Sunday, June 11, 2006


Nicholas Kristof from behind today's Times firewall:

"As more facts come out about the Duke lacrosse scandal, it should prompt some deep reflection," about not just racism and sexism, "but also about the perniciousness of any kind of prejudice that reduces people — yes, even white jocks — to racial caricatures. This has not been the finest hour of either the news media or academia: too many rushed to make the Duke case part of the 300-year-old narrative of white men brutalizing black women . . . Let's look at facts . . . One of the defendants is Reade Seligmann, whose cellphone made at least seven calls between 12:05 and 12:14," which is "a pretty good alibi . . . Poring over a half-dozen police reports and witness reports filed in court in dribs and drabs, the latest just a few days ago, . . . as I see it, [Nifong] may be the real culprit here," since he "may have had a motive for prosecuting a case that wouldn't otherwise merit it: using it as a campaign tool . . . Unfortunately, many in the commentariat started by assuming that the lacrosse players were thugs. Prof. Houston Baker, who is now leaving Duke, demanded that the university dismiss the coaches and players as a response to 'abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed among us.' . . . So let's take a deep breath and step back. Black hobos shouldn't have been stereotyped [in the 1930s], and neither should white jocks today."

First David Brooks, now Kristof. No cracks yet in the "blue wall of silence" that has characterized Duke's 500-plus person faculties of law and arts and sciences, not one of whom has publicly questioned the procedural improprieties that have marred this case; and no indication at all that political or legal authorities in North Carolina are willing to step in and restrain Nifong. But perhaps things are changing.

[Originally published Cliopatria.]

No comments: