempting to follow Dr King's dream that people will be judged according to their character, not their race.

It's too bad that all sides in the Duke case can't follow Dr King's dream.

Anonymous said...

re-posting my 12/24 comments...

They [88] will revise the facts of the past to suit their agenda - the Nifongian approach - and continue their cry of misogyny and white/male domination. - This is what puts bread on their table, and assures them of being invited to the preferred ultra-liberal dinner parties.

TW

Anonymous said...

I can never figure out this 'poor stripper' thing that she touts once again.

The same sentence lauds the poor girl for earning money stripping to take care of her kids and pay for school, and denigrates the boys for hiring her.

How can it be ok for her, and 'racist', 'sexist', and 'abuse of privilege' for them?

???

Anonymous said...

Many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage as the lacrosse players were being elevated to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism.


Um, isn't that what they were?

Anonymous said...

She's laying on guilt with a trowel. Nice try, no buy.

Anonymous said...

Somehow the author had the audacity to ask "Who is this exotic dancer?" and responded in a way that did not include the words "liar", "cheat", "opportunist"and/or "fraud."

It would be unbelievable if it was so very believable, considering the source.

Anonymous said...

Instead of cathy.davidson@duke.edu, try sending email to cnd@acpub.duke.edu.

Anonymous said...

The real blow to Dook's reputation might not turn out to be the knee-jerk, hateflinch they had to skewer three rich white boys, just because someone who didn't look like them said to do so. It might turn out to be the plummeting relevance that a Dook degree has if it is conferred by faculty such as this dingbat. I wonder how many LAX'ers she failed since March of last year.

Anonymous said...

The GO88 members who say that their statement was just a general commentary on campus life and not about CGM's claims, sound just as stupid as Bush saying "weapons of mass destruction were just one of many reasons to invade Iraq."

Anonymous said...

I sent the following email to Dr. Cathy Davidson at Duke University.

Dear Dr. Davidson:
I read your point of view "In the aftermath of a Social Disaster," in the News&Observer. While I am certain that you believe with all your heart what you have done was and remains correct, you are wrong. You through the "Listening" document gave audience and encouragement to those who would rush to judgement. You incited those who would threaten and intimitate the innocent. You are therefore as guilty as those who advocated castration.
My concern is not for what is past. It is done and can not be undone. The future for Duke and Durham is going to be difficult. I understand from the news that the first lawsuit has been filed against a signer of the "Listening" document. Right now my concern is for you. Your actions have made you part of an unjust persecution of the innocent. You have wronged another human being. You have judged them and in doing so have brought judgment upon yourself. You are cut off from fellowship with the larger community and society. Moreover you have lost your voice. How can you speak of justice when you have been unjust? By speaking of justice for anyone you proclaim yourself a hypocrite and taint the very cause you wish to champion. How do you find your way back from this? The only means is through repentance.
Repentance is more than saying your are sorry. It is a process. It begins with a deep sorrow for having injured another person. It does not matter that your intentions were good. Next you must confess your error to those your have injured and to society accepting their contempt without compliant. After this you must make restitution. This is were it gets hard. Those you have injured have lost their future. The coach has lost employment. The team has lost a championship season. They have been libeled and slandered. Three have been unjustly accused. How do you make restitution? How do you make them whole? You can not, so there is no way to make it right.
You can do enough that you may be forgiven. Restitution must be proportional to the injury committed. You can not give back the lost season. You can fully and completely repudiate those who have libeled and slandered the innocent by giving evidence against them is civil proceedings. Most of all you must resign your employment. By your voice you have been unjust. You have nothing to profess so how can you stand before your students and teach. Because in part of your actions innocent people have lost their employment. You must lose yours.
Finally you must amend your life so that you will never again be part of such an injustice.
I wish you well, I pray you will one day find your way back.

Anonymous said...

Cathy Davidson's op-ed is an embarrassing mess. How did this woman become a Vice-Provost? How was this woman ever hired as a faculty member?

She provides all the evidence that one could want to prove that Duke is NOT a top-tier university.

Anonymous said...

She absolutely cannot bring herself to say anyting positive about an athlete.

Anonymous said...

To 9:32 AM,

When you talk about "pernicious statements on poor black women," you might identify a few of them.

Statements directed at CGM are not "statements about poor black women," they are statements about CGM. Choosing the lifestyle she chose has very little (maybe nothing) to do with being black, and choosing to make a false accusation of rape was not somehow forced on CGM by her being black, her being poor, or her being a woman.

I'm not defending anyone's racist statements or anyone who denigrates any poor woman because she is poor or because she is a woman. However, I have not seen very much of that in the comments on this blog. Even if such statements were made, for all we know they were made by the Group of 88 in a pathetic attempt to denigrate this blog.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of people -- especially women who claim to be well educated -- continually attempting to portray Kim Roberts and Crystal Mangum as helpless "victims" of "social inequity." Kim Roberts was reportedly a student at UNC-Chapel Hill before she chose to embezzle $25,000 from her employer and earn herself a felony record. Crystal Mangum was once in the Navy, and was reportedly an honor student at NCCU. Both of these women had the intelligence, and the opportunities, to make something of their lives. Both chose not to do so. That's right, Ms. Davidson, they CHOSE to be sex workers with criminal records. They both had other, better options. It is patronizing and paternalistic and sexist (and racist) to suggest that these two intelligent adult Black women were helpless, hopeless "victims" who should not be held responsible for their own life choices. Perpetuating the cult of "victimhood" (for minorities, or for women) does no one any good.

M. Simon said...

Jeez. The group of 88 was really stupid as was Duke.

Haven't they heard of blogspot?

Duke and the gang of 88 opened themselves up for a big can of whoopass by not moving this off the Duke servers asap.

Put a fork in them. They are done.

Anonymous said...

Cathy Davidson is a fraud, an opportunist who is using this case to make a name for herself. Her views are twisted and filled with hate and racism. She is not worth a minute of anyones time to listen to. Rubbish, garbage is all that comes out of her mouth. She fits in well with Duke and her buddies the Duke 88.

Hey said...

The worst part of this for Duke is that she is part of the Administration. Loony profs are bad enough, but when someone who is a senior member of the administrative hierarchy says the idiotic things that she has, you dramatically increase the University's liability.

It would have been so, so easy to write the Group of 88 statement in a way that would have done almost as much damage but that would have been legally impregnable. A few qualifications, include "reportedly", and several mentions of due process... they would have had their leftist hate on moment and would have been untouchable. Instead they went all the way and are now in serious danger. Davidson piling on now is completely unfathomable. Double down now? Dealer's showing 10 and you've got 4, and you want to double down? But it's even dumber: it's like doubling down with 4, dealer showing 10, and knowing that the next 2 cards are aces. Dealer's going to blackjack and you're going to end up with 15.

