Thursday, June 18, 2009

From the CCI Archive: Voices of the Extremists

As his committee began to take shape, CCI head Bob Thompson received a number of e-mails reminding him that the coterie of extremists that swarmed the Duke campus in spring 2006 extended beyond the Group of 88.

In early April 2008, Tsahai Tafari, Ph.D.* (who described herself as an African-American woman) told Thompson that “I have been afraid of the young white men on campus at Duke for a very long time, and the racist assault and . . . the rape basically confirmed my fears.” She complained that in her lab, she was forced to listen to people talking about the “lacrosse case” who—“horrific in their lack of humanity”—suggested that the players might be innocent.

Such speech, apparently, needed to be prohibited at Duke.

In mid-April 2006 (several days after DNA tests that Mike Nifong had promised would clear the innocent had shown no matches to any lacrosse player), Denise Jackson, the mother of a Duke female student, complained to Thompson. Mrs. Jackson reported that, while walking to class, her daughter had seen “a group of students who choose to wear T-shirts with the words ‘We Support the Duke Lacrosse Team.’”

Perhaps the students had a right to their viewpoint, Mrs. Jackson conceded, but the administration nonetheless needed “to consider requesting” Duke students to refrain from wearing such T-shirts. Such free speech, she feared, would “inflame tensions”—especially among “African-American” employees of the university.

Mrs. Jackson appeared unaware of how her insinuation that African-American employees might not be able to contain their rage built off negative racial stereotypes of blacks.

And from off campus, a California lawyer named Christopher Wilson offered an astonishing suggestion: that the CCI should “make sure [Duke students] vote in elections for DA Nifong and his ilk.” I e-mailed Wilson to ask if, in hindsight, he stood by his suggestion.

Wilson did not reply.

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The CCI archive also preserved two previously unpublished documents from extremist campus groups. The first, dated March 30, 2006, came from a group calling itself “Concerned Citizens at Duke University,” with whose leaders Brodhead met at the same time he was refusing to meet with parents or any representatives of the lacrosse players. Most of the CCDU members appear to have been African-American, although no list of the organization’s membership survives.

“We are appalled and insulted,” the CCDU missive asserted, “by the university’s denial of the interrelatedness of white privilege, class, racism, and sexism in this issue. We want open and direct recognition of this incident as a hate crime by the University.” (The CCDU actually appeared to be demanding that the University “recognize” that the lacrosse players had committed a “hate crime,” rather than, as they wrote, that unnamed others “recognize” the affair “as a hate crime by the University.”) In either case, for the CCDU, an unsupported allegation by a mentally unstable woman, and denied by the accused, appeared to be enough to establish a “hate crime.”

In a fantastic interpretation of the Brodhead administration’s motives, CCDU members claimed that “the university is cultivating and sustaining a culture of privilege and silence that allows inappropriate behavior to plague the campus.” Even stranger, the missive faulted Brodhead and his advisors for operating under the premise that “the oppressed are always asked to justify their oppression, to put their hurt, trauma, and pain that those who are not oppressed can understand, although those feelings have no rational basis.” How the administration was supposed to predict or respond to “irrational” feelings the CCDU members never said.

What were the University’s specific faults, according to the CCDU?

(1) “President Brodhead has failed to acknowledge of show sympathy for the family of the victim [sic] involved in the case.” (These Duke undergraduate students appeared not to understand that a mentally unstable woman claiming she was raped did not, in and of itself, make her a “victim.”)

(2) “There exists a culture on campus in which male athletes are able to exercise privilege through sexual misconduct.” (The only evidence cited for this preposterous assertion was Samiha Khanna’s “interview” with false accuser Crystal Mangum.)

(3) The lack of “full-credit courses dedicated to foster dialogue about what constitutes harassment and devoted to what constitutes a comfortable environment in which students can discuss the intricacies of social identifiers (Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Class, Age, Ability, Ethnicity).” (This was an early version of the Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative.)

Incredibly, the CCDU framed these ruminations as consistent with “respect of the legal institutions of due process.”

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To place the most favorable possible spin on their actions, the undergraduate students in the CCDU responded emotionally and temporarily lost their intellectual bearings; their letter appeared five days after the Khanna interview with false accuser Mangum. Thirty-two days later, however, no such excuse existed.

On May 1, 2006, members of the Duke Sociology Department produced one of the most troubling documents that appeared at any point in the case. A five-page letter from Group of 88 radical Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, nine other professors in the Sociology Department, and 27 Sociology Ph.D. students was coordinated by Serena Sebring, the Sociology graduate student who joined Wahneema Lubiano on an April 12, 2006 panel lamenting that “since the [negative] DNA results were returned Monday, we [have been] moving backwards.”

The Sociology letter approvingly cited three of the most pernicious documents produced by Duke: Houston Baker’s March 29, 2006 racist screed, which mentioned, in a negative fashion, the race of the lacrosse players ten times; Brodhead’s guilt-presuming April 5, 2006 letter; and the Group of 88’s April 6, 2006 statement. The 37 Sociology Signatories expressed their “deep concern about local manifestations of racism, sexual coercion, and assault,” and demanded “lasting institutional change” that would recognize how “recent events involving the lacrosse team are embedded within a broader culture.” The Sociology Signatories did not acknowledge the wide dispute as to what these “recent events” actually were: they had already made up their minds as to what occurred—and why it did.

Unsurprisingly, the Signatories praised the politically correct Bowen/Chambers report, and maintained that the lacrosse case exposed problems in “issues of gender, masculinity, privilege, wealth, race and ethnicity, and inequality.” The letter called for Duke to adopt a combination of hate-crimes legislation and thought control. The Signatories demanded that the administration rewrite the Judicial Code to recognize “actions that inflict, threaten, or cause injuries that may be corporal, psychological, material, or social, in which victims are presumed representatives of a bias-related classification (i.e., race, gender and sexuality).”

What, exactly, is a “social” injury to a “presumed representative[] of a bias-related classification (i.e., race, gender and sexuality)”? This Orwellian conception of a student judicial system would subject white male students to charges for thinking the wrong way on issues such as “diversity” or affirmative action.

The CCI, declared the Sociology Signatories, needed to create a culture that was “proactively anti-racist, anti-sexist, non-homophobic, non-heteronormative, and anti-classist.” How does this jargon translate into plain English? Duke recognizing that the “myth of the meritocratic ideal . . . allows individuals to justify the continuation of racial and gender equality.” This belief was part of the “oppression” that existed on the Duke campus, and could only be overcome with—as expected—new “admissions and hiring” practices to favor minorities and those who thought appropriately on “diversity” issues.

As had the Group of 88, the Sociology Signatories both presumed guilt and showed indifference to Anglo-American legal norms. “An exclusive focus on whether the administrative response operated within the scope of the law would ignore the important responsibilities the Administration has to students, faculty, and staff, as well as the citizens of Durham. The entire Durham community is directly affected by this situation, in particular, and the culture of Duke more generally. The events that transpired on March 13th [and, again, at the time this letter was written, grave doubts existed as to exactly what “the events that transpired on March 13th” were] call for an immediate response and decisive leadership to ensure that everyone affected can be certain that the administration of Duke will never tolerate any form of racial, sexual, or gender violence from any individual of the Duke community regardless of their race, class, and privilege status.”

This passage, which reads almost as a parody of political correctness, makes no sense unless the Signatories assumed that an incident of “racial, sexual, or gender violence” actually occurred.

The problem was a national one, the sociologists exclaimed, since “at Duke and many campuses, sexual assault is endemic.” The evidence that “sexual assault” is more common at “Duke and many campuses” than anyplace else in society? The Sociology Signatories didn’t say. Why allow facts to interfere with the metanarrative?

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The Sociology letter is of interest in one additional respect. Written before the backlash against the Group of 88’s rush to judgment occurred, the Sociology document celebrated the connection between the case and the Group of 88’s ad--in sharp contrast to the later efforts of Group apologists Charlie Piot and Robert Zimmerman to distance the Group of 88 statement from the lacrosse case. The Signatories proudly explained that “the term ‘social disaster’ was used to describe the lacrosse incident [emphasis added] in an ad sponsored by Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department in the April 6, 2006 issue of the Chronicle.”

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The documents produced by the CCDU and the Sociology Signatories showed that, indeed, a profound problem of campus culture existed at Duke in spring 2006. But the CCI, of course, had no interest in exploring how and why these faculty members, graduate students, and Duke undergraduates so willingly interpreted campus events through an extremist version of the race/class/gender prism, and so willingly disregarded Anglo-American legal norms.

On Monday, I’ll post some of the documents from the CCI archive.

*--corrected item

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stunning.

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What is the cross-pollination between those who signed the "Clarifying Statement" and the Sociology Letter? Mary Hovsepian? Bonilla-Silva? Lee Baker? Michaeline Crichlow? Sherman James? Charles Payne? I'm pretty sure the Duke Faculty Handbook includes the following:

"Duke University is a community dedicated to ... the principles of honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability. Citizens of this community commit to reflect upon and uphold these principles in all academic and non-academic endeavors, and to protect and promote a culture of integrity.

To uphold the Duke Community Standard

 I will not lie ... in my academic endeavors;

 I will conduct myself honorably in all my endeavors; and

 I will act if the Standard is compromised."

********************

To head off what I expect to be some ire directed at the phrase "white privilege," I wanted to be sure that all commentators were aware that it is already part of the official Duke University corporate lexicon. At the Duke Office of Institutional Equity/Educational Opportunities site, you can sign up for a course titled: "White Privilege: Impact on Working Relationships."

(I wonder if White Privilege includes the privilege of not being hired by, or admitted into, the university even though you may be better qualified, of not speaking your mind for fear of PC retaliation, and of not being protected by the fundamental right of due process or the enforcement of the Duke Faculty Handbook?).

********************

Could a dangling modifier be construed as a "social injury"? Hopefully, Brodhead will consider this possibility.

*****************

By the way, on the Duke University Diversity website, you can nominate someone as a "Profile in Diversity." Although I very much wanted to nominate Professor Johnson, I decided to nominate myself because it was easier to obtain informed consent. This was my submission:

"I would like to nominate myself as a profile in diversity. I have been an outspoken critic of the way Duke administration and many faculty members handled the lacrosse scandal. As such, I am as small a minority as you'll find connected to Duke's campus. Additionally, although more a liberal than a conservative, I'm still keenly interested in maintaining a diversity of thought on campus -- even conservative thought. I would appreciate your consideration."

I will update all regarding the status of my submission throughout the selection process. Should I be accepted, I'll proudly join such current profiles in diversity as G88er Paula McClain. Wish me luck or submit your own profile in diversity here:

http://blog.aas.duke.edu/diversity/welcome/

MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

And what was the reaction of these same politically correct people to the case(s) of Michael Jermaine Burch? Total deafening silence!

Anonymous said...

This post caused me to recall several courses I took in the Sociology Department when I was a Duke undergraduate. For me, and quite a few of my colleagues ,including those of different gender, races and status, it appeared that some terms were created in an attempt to give sociologic concepts more importance than they seemed to deserve. At times, we wondered whether we were in a foreign language course instead of one in Sociology. It was, also, fascinating that some sociology theories and so-called facts had little in the way of replicatable research to support them. Multiple agreements ( usually by other sociologists) with a sociologig opinion appeared to be sufficient proof of the validity of the opinion or so-called facts.

The "jargon" in the 2006 letters by members of Duke's Sociology Department are correctly identified by Professor Johnson as " parody of political correctness". Much of these rants, like the lectures and texts I recall, makes no sense. However, the multi- syllabic nature of these sense less terms gives some the impression that they are intellectual insteadof simply gluing words together for affect.

I am impressed that the letter writers are able to include , literally, every human being who inhabits this planet as being either oppressed or an oppressor in the on-going"struggle" for equality.

Finally, as then, I am still confused as to how we achieve "diversity" if we all think and act alike.

The contributions of the Sociology Deparent to the Lax matter in 2006 are similarly obfuscating.

Bill Anderson said...

I think that this and other documents you have brought to light confirm the worst about these elements of the Duke faculty. This is the situation at all of the "elite" universities with huge elements of the faculty being little more than totalitarian apparatchiks of Political Correctness.

There was "oppression" at Duke University that year. Three young men were falsely accused of a terrible crime and the entire justice/education apparatus of the State of North Carolina was wielded against them. Their teammates had false charges pending against them which I am sure would have been enacted had a Durham jury convicted Reade, Collin, and David.

There is nothing more oppressive than being falsely charged with a crime, and these professors, graduate students, and administrators were behind Nifong's dishonest efforts. For all of their obtuse language, one thing comes out very clear: they support lies and false criminal charges when those lies and charges are useful to them in an attempt to grab power over the lives of others.

skwilli said...

I have always wondered how these people ended up at Duke in the first place. How could such an "evil" place entice them so much in the first place? And when they succeed in having everyone there think exactly like them, how could that possibly be diverse? I cannot imagine how horrible a world it would be if everyone I met thought exactly like me. Maybe the 10th ring of Hell?

Anonymous said...

I should be used to it by now, but I am still amazed at the number of people who really wish she had be brutally raped.

Bill Alexander

A Duke Dad said...

Despite the cries of the R/C/G fanatics, what instances of oppression and entitlement have surfaced at Duke in the three years since the Hoax event ?

Other than Michael Jermaine Burch being charged with an interracial rape of a freshman at his frat party.

jim2 said...

1) Change is needed to better fit the meta-narrative.

2) The easiest time to effect change is in times of crisis, so never let a crisis go to waste.

3) If there is no crisis, invent one.

4) For justification, see #1.

Anonymous said...

So for those who blamed the leftists in the Humanities faculty, put Social Sciences on the list. Sociology at Duke is known for its quantitative prowess. It is not a soft Soc Sci like History and Anthro. The fact that this letter came from them indicates the campus is far more infiltrated than we once thought it was.

Anonymous said...

" . . . but the administration nonetheless needed “to consider requesting” Duke students to refrain from wearing such T-shirts. Such free speech, she feared, would “inflame tensions”—especially among “African-American” employees of the university."

This is exactly the argument used by Islamo-fascists to censor the free speech and free press rights of those who published the Danish cartoons.

Duke Prof

mb said...

"...the administration of Duke will never tolerate any form of racial, sexual, or gender violence from any individual of the Duke community regardless of their race, class, and privilege status.”

They need to add the following to the above statement: 'Except when those perpetrating said "racial, sexual, or gender violence" are members of the politically correct and favored class as defined by the Group of 88 and their fellow travelers.'

Indeed, the only "racial, sexual, or gender violence" that occurred in this case was perped by the G-88 and members of the Sociology Dept. Do they fail to see the irony in all of this? Sadly, I believe so.

This is de rigeur for the asylum that is politically correct academia. The inmates are in charge.

Ho hum - nothing to see here. Move along.

Anonymous said...

KC, it is only fair to tell people where you got the archive. Some here probably think it was a source not knowing where it is publicly available.

Anonymous said...

The evil place enticed them by dipping into endowment dollars and paying them exhorbitant salaries. Wasn't hard to convince them when you lay out the open mat like that.

Anonymous said...

http://www.motherjones.com/books/2009/06/season-bad-news-books


Bad enough a girl breaks the most sensational sports story of the year, but this girl! Jock Culture has never forgiven Roberts for a series of New York Times columns on the Duke lacrosse scandal of 2006. While the charges against the white Dukies for molesting a black stripper they had hired for a party were eventually dropped, Roberts' denunciations of entitled jock bad behavior were uncomfortably on the mark.

xutag77 said...

“We are appalled and insulted,” the CCDU missive asserted, “by the university’s denial of the interrelatedness of white privilege, class, racism, and sexism in this issue. We want open and direct recognition of this incident as a hate crime by the University.”

If you change the word before privilege and apply the phrase to the reaction of the incident, rather than the incident itself. The statement makes perfect sense.

And also the reason that this blog continues to live 3 years after the incident.

Debrah said...

Ah yes, the suppurating Serena Sebring.

How could we forget such an overflow of originality and goodwill?

On her own website, which is a steaming cauldron of gore, exaggeration, and doom and gloom, her primary food source is creating scenarios where all of society is out to get her.....and anyone who looks like her!

Quite a stretch for a woman who was born in 1977 and already has given birth to three children.

And oh, by the way, she's a single mother.

Is anyone getting it now?

Mangum's despicable life is one many who have prayed for the "rape" to have been real can relate to, without a doubt.

Their Sista Survivor.

G/d, relieve the rest of us of the self-proclaimed strong, militant, corn-rowed, close-cropped, jeri curl "queens" who put on a show of being so independent......

.......when all they really do is depend on the rest of society and scream and yell and accuse until the next grievance can be invented.

Debrah said...

OMG!!!

Where is Rev. Barber and the NAACP on this case?

The little rural guy has put a lot of work into that display, but doesn't it offend the sensibilities of Barber and McSurely?

Or are the mannequins not the right color?

LOL!

One Spook said...

Anon (of course) @12:39 PM writes:

"KC, it is only fair to tell people where you got the archive. Some here probably think it was a source not knowing where it is publicly available."

I nearly lost my lunch laughing at this!

If you ever wondered just how powerful and effective these CCI posts have been, KC, there's your answer.

By exposing the Group of 88's very dangerous and egregious violations of the Duke Faculty Handbook coincident with their ignoring the best values of the academy and the American legal system, and by not revealing your sources you're not being fair KC!

BWAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

How pathetic these cowards are!

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Again and again and again we see proof that Duke University must avoid discovery in the civil suits at all cost.

Anonymous said...

You people are really funny. Duke has nothing to fear in discovery. This whole thing about the group of 88 is a diversion from the matter at hand. Plaintiffs are claiming a civil right violation. All the rest of this in nonsense.

All this discussion about the 88 and barely anything serious about the legal issues in the case. The main reason is that the regular posters on here are not deft enough to realize the original "trial lawyers" used this case to get what they wanted. Notice they are nowhere to be found in the civil proceedings. That's because they are scared of you people. They represent poor people, black people and the like. They work with the NAACP and Rev. Barber.

Add to that, the players don't want anything to do with any of you either. The reason they don't is because they never planned for the nut jobs to have to come out of the woods to support them. They really thought everyone would rollover and settle before anyone hit the stand.

If I am wrong and KC has a relationship with the plaintiffs, then he is helping them violate the judges orders. DIW is just a shadow site for DukeLawsuit.com . I hope that isn't the case.

KC, tell me you are not just meshugener or worse a shill for the players? Your mamele should be very embarrassed if that were the case. A beyzer gzar zol af dir kumen!

Tell me you realize how you play into the hands of people like James von Brunn. Shame on you! Of all the people in the world, you should know better. The world suffers enough from people who want to keep tearing at old wounds.

Talk amongst yourselves...this bullocks about Duke going to hell in a hand basket is crazy talk. My son attends Duke and I have no problem with the education he is getting. What I do know is that all this CCI stuff is meaningless and you people are wasting your time.

In the end, most of the suits will be dismissed because they were poorly reasoned and have NO merit. Enough!

Anonymous said...

MOO! Gregory, you'd make a terrific Profile in Diversity for Duke University! Exactly what Duke needs.

(I mean that sincerely.)

-- Gus W.

Anonymous said...

To Prof. Bill Anderson at 8:12 AM:

You hit the nail on the head. The most basic motive of the Gang of 88 and their supporters was "to grab power over the lives of others."

-- Gus W.

Sherp said...

Well they can't avoid discovery without an out of court settlement. Eventually even this case will go to court.

AMac said...

Racists are the new Communists.

Recall the early Fifties, and Sen. Joe McCarthy seeking out those who "lost" Eastern Europe and then China. Commie! was the charge against which no defense was possible.

Conveniently for powerful right-wingers, this accusation could only blight the lives of those on the left.

So today, the guardians of public morality seek out those who sully society with white privilege and oppression.

And happily for these establishment left-wing figures, their improved poison only bites people to their right.

I sometimes wish that each person who has scored a political win by smearing somebody as a racist could have firsthand experience of being falsely accused. Perhaps as a child pornographer.

It might do wonders in restoring civility to public life.

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.23:

Since you had a question about my biography, it is available on the sidebar to the blog.

The remainder of your comments, I am sure, will be given all the weight they deserve.

AMac said...

Anon 12:23am wrote --

"Tell me you realize how you play into the hands of people like James von Brunn. Shame on you!"

Who? Oh, that guy.

So... Anon's calling KC a racist dupe.

"Is Anon a Communist?"

No justice, no peace said...

12:23, Do I detect a smidge of post-purchase dissonance? Buyers remorse?

$200,000.00 is an awful lot of pelts to trade for a Duke education. Especially if it includes the faux studies.

Did you child get a free laptop? Maybe it wasn't a complete waste.

Panacea said...

I worked all day trying to figure out what I was going to post on KC's and just when I got it ready BAM.

Blogger went down!

Must be the heat.LIS

At least I was able to enjoy the FIRE panel discussions and hope everyone was able to catch some of them.

Anonymous said...

Dear all,

I have had a most enlightening couple of days by following the events in Iran. The developments there led me to look for some commentary from Iranians here in the US concerning the situation. I started with Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran," which I read several years ago, including all the works cited therein, as part of a book club. It is a personal account of her own experience with the Islamic Revolution, not a scholarly work. Because Ms. Nafisi's interview about the elections seemed quite muted, I wondered why she was not more forthcoming, did some digging, and discovered that she had been pulverized by a critique in 2006 from another Iranian, a Professor Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University who holds a very prestigious, endowed chair there. This essay surely cut her to the core of her soul. Here is the link to the critique if you are interested:

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/797/special.htm.

It is brutal. Dabashi is a post- colonial theorist who deeply resents Ms. Nafisi as what he calls a "native informer" and a perpetrator of Gramsci's imperial, colonial, Western, capitalist hegemony in his native Iran exemplified by the Western authors she chose for her book group (Austen, James, Fitzgerald, and Nabakov).

Columbia, in fact, has quite a cadre of professors in this camp and a well established "post-colonial" intellectual tradition built and sustained by Said, Dabashi, Spivak and others.

A while back someone wrote on Gramsci at DIW and his likely influence on the G88. Having now looked through some of the writings of the Columbia group, it is apparent that their philosophical leanings are entirely in line with those of the G88.

Here is a link to an article by Azar Nafisi where she refers to Miriam Cooke (Duke G88 member) and explains some of the thinking of those who deplore the Westernization/democratization of countries like Iran:

http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/553.

The point is this: I now understand the G88 as part of a subversive, cohesive, Marxist political core that operates with religious zeal and works from a highly refined and carefully articulated worldview that spares precious little space for practical, thoughtful, evidence based inquiry. Their devotion to post-colonial/Marxist politics sustains them economically and surely blinds them to injustices they (or anyone else) perpetrate on the Oppressor-in-Chief, the Great White (Western) Male Capitalist.

One suspected this kind of thinking had to be deeply embedded in the academy to sustain the extraordinary camplacency and dare we say "hegemony" of the G88 after the declaration of innocence and dismissal. It seems painfully clear that post-colonial, Marxist, hegemony/fundamentalism has the academy firmly in its grip. The Constitution, itself a product of a capitalist Western hegemony, is not so important, I believe, to these thinkers, and one wonders if the Constitution is actually another annoying impediment (along with Western literature, say) to the realization of a post-colonial utopia.

Observer

Anonymous said...

And to think that folks genuinely feel that Duke's Sociology Dept. "isn't all that bad" (compared, I guess, to Duke's "Cultural Anthro.", AA 'Studies', Women's 'Studies', et al. departments). If what KC is unearthing about the state of sociology at Duke doesn't devastate whatever shreds might remain of Duke's so-called "elite" Ivy-wanna-be reputation, I don't know what will. And if, by comparison, Duke's Soc Dept "isn't all that bad," then it just boggles the mind what kind of scholarly sewers run through Dur'm. Seriously, even for someone already as jaded as I am about Duke, this is simply breathtaking.

Debrah said...

TO (12:23 AM)--

You simply have to be from Durham.

Typical banana-republic jargon rendered in the Aesopian mode of Tobacco Road.

The only thing needed is a rap routine from "Puffy T" Tyson.

Homey and keepin' it real.

Don't get all brand new on me, bro'.

The attorneys who successfully defended the innocent lacrosse players have, of course, cultivated a record of helping "the poor" and those who try to convince society that they are helpless creatures of the system.

Joe Cheshire has a history of fighting for civil rights; however, those attorneys have been practicing law a long time and know better than most that the people who call themselves "victims" are often the victimizers.

They know---as most of the country knows, and as most of the academy and its administrations know---exactly what the game was back in the Spring of 2006.

It's a constant tap dance for those of us who have always been "progressive" with regard to race issues to understand how the very same people who wax emotional and get all teary-eyed discussing MLK's mountaintop.......

.......can be some of the most irrational and virulent racists one has ever encountered.

If anything, the defense lawyers want to stay as far away as they can from the continued repugnance of the Mangum enablers and their residue.

Anonymous said...

Is Jackson a Communist?

Debrah said...

Chilling.

More unfortunate news for authentic campus diversity.

Anonymous said...

AMac has has made a very perceptive comment. "Racists are the new Communists". Calling someone a Communist once was a genteel form of mugging. The thugs who did it could pose as patriots and at the same time eliminate their rivals and critics. It helped that not many people in America actually knew what a Commie looked like.

Lately, this meaningless old term of abuse has lost its magic but not to worry; a better one has been found. Denounce your enemy as a 'Racist'. The term is equally meaningless as it is used to-day but it serves its purpose admirably. Your enemy will be injured and you will be feared. The more cowardly of your colleagues will even pile on to appease you. If a rival "anti-racist" appears who threatens your own position in your movement, no problem. You can also accuse him of Racism, preferably before he gets you. If you don't have an enemy or rival, you can attack an inoffensive stranger. You can't bully people if they don't fear you and you won't be feared if you don't expose a new "Racist" from time to time. Try to be more zealous than anyone else. Aim particularly at people who show courage or loyalty to friends. They stand in the way of (your) progress and they would have no place in your Utopia anyway.

Fortunately, zealots never know when to stop. Eventually they make too many enemies. The public eventually tired of Senator McCarthy when they actually saw to much of him on television (He resembled Tony Soprano, only a lot less charming). Robespierre at the height of his power made an ill-advised and menacing speech in the assembly, and was guillotined the following day. Ceaucescu likewise (I watched it myself on TV). Lubiano et al. put a dumb ad in a newspaper. We're still waiting on that last one.

Zealots are neither left-wing nor right-wing. Any cause that seems to have a future will attract them and they easily switch between movements. To-day's Fascist is to-morrow's Marxist, Islamist or Scientologist. The objectives of these causes sound different but the personalities attracted to them are similar. Perhaps that is why so many Racists have been drawn into the "Anti-racist" movement that many genuine anti-racists no longer feel comfortable there.

W. White

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Gus W! Someone should nominate, as a Profile in Diversity, the lone registered Republican professor in the Duke University History (32 D; 0 R), Literature (11 D; 0 R), Sociology (9 D ; 0 R) and English (18 D ; 1 R) departments. If he or she can also write understandable sentences, then that's a double, mega-diversity coup -- like a fire department hiring a handicapped female.

********************

The official Duke University definition of the phrase "White Privilege" comes from the Duke Office of News and Communications via Polly Weiss, director of diversity and equity programs for Duke’s Office for Institutional Equity:


“'White privilege is a system of unearned privileges that most whites are unaware of,' Weiss said. For example, not being 'followed by security guards in retail places; being given the benefit of the doubt when stopped by a police officer; or it can be institutional oppression – not having systems of accountability for recruiting or promoting under represented minorities.'”

********************

According to Professor Johnson, the Sociology "[s]ignatories proudly explained that 'the term "social disaster" was used to describe the lacrosse incident in an ad sponsored by Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department in the April 6, 2006 issue of the Chronicle.'”

Was it then "dishonorable" and a "lie" for the faculty to subsequently sign onto the Clarifying Statement, which, in turn, provided:

"The ad has been read as a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused. Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case....

As a statement about campus culture, the ad deplores a "Social Disaster," as described in the student statements, which feature racism, segregation, isolation, and sexism as ongoing problems before the scandal broke, exacerbated by the heightened tensions in its immediate aftermath. THE DISASTER IS THE ATMOSPHERE that allows sexism, racism, and sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus." [emphasis added].


MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

From Edward Said, one of the revered founders of post-colonial theory, in a piece about the 2000 US election:

"To me, the ideological system is the most interesting case of all. Not having come to this country until most of my secondary schooling was over I was first struck and have continued to be fascinated by how the powerful presence of violence and conflict in this society is routinely masked and covered up with a more overwhelming rhetoric and unending stream of pacifying thought, stressing the country's unity, the perfection in it of democratic practice and theory, the animating and always benign influence of the Constitution (which although a secular document reflecting the wealthy, white, slaveholding, Anglophilic men who wrote it, is treated with the reverence accorded to scripture by any good fundamentalist anywhere), the completed fulfillment of public idealism, and the utter benignity of everything about America, always the most exceptional country that ever existed. I suspect that all this is ingrained in school children, so that by the age of 12 or 13 -- barring the birth of a critical sense in the individual -- most mature Americans tend to believe all this, or at least have little opportunity in the public domain to voice different sentiments."

Mr. Said was born in Lebanon in case anyone is wondering.

