Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Chafe Way

In an AP interview published yesterday, History professor and Group of 88 member William Chafe complained, “There has been little willingness to presume good faith on the part of anyone, or to admit that there could be some justice on all sides of the issue.”

I can only presume that Chafe was, unintentionally, engaging in self-criticism, since evidence of his choosing to “presume good faith” on the part of some of his institution’s students has appeared nowhere in the record since March 31.

That morning, Chafe published an op-ed in the Chronicle asserting that the whites who lynched Emmett Till provided the appropriate historical context through which to interpret the behavior of the lacrosse players. Chafe has subsequently contended that his making the comparison did not suggest the he presumed the players’ guilt—an assertion that is all but impossible to take seriously.

Beyond the Till comparison, Chafe, as Duke graduate student Richard Bertrand Spencer perceptively observed, seemed “unable to view the lacrosse team’s hiring of a black stripper outside the ‘context’ of his gothic portrayal of miscegenation.”

“Sex and race,” Chafe declared on March 31, “have been intertwined since the beginning of American history. They remain so today, throughout America and here at Duke. The events that occurred on Buchanan Boulevard two weeks ago are part of a deep and troubling history” in which “sex was an instrument by which racial power was manifested and perpetuated.” At the time, of course, Chafe was operating only on the information that had been released to the public by Mike Nifong and the Durham Police Department.

“Why,” Chafe mused, “are most African Americans of a lighter hue than Africans from Nigeria? Because at some point in the past, or present, white males have ‘had their way’ with black women . . . To make matters worse, white men portrayed black women as especially erotic, more driven to sexual pleasure and expressiveness than white women.”

Chafe’s column has not withstood the collapse of Nifong’s case. And it certainly did not reflect a “willingness to presume good faith on the part of anyone, or to admit that there could be some justice on all sides of the issue.”

The History professor returned to the issue on May 3, in an essay published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the nation’s leading journal dealing with academic affairs. Between the publication of Chafe’s first essay and his Chronicle piece, the following items (among others) had become publicly known:

  • DNA tests that Nifong had promised would identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent had shown no matches to any lacrosse player;
  • Reade Seligmann’s attorney, Kirk Osborn, had filed a motion revealing in minute-by-minute detail Reade Seligmann’s alibi, including a videotape of Seligmann a mile away at the time of the alleged attack;
  • Nifong had obtained identifications only by instructing police to violate their own procedures and confine the lineup to lacrosse players.

How did Chafe respond to these revelations? By chastising those who elected to “hem and haw over the details of what did or did not happen.” And by approvingly quoting an (anonymous) alleged student: “You know, we are all responsible for this, because we have not held accountable those who have committed sexual assaults on our campus.” It’s rather hard to miss the presumption of guilt in that statement.

In his May essay, Chafe compared the “Duke lacrosse fiasco” to Hurricane Katrina(!), since, “In one horrific evening early this spring at Duke University, the tensions of race, sexuality, town-gown conflict, and class inequity came together in an explosion that laid bare the fault lines that threaten our capacity to act as a human community.” The time had come, he declared, to “make it ‘uncool’ to be known as the living unit that is famous for the quality of the alcohol that will get women drunk so they will be more vulnerable to sexual advances.” In recent weeks, Chafe has claimed to be genuinely puzzled that anyone could have interpreted these statements as presuming guilt.

A few weeks ago, Chafe and five colleagues penned a column demanding that the campus “move forward,” lest people attempt to examine the arts and sciences faculty’s springtime rush to judgment. The anonymous, alleged student from Chafe’s May article made her reappearance, though by February, her quote had slightly changed: she now maintained that “we are all guilty because we have never called to account those people who have engaged in date rape or sexual assault.” Another anonymous, alleged student from the May article also resurfaced, again with a slightly different quote.

Though the names of five other professors were attached to the February 2007 column, its themes and structure were identical to Chafe’s May 2006 Chronicle article. It is remarkable that after everything to have emerged since May 3, 2006, Chafe’s perspective on the lacrosse case appears frozen in time.

In discussing those with whom he disagrees, meanwhile, Chafe’s words have demonstrated no “willingness to presume good faith on the part of anyone, or to admit that there could be some justice on all sides of the issue.”