Ah well, it likely has increased the settlements for the LAX players, so there's some good. Hopefully she's also permanently removed herself from the administration

Anonymous said...

KC,

Someone who have to be delusional to think of you as a "rightwing-hooligan," even if you are of Irish ancestry!

Being part-Irish, pro-Duke Three, anti-Nifong and prosecutorial abuse as well as an orthodox Catholic and a conservative Republican, at least Professor Davidson's snide epithet makes some sense if directed at me.

By my lights, you have been much too kind to Ms. Estrich (the strategically thoughtful, if not necessarily sound Joan-come-lately to the CGM-is-a-liar side, who damaged greatly and is still unapologetic) and Professor Davidson, whose "impassioned apologia" provoked this response by me:

Duke Case: Can Professor Davidson Learn?

Cathy N. Davidson is Ruth F. DeVarney professor of English and interim director, professor of interdisciplinary studies, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University and an unapologetic member of the infamous Group of 88.

In 2003, in a paper titled "Crises and Opportunities: The Future(s) of Scholarly Publishing," Professor Davidson opined: "Innocence is not bliss--it is professional suicide."

When it comes to the sliming of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans (aka the Duke Three) and their fellow members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team, those players, their families and friends, and those who have followed the case and focused on the facts, are likely NOT to think of Professor Davidson as innocent.

On October 15, 2006 (the same day that the "60 Minutes" expose of the Duke case was broadcast), Spotlight posted a brief article by Professor Davidson titled "Who is really preying on our children?"

When it comes to the Duke Three and their fellow members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team, those players, their families and friends, and those who have followed the case and focused on the facts are likely to think that Professor Davidson
and her fellow Group of 88ers were preying on the team members (albeit not sexually) instead of praying for them. [Note: "Prey" means "to have an injurious, destructive, or wasting effect".]

On January 5, 2006, The News & Observer published Professor Davidson's current
"point of view."

Repentant, Professor Davidson is not.

Apparently Professor Davidson was impelled to explain why she signed THE AD along with 87 colleagues.last April.

The repulsive ad that inspired Brooklyn College Professor Robert K.C. Johnson to write way back on April 23, 2006 a scathing criticism valid then and obviously valid now.

Professor Johnson:

"88 members of the Duke faculty... recently signed a public statement saying they were 'listening' regarding allegations against the Duke lacrosse team. The statement spoke of 'what happened to this young woman' (which at that point consisted of nothing more than uncorroborated allegations) and gave a message to campus protesters: 'Thank you for not waiting' until the police completed their investigation. Activities of these campus protesters, as we now all know, included such items as the 'wanted' poster and branding the team 'rapists.'"

By this time, Reade Seligmann's ironclad alibi was not a secret and fair-minded people, especially Duke faculty, should have been outraged that Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong had refused to consider evidence of his innocence and instead had him indicted.
What does it take to make Professor Davidson realize that Mr. Seligmann's indictment on rape, kidnapping and sexual assault charges was a travesty of justice?

Professor Johnson's concise summary of the pertinent facts set forth in the then current issue of Newsweek: "According to the magazine, during or within the 16 minutes after the time of the alleged rape, Seligmann placed eight calls on his cell phone, was waiting on a curb a block away from the site of the alleged rape, where he was picked up by a cab; and he then went to an ATM machine, a fast-food restaurant, and card-swiped his way into his dorm. The cab driver has given a statement, cell-phone records exist of the eight calls, the ATM withdrawal slip was saved, and the card-swipe was timed by Duke’s security system."

Professor Johnson's opinion then: "At this stage, we don’t know whether a crime was committed in this case. But unless Seligmann had contact with the accuser before the alleged crime (which no one is claiming) or his defense team has engaged in a massive doctoring of evidence that fooled both Newsweek and ABC, it seems unlikely that Seligmann (who has no prior record of any misconduct, and who has received an outpouring of support in recent days from those who know him) committed any crime. In the words of Newsweek—hardly known as a bastion of overstatements—Selgimann’s 'lawyer was able to produce evidence that would seem to indicate it was virtually impossible that Seligmann committed the crime.'"

Professor Johnson's musing: "How many of the Duke 88 would affix their signatures to a public affirmation that they are 'listening' to the exculpatory evidence of a student at their own institution, and expressing concern that local authorities could be veering toward a miscarriage of justice regarding Seligmann? Or do they 'listen' only to versions of events that conform to their preconceived worldview, like the student at North Carolina Central, seeking 'justice for things that happened in the past'?"

Professor Davidson's characterization of THE AD: "The ad said that we faculty were listening to the anguish of students who felt demeaned by racist and sexist remarks swirling around in the media and on the campus quad in the aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house."

The students with good reason to be anguished were the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team!

The Duke Three's joint defense team described the AD in their December 15, 2006 motion to change venue much more completely:

"On April 6, 2006, 88 members of the Duke University faculty endorsed a public statement denouncing the Defendants. The statement asserted unequivocally that something must have 'happened' to the accuser, that these members of the faculty had committed themselves to 'turning up the volume,' and said 'thank you' to the protesters who had participated in the protests noted above and who were distributing 'wanted' posters of the Duke Lacrosse team throughout the community. The faculty members endorsing this public statement included some of the most well-known members of the Duke faculty and even department heads: three academic departments and thirteen of the university's academic programs formally endorsed the statement."

Had these faculty members lost their faculties?

How many of them have any shame?

Professor Davidson insists signing the statement was an act of courage: "The insults, at that time, were rampant. It was as if defending David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann necessitated reverting to pernicious stereotypes about African-Americans, especially poor black women. Many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage as the lacrosse players were being elevated to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism."

They ARE "victims of reverse racism," Professor Davidson.

Fortunately, they are alive.

Professor Davidson is adamant: "I am positive I am not the only professor who was and continues to be adamant about the necessity for fair and impartial legal proceedings for David, Collin and Reade while also being dismayed by the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13."

Signing on to THE AD did NOT encourage "fair and impartial legal proceedings," as the joint defense motion for a change of venue demonstrated.

Professor Davidson finds stripper parties "sleazy, to say the least."

At last, a point of agreement, Professor Davidson. Hopefully, you also agree that it's "sleazy, to the say the least," when a female Duke sports team does the same, and concede, as I do, that it's legal in North Carolina.

Professor Davidson: "That those women were women of color underscores the appalling power dynamics of the situation."