I know my comments here are old news for the academics reading the commentary. This post-colonial deconstructionism in the literary world is new to me, though (yes, it has been a LONG TIME since I went to college...we were still focused on Freud and feminism). I expect Prof. Said's thinking on the US Constitution is shared by other post-colonial multiculturalists and explains why the blatant violations of the Constitution in the LAX case were of so little interest to the G88.

Observer

Anonymous said...

The term "social disaster" may have a different meaning to members of the sociology department. As Cathy Davidson pointed out in her January 2007 N&O column:

"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 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."

Anonymous said...

In case anyone would like to read the full article by Professor Said here it is:

http://www.mediamonitors.net/edward3.html

Observer

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 11:57 AM said...

...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."
::
I beg to differ.

The lacrosse rape hoax was and is a top news story because young privileged white male university students were charged by the faculty, staff and the police with crimes that did not and do not make any sense.

The features you mentions are just spin you are offered-up to protect those at Duke and in the surrounding communities who planned, participated and sustained lynch mob behavior up to and including ...today.

The Duke University men's lacrosse team rape hoax does not speak to any wider political agenda and the hoax was not and is not emblematic of anything beyond what it was...a hoax.

If it had worked then we would be dealing with the 'features' you mentioned.

It was a well planned hoax with the underlying assumption that all of us are just plain stupid and would be diverted by the 'features' you talked about.

The Scottsboro Boys v.2

We are not stupid as the enablers found out...and will continue to find out when we get to discovery and learn the 'features' of the settlement.

And the enablers can not run and they can not hide.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:57 AM wrote: "The term 'social disaster' may have a different meaning to members of the sociology department."

Ahh, but that's not the question. The question is can they have two completely different and mutually exclusive definitions for "Social Disaster" depending upon whether or not their fat is in the frying pan? In other words, were they "lying" and acting "dishonorably" when they signed the Clarifying Statement?

Gary Packwood is right, in my opinion, that any gloss after the fact is "spin." The real drama in the hoax -- after the first month or so -- wasn't whether a rape occurred or whether people were racists, classists or sexists. The real drama was whether this lynching machine could be stopped. MOO! Gregory

William L. Anderson said...

My sense is that the revelations of the December 15, 2006, hearing not only was a near-death experience for Mike Nifong, but also for many of the Duke faculty members, and especially for Karla Holloway. In one fell swoop, Nifong's lies were exposed and there was a real question as to whether or not the case would continue at all past February 5.

Yet, Holloway and the CCI continued (like the band in "Animal House" trying to march through the wall) as though nothing had happened. Holloway's fit upon the decision to re-admit Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann is more proof that the CCI and many of the Duke faculty and their allies were desperate for the frame to continue.

We need to look at this in the larger perspective. Here was a criminal case in which the charges transparently were false, yet these supposed intelligent people ("brilliant," in their own self-image) could not even admit that maybe, just maybe, Nifong's case was a sham.

Like the Kevin Bacon character in "Animal House," Holloway was shrieking, "Be calm! All is well!" She also was shrieking: "Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty and David Evans are RAPISTS! YOU GOTTA BELIEVE!!"

Lest anyone think that the CCI was an exercise that was trying to address real and serious issues, think again. It was part of Nifong's frame, pure and simple. The real purpose was to provide Nifong with cover, and when Nifong's case fell apart, people like Holloway were exposed.

Anonymous said...

To GP...
That is a quote from Cathy Davidson. I just think it is appropriate that before we criticize the term "social disaster", we need to agree on the meaning of that term, in the context of who wrote it and how they understand it.

KC Johnson said... "The Signatories proudly explained that “the term ‘social disaster’ was used to describe the lacrosse incident [emphasis added] in an ad sponsored by Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department in the April 6, 2006 issue of the Chronicle.”"

If the term "social disaster" means something different to them than it does to you or even Prof. Johnson, it could mean that the pride they show as described by KC above may be the result of something less evil in nature.

KC Johnson said...

To the 8.49:

Thanks for your after-the-fact link to Ms. Davidson's op-ed. That was the same op-ed that described the ad as necessary because in the days before the ad, defenders of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were using pernicious stereotypes against black women--an Orwellian conception of the actual events between 3-9-06 and 4-6-06.

In any event, the Sociologists might have noted Prof. Patterson in their letter, but did not do so. I encourage you to develop other rationalizations for their actions.

Anonymous said...


"In any event, the Sociologists might have noted Prof. Patterson in their letter, but did not do so. I encourage you to develop other rationalizations for their actions."


I am curious that you normally mention that you e-mailed the subjects of your posts trying to get a response before you post it. Perhaps I missed this in this post or a previous post regarding the 37SS,? Did you ask them for a explanation?

Anonymous said...

Hardly an "after the fact link". The quote was proceeded by "As Cathy Davidson pointed out in her January 2007 N&O column:".

Debrah said...

On this Sunday--Father's Day, no less--it might be amusing to once again take a look at and a listen to the conversations recorded between miriam cooke and her husband Bruce Lawrence since "Observer" has mentioned her in a previous comment on the Gang of 88.

The three little home videos on his website have been discussed here a few times before.

They're discussing her book that had recently come out at the time. It's like listening to a crazy aunt and uncle who have sent relatives a "catch-up" gift for the holidays.

Trivia and private silliness that should remain private; however, miriam cooke and her doting and dutiful husband offer these up on his official academic website.

LOL!

As for cooke, her website is much more wild and dangerous!

Like Karla Holloway, these two people are soft-spoken and try to come off as doing positive things for the world; however, there is a definite sinister vibe that I always get from them.

There is evil in them, IMO......simply because they are not stupid people---(well, most of them aren't).

They know exactly what they're doing and how fraudulent they are.

Debrah said...

Cathy Davidson seems to be a "star" at Duke's JH Franklin Institute.

Wonder if her views regarding the Lacrosse Hoax and all things race/class/gender have informed her work with HASTAC ?

In 2002, she co-founded (with David Theo Goldberg) the virtual organization HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, pronounced "haystack"), an international network of networks dedicated to rethinking the future of learning for the information age. HASTAC focuses on creative media design, critical thinking about the role and use of technology, and participatory learning.

Davidson is helping to rethink the future of learning?

Scary!

KC Johnson said...

To the 9.48:

The Group of 88's statement was issued on 4-6-06. Ms. Davidson's op-ed appeared in January 2007. I would consider that "after the fact," and I suspect most other people would as well.

But thank you for your comment--it's always useful to have someone, even under the cloak of anonymity, attempting to rationalize the Group of 88's handiwork!

Anonymous said...

Your post this week would qualify as even further "after the fact" using that same logic. What is important is their interpretation of that term at the time they wrote it, not what your interpretation of it is today. Cathy Davidson's remarks at least give us some perspective as to a possibly different view that they may have taken regarding what exactly is meant by a "social disaster".
The reason I asked you if you had e-mailed these 37 people is I am interested in what they were thinking at that time. Otherwise, your version is just as much subject to dispute as the possible version Cathy Davidson proposes.
As far as this "cloak of anonymity" thing goes, no thanks, I have seen the way you have treated those recently that questioned you and abandoned their "cloak". Another commenter made some excellent points about this and I am not sure why you continue to question someone who decides to post this way.

Debrah said...

I'll correct that last link.

it should have been this one: HASTAC

That's what happens when you highlight and forget to click on "Copy" afterward.

You always get a copy of the previous---and unwanted---link.

Sorry!

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.13:

The issue here is a quite simple one. The Sociologists' letter said, as the post noted, "The term ‘social disaster’ was used to describe the lacrosse incident [emphasis added] in an ad sponsored by Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department in the April 6, 2006 issue of the Chronicle."

I used that wording for a very limited purpose in the post, to wit: "the Sociology document celebrated the connection between the case and the Group of 88’s ad--in sharp contrast to the later efforts of Group apologists Charlie Piot and Robert Zimmerman to distance the Group of 88 statement from the lacrosse case."

It seems to me rather hard to argue that a letter that specifically says "The term ‘social disaster’ was used to describe the lacrosse incident in an ad sponsored by Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department in the April 6, 2006 issue of the Chronicle" did not connect the Group of 88's statement to the lacrosse case.

Given that point, I can understand your decision to fiercely cling to your cloak of anonymity: it would be rather embarrassing for, say, an academic to publicly maintain that the Sociologists were not connecting the lacrosse case to the ad when they wrote, "The term ‘social disaster’ was used to describe the lacrosse incident [emphasis added] in an ad sponsored by Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department in the April 6, 2006 issue of the Chronicle." I can, however, see where your argument would be useful in applying for a position in an academic department dominated by the Group of 88--though, I should note, most academic departments do not allow you to apply anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sarcasm but again, you miss the point. Both groups tied the term "social disaster" to the Lacrosse incident as Cathy Davidson acknowledged in her op-ed. The meaning of the term itself comes in play if you take it as a presumption of guilt which Davidson denies. Her explanation of the term is indicative of the general atmosphere that she felt was in place in the aftermath of the lacrosse incident.

It is not surprising that the sociology faculty and students would see one of their favorite phrases bandied about as a good thing. Again, I don't take that as indicative of presuming guilt on their part either.

It is very difficult to have a discussion with you. I don't mind being wrong about this or other issues. You seem to resent the fact that I bring up what is basically a minor point of possible dispute. I will even be happy to acknowledge I could be incorrect about this. Looking forward to our continued and (I hope) civil discussion.

CloakOfAnon

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 6/21/09 :: 8:49 AM said...

To GP...
...That is a quote from Cathy Davidson. I just think it is appropriate that before we criticize the term "social disaster", we need to agree on the meaning of that term, in the context of who wrote it and how they understand it.
::
No, I would not agree.

People can not make a public statement and then hide behind semantics expecting to wiggle away from responsibility for what they said...after the face.

Not a bad strategy however if the goal is to intimidate the reader into silence. Who would want to challenge Cathy Davidson or others if they are going to respond:

[1] I'M CONFUSED and [2] I'M NOT SURE and [3] I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN and [4] I'M NOT FOLLOWING.

Silence is seen as a better response while hoping against all hope that the funding will dry up and the 'social disaster' department will just go away.
::
GP

Debrah said...

Ha!

I can't believe this crazy ****.

He's going and going and going on and on as if he didn't already yell "Fire!"....."Look at me!" ..... "I'm leaving!"

Debrah said...

A very disturbing case at Harvard by McWhorter at Minding the Campus.

In the comment section, the lacrosse case is constantly referenced.

Anonymous said...

So, when were the Duke University sociologists lying? I guess it is also possible that they were lying in both instances.

Debrah said...

I don't know how much more insanity is left to further display among the mentally bloated Nifong supporters.

This nifty main console will take you on a state-of-the-art pleasure cruise into the world of the ever-creepy land of Durham loons.

This page should be used in acting classes across America when they need to teach students how to produce spontaneous laughter for a scene.

The committee has made Nifong whole "guitar-wise".

Now their mission is to make him whole "justice-wise".

LOL!!!

KC Johnson said...

To the 5.53:

I fully share your profound commitment that we obtain the most complete understanding possible of the mindset of the 37 Sociology Signatories.

Accordingly, I plan to make a public appeal in my post next Monday for the 37 signatories to release all of their emails dealing with the lacrosse case between 6 April 2006 (when the Group of 88 statement appeared) and 1 May 2006 (when their letter appeared).

I am sure that you agree with me that contemporaneous documents are far more useful to understanding a signatory's intent than, say, an op-ed written months later after the writer had consulted with an attorney who informed her that she might be in some legal jeopardy.

Will you join me in my call for a release of the Sociology Signatories' emails? Given your suggestions that we need to understand the context of the Sociologists' letter, I am sure you will do so, but I wanted to ask the question for the record.

Anonymous said...

I just visited the justice4nifong site (thanks, Debrah), and this one sample about the cab driver, Elmostafa, will give you a flavor of the inanity that continues.

http://www.justice4nifong.com/blog/blog41.htm

The sheer idiocy behind the reasoning is absolutely astonishing.

Observer

Anonymous said...

Blogger KC Johnson said...