In October, when asked by New York Sun reporter Eliana Johnson about blog criticism of the Group of 88, Chafe refused comment, announcing, “I don’t want to dignify that baloney.”

In a recent interview with Diverse, he characterized the Group’s critics in the following way: “There’s a whole industry out there seizing on the opportunity to pillory a group of faculty members as leftist, racist, elitist, avant-garde Marxist people. They are creating a wonderful straw person to attack.”

So where, exactly, in Chafe’s comments or analysis about the case is a willingness to presume good faith on the part of anyone, or to admit that there could be some justice on all sides of the issue”? It appears as if Chafe is unwilling to hold himself to the same standards that he demands of others.


Anonymous said...

"There’s a whole industry out there seizing on the opportunity to pillory a group of faculty members as leftist, racist, elitist, avant-garde Marxist people. They are creating a wonderful straw person to attack.”

I love it. Straw man has become straw person.

Gary Packwood said...

KC Quoted...“There’s a whole industry out there seizing on the opportunity to pillory a group of faculty members as leftist, racist, elitist, avant-garde Marxist people. They are creating a wonderful straw person to attack.”

Pillory Defined (For Those in Need):
1. Expose to ridicule or public scorn
2. Punish by putting in a pillory
3. Savage: criticize harshly or violently; "The press savaged the new President"; "The critics crucified the author for plagiarizing a famous passage"
4. A wooden instrument of punishment on a post with holes for the wrists and neck; offenders were locked in and so exposed to public scorn.

I guess # 5 would be Blogs

Unknown said...

I'm surprised that the group of faculty members objects to the characterizations as they seem pretty accurate to me.

This kind of post is like shooting ducks in a barrel for KC.

At least Brodhead is keeping a low profile.

january said...

I read the singularly unimpressive AP article. I think author Justin Pope,is scared of bloggers.

Keep up the good work, Professor Johnson!

Anonymous said...

William Chafe's role in this whole mess is one of the hardest to understand. I know many history professors who think race is the central theme in American history and slavery the central issue in world history and who might well have fallen into the same trap Chafe did at the outset. Nevertheless, I think (and certainly hope) most of them would have seen and admitted their errors fairly early on. Maybe some strange combination of lack of humility, lack of character, and lack of critical thinking skills is involved, but who knows?

Anonymous said...

Chafe's op-ed states; "Emmett Till was brutalized and lynched in Mississippi in 1954 for allegedly speaking with too easy familiarity to a white woman storekeeper. And in 1958, two black male children under age 10 were imprisoned in North Carolina because they allegedly had kissed two white girls in a game-the infamous "kissing case" in which North Carolina became a target of ridicule around the world."

Professor Chafe: What would be the historical context through which you would interpret 4 blacks in 1992, murdering my cousin by shooting him in the head saying "Let's do whitey?" Should I think that every time a crime is committed against a white by a black that it has historical context or should I think that perhaps these people are acting as depraved individuals? Groupthink is poison to the soul. Groupthink in regard to crime takes the blame off individuals. Groupthink is a tool that has been used to portray blacks as victims and has kept them from seeing themselves as individuals and taking responsibility for their actions. Groupthink says Emmett Till's murder was more important than my white cousin's murder because Emmett was black. I think it is the mindset of groupthink that enabled the FA to conjure up a story of being raped by 20 men, no 10, no 5, no 3, no 2, no 1 man, and it was the mindset of groupthink that made Nifong go after the Lacrosse team.

becket03 said...

Pardon me for skipping over Chafe to address the deplorable comments of Wahneema Lubiano in the N&O report. The Professor (and I use the term lightly), who claimed shortly after the "Listening" ad was published that she realized it "drove a stake through the collective heart" of the lacrosse team, now has the unmitigated, shameless gall to state, "We were not talking about the case."

Now why wasn't the N&O reporter, Justin Pope, able to call her on that obvious falsehood? Did he not know, as I, a casual observer, did know immediately, that Lubiano had infamously made the "stake through heart" comment? Didn't he know that that comment irrefutably ties, if not all the Group of 88, at least Lubiano herself to "talking about the case" in the ad?

It's so tiresome to be able to pick out these lapses, day in and day out, when reading the MSM. Why should anybody give reporters like Pope any credibility? I sure don't, and haven't for years and years.