"Women of color" were not ordered, Professor Davidson. If they had been rejected on the basis of color, you'd be complaining about that. The problem was having a stripper party, not a desire to humiliate any "woman of color," so please don't overstate the problem.

Professor Davidson: "The ad we signed explicitly was not addressed to the police investigation or the rape allegations. The ad focused on racial and gender attitudes all too evident in the weeks after March 13. It decried prejudice and inequality in the society at large. 'It isn't just Duke, it isn't everybody, and it isn't just individuals making this disaster,' the ad insisted."

No sale, Professor Davidson. The 88 HAD to realize that by issuing the statement they were supporting false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum's claim that felonious things happened, not just condemning racism and sexist.

Professor Davidson: "The lacrosse incident is a textbook example of what Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson calls 'social disaster' (a phrase used in the ad). 'Social disaster' refers to complex power arrangements that underpin even minor events and give those events symbolic (and disturbing) meaning for society as a whole."

The Duke case is a textbook example of an opportunistic black stripper lying to avoid incarceration and then cooperating with an even more opportunistic prosecutor who saw his chance to win an election against a rival (a female rival, Professor Davidson) by treating her lies as truths and manipulating manipulable black voters in Durham County, North Carolina, his duty as a prosecutor and the code of conduct for a prosecutor and the Constitutions of the United States and North Carolina and the statutes of North Carolina and the guidelines for identification be damned!

Professor Davidson: "The lacrosse incident became one of the top news stories of 2006 because Americans saw the case as symbolic of many of their deepest social concerns. Race, gender, sexuality, class, athletics, the South, poverty, privilege, the younger generation: those are some features of the brew that captured the world's attention and fed its moral voyeurism."

The Duke case became a huge story because the mainstream media treated lies as truths, because those lies suit their agenda.

Professor Davidson on why she stands firm and affirming that she is caring:

"Like the other faculty members who signed the ad, I constantly receive e-mails asking me to rescind my signature. Some people write out of real misery for their children, Duke students who are distraught that their friends may have been falsely accused and unfairly treated. They believe professors have sided against the lacrosse players, and they are outraged. If we had written what they suppose, we would deserve their anger. But we didn't.

"I empathize deeply with these parents and friends. I regret the additional pain they felt when they heard about this ad. However, when I send them the actual ad, they are often surprised that it does not condemn the lacrosse players but focuses on larger campus and national concerns. I was touched, recently, when one mother concluded our thoughtful exchange by noting that she still didn't like the ad, but hoped that her daughter would have the opportunity to take a class with me someday."

Sometimes graciousness can be taken too far.

Professor Davidson: " On the other hand, most of my e-mail comes from right-wing 'blog hooligans.' These hateful, ranting and sometimes even threatening folks don't care about Duke or the lacrosse players. Their aim is to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring. They deliberately misrepresent the faculty and manipulate the feelings of those who care about the lacrosse players in order to foster their own demagogic political agenda. They contribute to the problem, not to the solution."

I disdain the hater mongers on both sides, but please be advised that others get hateful mail from the Left and you are contributing to the problem, not the solution," "Hooligan" is an anti-Irish epithet. Would you use the expression "blog niggers"? Are anti-Irish epithets fine with you? Looking to Mr. Nifong for inspiration on word choices is dicey.

Professor Davidson's word choices speak volumes about her lack of objectivity.

Example: "Who is that exotic dancer? A single mother who takes off her clothes for hire partly to pay for tuition at a distinguished historically black college."

Ms. Mangum is an ex-convict stripper/pole dancer whose lies caused enormous pain, suffering and expense and who just gave birth to her third out-of-wedlock child.

Professor Davidson: "Of course the lacrosse story makes Americans of conscience cringe."

We agree again, Professor Davidson, but for different reasons.

Fortunately, Professor Davidson is not completely disconnected from reality: "There is also a different kind of social disaster in this incident, one that we didn't know about in April. I refer to a prosecutor who may well have acted unprofessionally, irresponsibly and unethically, possibly from the most cynical political motives. If it turns out that Mike Nifong has no evidence (as he insisted he did back in the spring), he will have betrayed the trust of an entire community and caused torment to these young men and their families. He will have added greater skepticism at every imaginable level to an already shaky legal system."

"[M]ay well have" and "If." At least Professor Davidson at last acknowledged the possibility!

Professor Davidson appreciates that there will be unfortunate consequences from the prosecution that was a persecution: "Nor is it only the lacrosse players who will be marked forever by this case. Will future rape victims dare to step forward after such a spectacle? Will African-Americans with legitimate grievances be willing to demand justice in the wake of this public debacle? On every level, this has been a social disaster."

Yes, there was a downside to a persecution based on bogus charges for society too.

Unsurprisingly, Professor Davidson sees herself as part of the solution instead of part of the problem (like Mr. Nifong!): "It is an educator's job to bring the lessons of history to bear as we try to understand the full and on-going social implications of what happened long before March 13, 2006, and will continue long after. Studying this social disaster must be on the lesson plan for our future, no matter what happens next in this miserable incident."

Unless and until Professor Davidson accepts that she is part of the problem, she won't be part of the solution.

Keep studying, Professor.

Michael J. Gaynor
95 Darrow Lane
Greenlawn, New York 11740-2803
(631) 757-9452 (tel)
(631) 754-3437 (fax)
GaynorMike@aol.com

I wonder whether our independent centrist friend Stuart Taylor would split the difference between us.

Best, Mike Gaynor

Earl Hofert said...

One word sums up Davidson's op-ed: casuistry. Depressing that she has reached a position as an educator (!), but, then again, Nifong is a district attorney!

Davidson's cri-de-coeur reinforces my perception that the humanities are leprous with hard-left ideologues with axes to grind, agendas to promote, and no sense of their own pigheadedness.

People like Davidson and her ilk reflect poorly on the academy as a whole. At least an academy as once-prestigious as Duke. They belong at Evergreen, or Antioch, or UC-Santa Cruz...places with no scholastic reputation, where prospective students go to be indoctrinated with leftist babble intentionally.

Anonymous said...