To the 5.53:

I fully share your profound commitment that we obtain the most complete understanding possible of the mindset of the 37 Sociology Signatories.

Accordingly, I plan to make a public appeal in my post next Monday for the 37 signatories to release all of their emails dealing with the lacrosse case between 6 April 2006 (when the Group of 88 statement appeared) and 1 May 2006 (when their letter appeared).


Good luck with getting the e-mails, I would be happy with a comment in response from a few of those on the list that are still around. Asking for the e-mails seems to me a presumption that they are intending a response that might not be completely truthful. In addition, I would be interested in hearing if any minds or hearts have changed in light of the events these past few years.

CloakOfAnon.

KC Johnson said...

To the 5.58:

I am a bit puzzled by your response: do you support a public call for a release of the emails?

It sounded to me as if you were backing off your earlier insistence that we need to understand the mindset of the Sociology Signatories--but I'm sure that isn't actually the case. Given your previous vehemence on this issue, I can't imagine a reason why you wouldn't want the Sociology Signatories to release these e-mails.

Anonymous said...

Blogger KC Johnson said...

To the 5.58:

I am a bit puzzled by your response: do you support a public call for a release of the emails?

It sounded to me as if you were backing off your earlier insistence that we need to understand the mindset of the Sociology Signatories--but I'm sure that isn't actually the case. Given your previous vehemence on this issue, I can't imagine a reason why you wouldn't want the Sociology Signatories to release these e-mails.


I rarely get vehement and you have already indicated you have some e-mails. If you are waiting for my permission to rip into them, go for it.
My comment was regarding your normal policy of e-mailing folks that are subject of one of your posts for a response. You never indicated you did that with the Sociology Signatories and I thought it would be loads of fun to see what they had to say.

CloakOfAnon

Anonymous said...

KC, Just an aside.A functionary from our local hospitals came to my office.She proudly told me we had a SANE nurse on call for the ER'S .I askede a few questions re' the Lacrosse Hoax and Ms Levicy-then gave her my copy of Until Proven. She hasn't resonded yet. i'm talking to the ER docs next week.

Corwin

Debrah said...

"My comment was regarding your normal policy of e-mailing folks that are subject of one of your posts for a response. You never indicated you did that with the Sociology Signatories and I thought it would be loads of fun to see what they had to say."
*********************

No, your comment was not about that at all.

You are changing in midstream to keep from taking the very position you initially advocated.

In such a circumstance as this one, it is so preferable to have a moniker or a name instead of simply "Anon".

Perhaps if we could identify people who keep teasing a subject just for the sake of discord and will not answer a simple question, they might not feel so free to behave like fools.

It would also be a time-saver.

The next time they show up, we'd know immediately just to ignore them.

Anonymous said...

Debrah,

Here is my original comment:

"I am curious that you normally mention that you e-mailed the subjects of your posts trying to get a response before you post it. Perhaps I missed this in this post or a previous post regarding the 37SS,? Did you ask them for a explanation?"

How is that a "changing in midstream"? KC is the one that "changed" my position to advocate a release of e-mails.

CloakOfAnon,

Anonymous said...

Mark Rougemont a/k/a Red Mountain a/k/a "ss" was one of the posters who trolled the TalkLeft Duke Lacrosse board earnestly trying to lend support to the lynchers at every turn. In that respect, he failed miserably.

He also wanted to drive posters away, but they went to Liestoppers.blogspot.com to make it one of the best blogs about the Duke case and a powerful engine for justice in Durham. So in that respect, he again failed miserably.

Now he wants to re-write history in the LAX case. In that endeavor, he is also destined to fail miserably.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (5:28 AM) said...

Mark Rougemont a/k/a Red Mountain a/k/a "ss" was one of the posters who trolled the TalkLeft Duke Lacrosse board earnestly trying to lend support to the lynchers at every turn. In that respect, he failed miserably.

He also wanted to drive posters away, but they went to Liestoppers.blogspot.com to make it one of the best blogs about the Duke case and a powerful engine for justice in Durham. So in that respect, he again failed miserably.

Now he wants to re-write history in the LAX case. In that endeavor, he is also destined to fail miserably.


I have maintained from the beginning of the case my belief that the players were innocent of the charges against them. You are also incorrect about LieStoppers as I was one of the early members there at the invitation of Tony Soprano. And I am not the poster known as "ss" even though I do agree with some of ss's posts. It appears to me that you are the one attempting to "re-write history".

RedMountain

Anonymous said...

Rougemont, you fought for lynching from day 1 and that will forever be your shame.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me that people who advocate a presumption of innocence are so willing to take a false idea and run with it without bothering to check the facts. My first post on this case still exists and you are dead wrong.

There also seems to be an attitude that you must agree with every opinion put forth by a Lacrosse team supporter to be on the side on innocence. Others take the view that if I agree with certain opinions or associate with posters that are perceived to be on the 'other side' then I must be on the side of guilt.

Regardless of whose team I am perceived to be own, my opinion is my own.

RedMountain

Jazz Hands said...

"In early April 2008, a Duke student named Tsahai Tafari (who described herself as an African-American woman) told Thompson that “I have been afraid of the young white men on campus at Duke for a very long time, and the racist assault and . . . the rape basically confirmed my fears.” She complained that in her lab, she was forced to listen to people talking about the “lacrosse case” who—“horrific in their lack of humanity”—suggested that the players might be innocent"

First of all - I would appreciate it if you'd remove my name from this blog. I have never met nor talked with you, and do not know how/if you've actually heard what I said to anyone on campus. Moreover, I did not attend Duke University. I do not recall making these comments, nor do the comments you incorrectly attribute to me imply that free speech should not take place. They simply mean what they say, whoever said them...

KC Johnson said...

To the 6.09:

I have corrected the item regarding your Duke status.

As to the remainder, as I noted in an email to you, I quoted from the email you sent to Larry Moneta, Anne Allison, Robert Thompson, and Richard Brodhead at 3.20pm on 7 May 2006, which you then forwarded that email to various Duke committees and councils at 3.33pm on 7 May 2006.