Anonymous said...

Many of the Duke 88 are unable to go were the evidence leads. All facility at a major intuition should be trained at some level to follow evidence, draw meaningful hypotheses based on the evidence, and change the original hypotheses if new evidence conflicts with the original hypotheses.

It makes one question what is a scholar.

Anonymous said...

Professor Chafe appears to be yet another person who has not gotten the message about the harsh reality of the digital world: What you say does not go away. You try to change the subject, you can lie like a dog, you can do whatever, but you cannot un-say what has gotten into the record.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Chafe is a problem for Duke. Cooper and Coman are problems for justice in North Carolina. It has been 59 days and counting since Cooper and Coman replaced Nifong in stringing out the lacrosse rape hoax. When will the state and agents do the right thing: drop the charges, apologize and bring charges against Nifong?

Anonymous said...

Evidently it's an established tactic of the 88 to invent "quotes" by non-existent "students" -- anonymous ones at that -- to support their positions. Journalists rightly get fired for this sort of thing. It's difficult to understand why university professors should be held to a lower standard. Academic freedom presumably doesn't include the freedom to make stuff up, does it? It's hysterical that the "quotes" from Chafe's imaginary friends actually change from article to article. The guy's supposed to be a historian for heaven's sake.

Anonymous said...

Nifong Hat Trick said****

I totally agree with you that race is not the central issue in most crime but it is individual responsibility. Many academics and journalists are too lazy to adequately research the facts and confuse their opinions with facts.

Anonymous said...

Chafe's relating the lacrosse players to the whites who lynched Emmett Till is outrageous; Lubiano's statement that the "listening" ad "drove a stake through the collective heart" of the lacrosse team is chilling. It's not easy to forget her violent language, and it should not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

"There’s a whole industry out there seizing on the opportunity to pillory a group of faculty members as leftist, racist, elitist, avant-garde Marxist people. They are creating a wonderful straw person to attack.”

The key point that has come out in this entire case has been the liberal politics of victimhood.
Ethnic and gender studies only EXIST because of the politics of victimhood. Nifong only prosecuted/persecuted this case to take advantage of the politics of victimhood.

Academically, most of the gang of 88 have no business being professors in any university. Their 'studies' are basically victimhood dogma and their 'scholarship' is the most superficial kind of leftist dogma.

They seized upon this case in an attempt to continue to pump up the REAL hoax, the allegation that minorities/women are down because white males put them there and keep them there. That is not just their cause celebre, for this case but their very raison d'etre.

The appropriate thing for the trustees of Duke to do is to disestablish these departments, for they are the REAL hoax at Duke, and to give the Gang of 88 their walking papers, with Brodhead in the lead as they go out the door.

Anonymous said...

Having met a number of lacrosse players and their parents, Chafe's comments seem even more outrageous to me. Yes, he may have a good "reputation" in the history "profession," but as far as I am concerned, the man is a fraud.

Having a knowledge of events in this country does not qualify one to be able to squeeze his own narrative when something occurs. What Chafe did -- and continues to do -- is despicable, and I have not an ounce of respect for him.

Anonymous said...

The tortured logic these academes go through to protect such fragile egos is stunning.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous, tedious and revolting -these 88 gangsters with their fictitious "students", always ready to cough up a convenient quote! But let's not hem and haw about trivial matters such as whether such "students" exist - let's listen to them.

Wait! I hear one: it's whispering Chafe guessed, and guessed very wrong. He jumped hard on the wrong bandwagon, and its wheels fell off and spilled ol' Chafe out on the road. He is simply blustering and lying now.

As for those other "students", well, the South is full of ghosts. At Duke and in Durham they make outrageous phone calls that no one else hears, send false emails to LAX players, complain loudly and incessantly to Wahneema Lubiano...heck, one even appears every semester in thugnigga's first class, asking "who's the nigger?"

Apparently, it looks just like Huck Finn's Pap.

Ironically, in the LAX case, practically the only ghost that isn't present is the ghost of Emmett Till. Ghost Till wants nothing to do with this fraud. Too bad: if that weren't the case, maybe it could sit there and explain reality to the specter of Chafe's lost credibility.

Anonymous said...