Alas, the hooligans have once again been too quick off the mark in their criticism of Ms. Davidson’s essay. They have failed to appreciate its good news or to diagnose its bad news. The first good news that there is at least one English professor at Duke who can write intelligible prose, using complete sentences that have subjects, predicates, and even sometimes direct objects all in proper order. Quite apart from the possible content of Prof. Baker’s public letter, its out-of-control bacchanalia of sickly syntax loosed among us was aggravating my headache. The concomitant bad news, alas, is that the comparative clarity of her prose makes all the more vivid the inadequacy of the arguments it advances. There is a certain strategic advantage in Prof. Baker’s writing. It tends to blunt potential criticism by dividing it, “like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength”, into many little channels. Baker’s reader hesitates before the task of having to decide whether to be more offended by the vacuity of the thought or the vapidity of its expression. No such competing distraction interferes with the reader’s immediate apprehension of Davidson’s mendacity. It is also good news that the hooligans on this blog are of sufficient importance as to make a claim upon the attention of a vice-provost. Vice-provosts are busy folks, and rewriting history can be time-consuming as well as imagination-taxing. Now that she has defended an ill-considered, intemperate, and inflammatory ad, perhaps she will turn her sights toward some other things sorely in need of an eloquent defender: Duke University, Duke University undergraduates, and the civil rights of Duke University undergraduates.

Anonymous said...

For $46,050 per year, you too can be taught to write by the Ruth F. DeVarney professor of English, who was so clear in her earlier communication that she had to write an op-ed piece in a regional newspaper to explain what she meant.

Anonymous said...

Hey! You non-humanities professors got some catchin' up to do. Here's an excerpt from http://chronicle.com/free/v50/i23/23b00701.htm

A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age
By CATHY N. DAVIDSON and DAVID THEO GOLDBERG

* Diversity is important. The humanities have been the principal (and for the most part the principled) site of diversity and diversification in the academy, both demographically and intellectually. Engineering, the sciences, the social sciences, and, to a lesser extent, the business schools now may be playing catch-up, recruiting increasingly diverse student and faculty populations; but the humanities are still way ahead in facing up to the challenge of understanding diversity in complex and paradigm-changing ways (just consider the contributions of ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and other identity-based programs).

Anonymous said...

why would anybody donate money to Duke as long as these pseudo-intellectual morons are lecturing there and Brodhead is planning his next "get whitey" move after Yale and Duke.

I would never send my kids to any school that employs Brodhead. He is outright dangerous. I wonder if they ask Al Gore to head ethics inquiry. Al's actions at Apple must be encouraging for Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

Some of this stuff makes me embarrassed to be a liberal.

What contribution have 'identity-based' studies made other than graduating unsuspecting students with degrees that make them unsuitable for jobs outside of academia?

Anonymous said...

Davidson's op-ed is sophistry. Of course they were clever enough to write it so that they did not directly accuse the team of rape. Yet, all the references are to something dramatic and different happening, not the normal and regular interactions, whether positive and negative. And, I would agree, all things being equal, that the fact that students are hiring strippers on a more or less regular basis can be a cause for reflection about the student body, the same type of reflection that most universities are have gone through for many years in grappling with issues of alcohol abuse and partying. But the statement was triggered by the belief that violence was done by privileged white men to a downtrodden black women and that the violence was being "excused" by citing the race and privilege of the team. Ruth Sheehan and others have admitted as much, but the academics cannot.


Is it really the case that the statement was of equal validty whether 1) the accuser was lying 2) it was a misunderstanding resulting from a lawful legal transaction or 3) there was a violent sex crime. Of course not.

Gustafson's post is important here, as he points out all the subsequent developments including death threats that went unnoticed. His post should be circulated.

Duke alums are not stupid and are not children. So, when we read this type of crap, treating us like children to be patted on the head and fooled, we are not going to take it.

CF said...

Lots of good comments, but 1:36 was particularly brilliant.

Cedarford said...

I will add three more items to Gustafasons "silences" by the Gang of 88.

1. The "Gang" was silent about the Vigilante Poster prepared on Duke campus and distributed there 1st by Duke employees and activist students yet to be revealed by Duke Administration and Duke police. Or confessed to by the activist employees and students involved. This activity happened simultaneous to the Gang of 88's advertisement. They should have many signers aware of it, even involved. Yet no mention of the Poster or very extreme statements and signs directed at the 46 accused factored into the Gangs advertisement or subsequently. Despite the Gang's professed "caring" about students, not one word about about a lynch mob forming they were not fighting despite many of these PhD's teaching and writing on the subject of lynchings....

Cathy Davidson's defense omits this.

2. The members of the Gang of 88 never saw fit to create an ad previously over "hearing the voices of students" regarding undisputed cases of black on white rapes of Durham residents or students. Same with black on Asian rapes. Or robberies. Or, for that matter, demanding more law enforcement resources and attention be directed towards an unsolved quadruple homicide that happened a few months before.

3. The Gang of 88 did not actively campaign against stripping, rap music, rather salacious gay club activities before the "Duke rape" case. That was protected free speech, after all. Nor did they picket Crystal Mangum's strip club, Platinum, or urge it's shutdown AFTER her accusation. Instead, they have characterized those who watch strippers (except no doubt gay club strippers and women who go to Chippendales) as depraved, while extolling the stripper as a "heroic" sort for stripping in order to attend a "distinguished black college". Which sort of overlooks that over half the people in the country have full time jobs and still go to school full or part time, and 99.9% of those are in "non-heroic" jobs outside the stripping and prostitution or other sex worker biz.
As for the underage drinking - exactly how serious is that, honestly, in the eyes of the Gang of 88 given 8 million current practitioners of underage drinking and the 100-130 million college grads and non-college grads who similarly indulged in underaged drinking? Few, if any of Davidson's Gang have written or spoken about a New Temperance movement as a societal imperative.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Davidson:

After reading your opinion piece in today's N&O, I am not entirely sure if you are being deliberately obtuse or disingenuous, or perhaps a little of both. Your attempt to re-write history and thereby avoid responsibility for your individual and collective participation in the rush to judgment is apalling.

As a law school graduate with nearly 25 years of civil trial practice and the parent of a son who plays college lacrosse for another D-1 University, last April I read with great interest the advertisement that your group placed in the Duke Chronicle. When one considers the timing, context, tone and words used in your "message" (especially the section where you thank the protestors who had circulated the wanted posters and had held signs demanding that the lacrosse players be castrated), I feel confident that most educated people would conclude that it was intended to condemn the entire team for either: (1) participating in the alleged rape; or (2) being part of the the "blue wall of silence" afterwards. Indeed, the advertisement was clearly intended to add the collective weight of your group to the larger mass of people who had already concluded that one or more of the members of Duke's mens lacrosse team had raped Ms. Magnum and you are fooling yourself if you believe otherwise.

Finally, while I enthusiastically agree with your personal condemnation of the concept of young men hiring strippers as a form of entertainment, I find it to be entirely inconsistent with the pro-feminist position that supports a woman's right to make her own economic decisions. How can it be perfectly okay for a woman to decide to work as a stripper bot a "social disaster" for a group of young men to hire that same stripper?

Anonymous said...

This piece not only trashes the LAX team, it goes well beyond, trashing the entire Duke community. Were the alleged rampant racist and sexist insults widespread anywhere other than in the imaginations -- no, the fantasies -- of the G88? I seriously doubt it. Who made race the issue? This is now pretty clear. But, still, rather than accept any shred of blame -- blame the victims and hide behind unsubstantiated charges of some vast conspiracy of rampant racism and sexism.

You fed (and continue to feed) unfounded fears of racism and sexism. You have set back the very cause you sought to further, yet where is the rage from those you have harmed in so doing? They no doubt are anguished by the irresponsible lies you peddle in furtherance of your own agenda. Your statement only further deepens the humiliation anyone associated with you must now feel in your transparent attempt to redeem yourself by repeating demonstrably false garbage.

If these comments strike you as insensitive or harsh, please note that the "hurt words" are yours, deployed against Duke, the place that pays you for sitting around thinking up such nonsense and provides you the opportunity to spread these ideas into the impressionable young minds of our collective future.

Anonymous said...

I would rather be referred to as a right wing hooligan than the member of a lynch mob, which essentially what Professor Davidson and the other 87 signatories were in late March/early April 2006!

Anonymous said...

"We are listening to our students."
-from the infamous Chron Ad.

Selective listeniing, at best -- listening only to student's whose issues, real or imagined, support the aganda for the "88".

What allows college faculty to speak for one group of students at the expense of another group ? - The Duke adminiatration, of course.

theman said...

I thought the letter from Prof. Davidson was great. We need more people like her.

Anonymous said...

I see Alex R is on FODU - liestoppers must have chased him off. What a clown - thats what you get for $42.000.00 a year. It is not his place to comment on the personal lives of Duke students.

Johnboy said...

That Davidson piece is just another attempt to mitigate civil damages.

Unlike the other 88, she’s actually an officer of the school – bringing liability right to management.

pantapon rose said...

As someone who was a student during the time in question, I can say her claim that "The insults, at that time, were rampant," is an outright lie. She is doing the same thing she was at the time she signed the statement, denigrating the students to advance her own agenda. It's really disgusting.

Anonymous said...

ELMOSTAFA

WHERE WERE YOU WHITE LADY WHEN THIS MAN OF COLOR WAS PERSECUTED?

ELMOSTAFA

WHERE WERE YOU RIGHT-MINDED, CIVIL-RIGHTS CONCERNED FACULTY WHEN THIS MAN OF COLOR WAS PERSECUTED?

ELMOSTAFA

WHERE WERE YOU MEDIA SOB SISTERS WHEN THIS MAN OF COLOR WAS PERSECUTED?

ELMOSTAFA

WHERE IS MENTION OF THIS MAN OF COLOR IN THE EDITORIAL?

Cedarford said...

A little commentary on a few excerpts of grand intellectual poobah of Humanities Cathy Davidson's Gang of 88 redux:

We live in the midst of a social disaster where we do not have national health care or affordable childcare.

Both items would be nice to have, if we as a society can afford it. But the past 250 years where America has done without it have not constituted a "social disaster", just us being a democratically run society that has chosed differently than the EuroLeft or Communists did, so far.

And we live in a situation where a group of white athletes at a prominent university can get drunk and call out for a stripper the way they would a pizza.

And this ties into the "disaster"
of lack of free child care for professors making 190,000 a year exactly how?

If strippers and pizza are legal, do you propose to make both illegal to call for and pay for? What about freedom to hire a rap music group that has bad things to say about cops, whites, bad black 'hos? And is your reprehension limited to only "white athletes"? What about Goths, black athletes, sedentary gays ordering pizza? Or strippers?

Who is that exotic dancer? A single mother who takes off her clothes for hire partly to pay for tuition at a distinguished historically black college.

Crystal Gail Mangum came right out of KKK Central Casting as their black dream woman. A fat ugly creature tossed from the Navy on morals charges, 1 previous false rape accusation. 3 out of wedlock kids, more strange sperm in/on her than water at a carwash...a liar, criminal convict, welfare chisler and drug&alcohol abuser.

Nor can you ignore 99.9% of people manage to find work that supports family and tuition without doing stripping or prostitution. And even if you find sex for pay work somehow enobled by Crystal Mangum's need for money...you can't extoll her choice to be a sex worker as heroic and uplifting while condemning all who attend a batchelor party, go to a bar and watch dancers as morally loathsom and unforgivable.(including scads of women and gays for watching their own specialty dancers)

Of course the lacrosse story makes Americans of conscience cringe.

It does, but for reasons that you and your dwindling band are still clueless about. People's conscience was twinged by a lynch mob, by people in authority who pretended to be "helping one group of people" by attacking another group of people who should have been presumed innocent, but were presumed guilty based on race, gender, and class criteria.

There is also a different kind of social disaster in this incident, one that we didn't know about in April. I refer to a prosecutor who may well have acted unprofessionally, irresponsibly and unethically, possibly from the most cynical political motives.

Wow. Sounds just like the motives for the Gang of 88 professors! Most cynical. Most self-promoting!

Good luck now in trying to foist all the blame on Nifong. Once his head looks to be going on a pike, I'm sure the Gang of 88 will issue another advertisement pronouncing the "moral and ethical imperative" to heal the community is to forget, move on, forgive not just the "despicable white boys" but all the rest of the lynch mob Nifong jumped into the ranks of.

It will have added greater skepticism at every imaginable level to an already shaky legal system.

I'd be more concerned about the greater skepticism that will attach to the already shaky Humanities programs riven by PC, politics, ideological retaliation against fellow professors and students that do not share the prevailing Groupthink - if I was a Gang of 88 member. No law professor signed - so it would be best for the Gang of 88 to worry about the damage they and others inflicted on the credibility of Humanities studies. Rather than worry about what an outside cabal of lawyers and cops did to the legal system.

Nor is it only the lacrosse players who will be marked forever by this case.

Awww, your warm concern is touching!

Will future rape victims dare to step forward after such a spectacle?

Shouldn't that be worded, "Will future false rape accusers be willing to dare step forward" after seeing what happened to liars like Tawana Brawley or Crystan Gail Mangum?

I hope they are LESS willing.

Will African-Americans with legitimate grievances be willing to demand justice in the wake of this public debacle?

Well lets hope so...less the pronouncements that guilty or not, if they are white, accused deserve to hang. Let's hope so, provided that black activists realize they must exercise a lot more care in their charges and what they declare to the world are legitimate grievances. Black activists have come up with plenty of wild, moronic stuff that has not been rejected by the larger black community that feels compelled to defend every black grievance as "valid". Few if any black voices or white liberal enablers say "Aw, come on. that's just stupid and reckless!!" when black "spokesmen" claim whiteys blew up New Orlean''s dikes, Jews are doing "genocide" in Palestine, the CIA invented AIDs virus to wipe out black people, and that most black murderers, robbers, and rapists are in jail purely as innocent victims of a racist system.

On every level, this has been a social disaster.

Professor Davidson needs to look at the perspective of a similar case, The Scottsboro Boys, to narrow her broad claim of social disaster at every level to the actual culpable parties that caused the Scottsboro Boys Affair and Trial.
It was not "every level of society" found at fault in the aftermath and innumerable books and dissertations on it - it was those that assumed guilt purely on race and class lines and who rushed to judgement.

That is why I signed the ad.

No, your whole apolegia is sophistry, Davidson. You signed the ad because you felt the need to politically posture as champions of one part of the community and campus by attacking another part. You signed because you presumed guilt and your ideologies persuaded you it was Right and Good to make such an attack.
Now you are exposed as no different than the Scottsboro lynch mob...After 9 months of that becoming fairly obvious - you are still too cowardly to admit that, admit that you made a mistake and you regret your misjudgement.

It is an educator's job to bring the lessons of history to bear as we try to understand the full and on-going social implications of what happened long before March 13, 2006, and will continue long after.

A pity you happen to be so ignorant of history and why railroading of innocents happened, that you avoided personally learning from history enough to not become culpable yourself in helping create another such historical event.

Studying this social disaster must be on the lesson plan for our future, no matter what happens next in this miserable incident.

And because you were part of the problem behind "this miserable incident", no University should permit you to use their resources to research it or prepare lesson plans. As I recall, no member of the lynch mob at Scottsboro ended up defending their role in prestigious colleges or writing books about their own laudible exploits as the guilt-presuming, "egg on and cheer" the "castrate the niggers!!" sign carriers of that time. That era's Gang of 88 either slinked away or confessed later in church or in newspapers that their actions were "wrong, hasty, and un-Christian."

Steven said...

Here's a letter that I recently wrote to Dr. Davidson:

Dr. Davidson,


I am a 3rd year Electrical Engineering Ph.D. student at Duke who has been actively following the Duke Lacrosse case since last March. I recently read the article that you wrote in the News and Observer in which you defended the stance that you and many of your colleagues took towards the situation last Spring. I have not written anyone regarding this case up until this point, but many parts of your article were too concerning to forget about without writing to you about them --- the fact that you are a Duke professor amplified my concern. Just to give you a small amount of background on myself and how I loosely relate to this situation, I am a Caucasian male and am engaged to an African-American female. Certainly, racial issues in America today are very important to me, and I have as much concern for them as I'm sure you do. Though we share such similar concerns, I must express my disappointment towards your use of this Duke Lacrosse case to try to bring racial issues to the national spotlight. I believe that this is causing much more harm than good to race relations, especially since it has no true place in this case. Below are quotes from your article, followed by my thoughts and concerns:

"Many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage as the lacrosse players were being elevated to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism."


When were these men elevated to the status of innocent victims in those first few weeks/months? The national media crucified them, and fueled by the blatantly-inflammatory and misleading statements by the DA Mike Nifong, they were most definitely dubbed as guilty unless proven innocent. I find this rewriting of history (for all of Durham to read, in a popular local newspaper) as highly irresponsible and damaging.

I also ask....whose fault is it that some black Duke students would "disappear into humiliation and rage" over such a situation (in which race fundamentally was not an issue)? Was it the lacrosse players' fault? Was it my fault as a fellow Duke student, whose student body is supposedly running rampant with racists? Personally, I interpret their emphasis on the fact that this stripper was black and the lacrosse players were white as racist in itself. Two quotes from the poster that you encouraged last Spring were, "This is not a different experience for us here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists....It’s part of the experience." and "Being a big, black man, it’s hard to walk anywhere at night, and not have a campus police car slowly drive by me." I ask you......are these legitimate, responsible quotes, and quotes to be encouraged? The 1st quote is highly inflammatory and potentially racist in itself. Yes, there are racists everywhere --- white racists, black racists, latino racists, asian racists etc. However, what percentage of Duke students are significantly racist? And is the author of this quote not to be deemed as bigoted for making such a generalizing quote? I find the 2nd quote to be highly paranoid and inwardly-racist --- I would appreciate a poll of the black male Duke students to see just how many of them feel this way --- with such a poll, we could determine whether it truly is a common thought, or whether the author of this quote just needs counseling. My main point is that the humiliation and rage touched upon by such quotes, in response to the duke lacrosse case, hold no real weight and certainly have no true connection to the duke lacrosse situation. These people, with your support, are merely using the coincidental circumstances of different skin tones in this case to bring forth their own personal concerns and issues towards society and I ask you, whose fault is that, and should it be encouraged and actively linked to this case? It is damaging to link such issues to a clear travesty of a case as this one (a clear false accusation of the highest magnitude).


"A team of distinguished athletes at an elite and highly respected university hired two local women to strip at a house filled with men (including those underage) who had been drinking too much. That's sleazy, to say the least. That those women were women of color underscores the appalling power dynamics of the situation."

This woman could have easily worked at Subway or Texas Roadhouse Grill or Walmart or even someplace on her campus at NC Central. She chose to be a member of an "escort service", which, I must emphasize, is much sleazier than just stripping (3 unidentified men's semen other than her boyfriend's were found inside her from the DNA tests --- who is the sleazy one?). She actively chose this --- the easy-cash and immoral way out --- and I guarantee you that there are plenty of impoverished young mothers out there (in Durham and elsewhere), even student mothers at that, who choose more difficult, yet much more moral and respectable ways to provide for themselves and their families. There is absolutely no reason to feel the least bit sorry for this woman, the false-accuser, and in no way is she a victim of society --- she has brought all of this upon herself by her own actions. The only victimization that may have occurred with her was later on, if she really did attempt to drop the case and if Nifong refused to allow this. Even if this happened, however, she was the one who brought this situation upon herself, three young men, and the entire Duke and Durham community, so the full blame rests as much on her shoulders as it does on Nifong's (if not more-so).

Additionally, and more importantly, the color of this woman's skin has absolutely no place in this situation. None whatsoever. I am very disappointed that you (and other members of the Duke faculty and student body, members of Durham, high-influence members of the African American community such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, figureheads in the mainstream media, and most notably, a corrupt and politically-devious DA) would choose to bring such a meaningless part of this situation to the forefront. All it does is damage and hinder the healing of racial tensions in America. These strippers could easily have been white or any other ethnicity, and the same false-accusation could have developed. The fact that this woman was black and her victims of false-accusation were white is purely coincidental, and academics such as yourself who use this situation as an example of white-against-black racism (or the result of historical racism that keeps African Americans impoverished) are responsible for further unnecessary racial divisions and tensions. This particular aspect of your article, and the infamous poster that you pledged support for last Spring, is most concerning to me and I am seriously disappointed that you (and those previously mentioned) are still actively trying to apply it to this case.


"And we live in a situation where a group of white athletes at a prominent university can get drunk and call out for a stripper the way they would a pizza."

Why white? Why put "white" there? We live in a world where any white, black, latino, asian.....any person of any ethnic background....can call up and order a stripper (or escort service), can go and buy a lewd magazine, or can go to an XXX movie theatre or bar. "White" has nothing to do with it. "Athlete" has nothing to do with it. "Privilege"/power/wealth has nothing to do with it. The poorest of the poor can access these services as easily as the richest of the rich. By focusing on the fact that these men are "white" and "privileged athletes", you (and those who have put forth similar claims) are yourselves being bigoted, from a certain point of view.


"On the other hand, most of my e-mail comes from right-wing "blog hooligans." These hateful, ranting and sometimes even threatening folks don't care about Duke or the lacrosse players. Their aim is to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring. They deliberately misrepresent the faculty and manipulate the feelings of those who care about the lacrosse players in order to foster their own demagogic political agenda. They contribute to the problem, not to the solution."


When I read this paragraph, I was amazed at how easily (and fittingly) it could be flipped around. Here is what I mean: "These harmful and sometimes even racist professors, media figures, and race-relation figureheads don't truly care about Duke or the lacrosse players or even for the supposed victim. They deliberately misrepresent the facts and manipulate the feelings of those who truly care about equality, truth, justice, and harmonious race relations in order to foster their own demagogic political agenda and give themselves national attention (much like Nifong's political agenda). They contribute to the problem, not to the solution, even though they are convinced in their own way that they are helping their cause (racial and feminist equality)."

Just as this false-accuser and this rogue DA have significantly damaged future true rape victims, you are, in fact, actively damaging the healing of historical racial injustices and are making a subtle mockery of all the true racist occurrences that happen in America each day. I fully recognize and respect that you have studied these areas a great deal --- far more than I have. In light of these concerns that I have from reading your statements, though, and asa person just as concerned about race relations as you, I feel obligated to ask for/suggest the following......Pick and choose your battles, Dr. Davidson. Focus on those racial and feminist situations that truly warrant consideration and national concern. Rushing to judgment and latching on to sensational media stories such as this to actively bring such important issues to the forefront will only serve to damage and set back the cause(s) that you are, for the most part but not presently, nobly fighting for.

Thank you for taking my concerns into consideration. I look forward to any future correspondence that we may have.

Terry said...

Maybe Nifong is really the mother of all right wing hooligans. After all, he has singlehandedly exposed the Group of 88 for who they are. Mindless PC robots. They've done to themselves what the right wing could never do. All thanks to Nifong.
They're choking on quicksand.

Cedarford said...

I'd be remiss if I didn't add another remarkably stupid observation by Professor Davidson of the Gang of 88.

Many black students at Duke disappeared into humiliation and rage as the lacrosse players were being elevated to the status of martyrs, innocent victims of reverse racism.

Well, those that swiftly concluded that the rape charge appeared to be a crock, that Seligmann had an ironclad alibi, and the lacrosse players did appear to be railroaded or simply condemned as monsters for the legal act of hiring strippers and the misdemeanor of underaged drinking.....appear to be right.

And "many black students" that nevertheless disappeared into rage and humiliation over discovery that the facts appeared to be clearing the Duke players they presumed guilty? If they actually existed at Duke - rather than Davidson using "black Duke students" as proxy for dumb Durham mobs or NCCU activists - probably have a level of intellectual capacity and reasoning ability that argues they shouldn't be Duke students in the first place.

Yet after March 13, Duke again came to symbolize (seemingly for the entire world) the most lurid and sexualized form of race privilege.

OK, OK, I can't resist one more crack at a letter that is an absolute gold mine of stupid remarks to ridicule & parody (as a hooligan!). This is an unending feast and I don't have unending time....

What Duke symbolized after March 13th was a group of Leftists on and off the campus in profound denial about the emerging facts of the case that had most objective observers swiftly concluding that people were being railroaded by racists and class warriors.

Remarks about "rich white boys", "white privilege", "dumb white jocks", "poor suffering prostitute" (who the public knew before lied about rape before) were confined to a very small band of feminists, racist blacks, campus Lefties and similar people in the media expressing their own feminist, black racist, Lefty academia beliefs.

To most Americans, it was disbelieved. Not just whites. Hispanics though she was a liar. And blacks after the 1st week were largely saying this "smelled like another Tawana".

Come on, Cathy! Quit Nifongering around and say "Ooops, I was wrong! I'm sorry!"

Be a good sweetie. It's OK to be insulated from reality while cloistered in doing Ivory Tower work, at least in the Humanities were wrong thinking doesn't kill patients (think Duke Medical), wrong thinking doesn't collapse buildings (Pratt Engineering), or toss people in prison for malpractice (Duke Law). But you ventured out of the Tower, Professor, and said things that impacted other lives.

That were wrong and prejudiced.

Be brave, fess up. Then you can go back inside to that comfortable, subjective liberal arts place where no one can say you aren't right! No matter what you say.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to 12:39 and 12:52 anonymous posters. And Texas Mom--bravo to you too!

I call myself a feminist and just detest the damage that women like Ms. Davidson and her ivory tower ilk do to serious, responsible, talented women who refuse to assume the victim mantle to rationalize away any consequences of poor behavior in females.

Anonymous said...

A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age
By CATHY N. DAVIDSON and DAVID THEO GOLDBERG

* Diversity is important. The humanities have been the principal (and for the most part the principled) site of diversity and diversification in the academy, both demographically and intellectually.

Wait...Ms. Davidson advocates for increasing intellectual diversity in elite university settings? And then castigates engineering and hard science departments for being behind the humanities in implementing such diversity?

That's just what I want--stupid people working on infrastructure design and scientific and medical research.

Dukex4 said...

Imagine how Ruth DeVarney and her family feel about having her name attached to this "scholar". I would think that anyone would be much more wary about endowing a chair with their name after seeing this example.

Anonymous said...

Steven (4:59) Very nice response - thank you.

Anonymous said...

As a former liberal, this statement by Barney Frank is from the same school of thought the Gang of 88 espouses:

Re Katrina...

"The policy, I think, is ethnic cleansing by inaction. …"

I'll prolly be banned for this, but I am starting to think liberalism is a disease.

Oh, and I am a Canadian who lives in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Davidson is clearly a world class idiot. Single mom stipping for her tuition? What planet is Davidson on? Power issues? What utter drivel. Davidson has no sense of right and wrong. This is a power issue, alright, and the wrong people have power- Davidson needs to grow up. Right and wrong not black and white. Utter crap.

Anonymous said...

The fundamental intellectual problem with Davidson's letter (aside from the gratuitous insults about hooligan right wing bloggers and the sleazy behavior of the lax team) is that the power dynamic clear favored the accuser in this case.

Whatever "power" the lax players had, it was not sufficient to compel the strippers to appear at the party, to stay at the party or to perform at the party. The stippers showed up on their own, left early and hardly performed.

Further, and more importantly, the accuser has used and continues to use the power of the state of NC to press two remaining allegations even after admitting that the first one was false. How much power is that?

Add to this, the protesters, the msm and the group of 88 clearly sided with the accuser. the lax players had no power over any of these people. nor did they have the "power" to avoid failing grades or stop the administrative suspension.

She also deliberately avoids the discussion of political power in Durham. This town is run by minorities and Mike Nifong won reelection by pandering to this group. What "power" did the players exert of the city of Durham? None. They don't have any.

Finally, I must address the "racist response" that always rears its ugly head when someone criticizes the left. Listen, the left frames the issue as "white power structure" and "white privilege" and "these white lax players did this" and when the responses are framed in the same general terms, they cry racism. Even KC and Prof. Anderson have fallen prey to this. When the issue is framed as general as the left frames it, one must consider whether there is a difference based on race. I submit that there is. Blacks are the only minority group that cannot or will not assimilate. Whether its cultural, biological or the result of extremely faulty leadership that benefits greatly from the race issue, I express no opinion. However, that is what needs to be addressed.

Davidson is right that they represent a disproportionate number of poor people. She belives the reason is white racism, I believe it is some other pathology that affects black people - whether cultural, political or whatever. So, when the issue is framed broadly, it will be answered broadly. But if its racist to answer the attack by the left, its racist for the left to make the argument in such general terms.

So, please Prof Davidson, explain this power dynamic a little further. As far as I can tell, it has been stacked in favor of the accuser.

WINDBAG

Anonymous said...

Good Christ, Johnson...Barack Obama?

And here I was thinking you were a serious individual.

Anonymous said...

Windbag,
Your discussion of power is very important. In fact, the misunderstanding of who has and uses power in this case has badly confused many people, including Prof. Davidson. Really nothing trumps the power of the state, which is why Mr. Nifong is so dangerous. The accuser has also enjoyed an extraordinary level of power by virtue of her sex, race, and accusations. The perceived power of the players--intellect, athletic ability, wealth, good looks--paradoxically robbed them of almost ANY power. But truth, if revealed, in a free society is the most powerful force of all.

Much appreciation for the letter from the Engineering student, too.

Observer

Anonymous said...

Obama? How can someone who demands such attention to detail go out on a limb on a candidate with such an absence of same?

That is not in keeping with your sensible style heretofore on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn College: Professor Robert KC Johnson. Duke: Cathy Davidson. Who would you rather have teaching your daughter or son?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for covering this case so doggedly and exposing the now obvious miscarriage of justice that has been occuring and the reprehensible actions of the assorted accuser sympathizers who are ideologically motivated.

What I don't comprehend is how you can possibly support Obama, as you mentioned as a credentials estblishing aside to counter one of the professors point, when he is clearly a conventional leftist exactly like the sort you are so ably making mincemeat of on your blog.


Thank you for great work here.

Anonymous said...

cedarford,

what you said is absurd about hispanics and blacks thinking it was another tawana from the first week. the news and observer poll showed the hispanic voters had the same percentages as the black voters supporting nifong. In the actual election, the hispanic voters followed the black pattern, which gave 95%+ of votes to nifong. why the hell did they vote for nifong if they beleived it was a hoax at that time? the answer is they did not think it was a hoax and that is why they voted for Nifong and many still do support him. You don't know what youa re talking about.

Anonymous said...

A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age
By CATHY N. DAVIDSON and DAVID THEO GOLDBERG

* Diversity is important. The humanities have been the principal (and for the most part the principled) site of diversity and diversification in the academy, both demographically and INTELLECTUALLY.

Just what does itellectual diversity mean? People of widely diverse intelect? Are we to assume therefore that it is noble to praise the inclusion of idiots in higher learning and academia; and, that the humanities have been leaders of this endeavor? That's not a hard sell.

Anonymous said...

Why is an English professor leading a pack of cultural Marxist wolves in perpetuating a fraud and deliberating stirring up strife to support a radical agenda? This reveals a far deeper problem at Duke University -- the English Department is fraudulent to the core and utterly lacking in academic seriousness and an embarrassment to any serious student of English and American literature (of which there are fewer every day.)

pwyll said...

All you blog hooligans come on by and pick up a blog hooligan graphic.

Anonymous said...

Quote:
When the whole world thought that white LAX players had committed a horrible, apparently racially motivated assault, I don't think it was inappropriate for the faculty to reach out to minority students on campus with reassurances that the faculty was listening to their concerns.

The "whole world" never thought that white LAX players...

Maybe in your world, but certainly not in mine. I remarked to friends that something was amiss with the story the first time I heard it reported on the news here in North Carolina. And a number of my friends and family members had the same reaction.

Anonymous said...

For those who might have skimmed only KC's and readers' comments, I commend to you the original op ed from Prof Davidson. To read -- at this late -- such a long, carefully-written, and utterly mistaken published statement by a senior member of the Duke faculty and administration (*) is simply dumbfounding.

If, as someone said, CGM "came right out of KKK Central Casting as their black dream woman," then Davidson's op ed provides eloquent testimony that key members of the Duke faculty were part of the "lacrosse case" problem in spring, 2006, and, unfortunately, remain part of a larger problem today.

(*) "Cathy N. Davidson is the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. As Vice Provost, she provides leadership in promoting interdisciplinary exchange across the University's nine schools, has oversight of approximately sixty interdisciplinary research centers and institutes, and works to promote innovative research and teaching across disciplinary bounds. In addition to working with faculty to create new programs, she has restructured the processes by which all of Duke's interdisciplinary research units are created, approved, managed, and reviewed in order to ensure greater accountability. She has also worked to find creative and flexible administrative structures that promote interdisciplinarity throughout the University."

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