"Move on" means, just as it did in the Clinton Administration:

"Obviously we did something reprehensible, but we're not going to admit to it, and we're tired of hearing others talk about it."

Anonymous said...

Memo to Chafe on how rational people think:

1. Person A compares Group B to Group C.
2. Group B is known to have committed a heinous act (say, lynching someone)
3. Rational people then infer that Person A is implying that Group C also committed a heinous act (say, raping someone).

This is because it would make no sense to use Group B as a reference point if the objective of the exercise was not to imply / definitively state that Group C has the same characteristic.

Chafe, whether he wants to admit it or not, is leftist, racist, and elitist. I'll reserve judgment on the avant-garde Marxist description for now. People like him have no business teaching anyone anything about history.

I gather from comments made by other commenters that Chafe has established somewhat of a reputation for serious scholarship in history. That such a person, who doesn't apparently understand the basics of a rational thought process as presented above, could attain such a reputation indicates to me the sorry state of education as practiced by many in this country today.

gak said...

nifongs hat trick said
"and it was the mindset of groupthink that made Nifong go after the Lacrosse team."

There I must respectfully disagree. I believe it was pure and simple greed that caught him.

Anonymous said...

It has become apparent that the 88 were well accustomed to making unchallenged pronouncements.

They are ill equipped to defend their poorly staked out positions, and too arrogant and small minded to even realize that everyone can see the intellectual sloth and mean spiritedness that animates their continued attempts to portray themselves as worthy of respect from anyone serious of mind.

Chafe is the worst. He should know better. What a disgusting little man he must be. Wretched. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

Mr Chafe, I know you read this...

Tell me Sir, what is it like to be G88 National laughing stock member. In any circle that is actually populated by people with a certain seriousness to them and their labors, you and your ilk are regarded akin to dandruf. Kind of annoying but not really of any impact.

You serve merely as a comedy relief.

Good show.

Anonymous said...

Want a scary thought? Think how many graduate students look up to and admire him.

Anonymous said...

CrimeStopper note from yesterday;

How often does the board meet?
Is this the first time over the past year that the board will have talked about their poster?
Why is Addison still the DPD liason with CS?
Have any of the board members resigned, or do they all support the language and action of the poster?

Sorry does not solve or serve this case.

gak said...

I'm looking forward to watching Vanderbilt up in Tn. I'm told that Baker is now there and he has a history of causing trouble. Should be interesting to see if that prediction comes true.

Anonymous said...

"If it is not right do not do it; If it is not true do not say it." - Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

This quote simplifies Western Civilization studies. The "diverse" approach is presented from the race/gender/class warfare frauds, hence their need to deconstruct.

Anonymous said...

Because of the NCAA I have been speaking with a number of former UNC people I know (mostly to rub in a #6 seed). But the discussion has all quickly transcended to the problems with Duke. In every case, including a former elected official still living in D.C., they were bewildered why the Duke administration or alumni have not done more to improve the situation, and the fact that Duke's reputation is declining.

Anonymous said...

Today marks one year since the accuser made allegations of rape against members of the Duke lacrosse team.

A lot has haappened in the last year-- Nifong is off the case and facing suspension or disbarrment, the accuser's credibility is in shreds, there is increasing evidence of a police conspiracy, and we know much more about hidden DNA evidence that exonerates the players.

What remains, however, are felony kidnapping and sexiual offense charges against Collin, Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and Dave Evans. They and their families have had legal bills of $3 million and no end in sight.

The special prosecutors have had the case for two months now and they are following the pattern of delay that has marked this case.

It's time to drop the charges.

While Special Prosecutors Coman and Winstead are reviewing the case, Cooper himself stated that he would make the final call on whether to drop the charges.

I urge you to e-mail Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper at (form at bottom of page):

Or even better, write or fax him a letter, or call his office:

9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

Telephone: 919-716-6400 • Fax: 919-716-6750

Unknown said...

“Why,” Chafe mused, “are most African Americans of a lighter hue than Africans from Nigeria? Because at some point in the past, or present, white males have ‘had their way’ with black women . . .

I wonder if the good professor ever considered there could be African Americans of a lighter hue than Africans from Nigeria because at some time black males have 'had their way' with white women. Guess not because that doesn't hold white men responsible for all the problems he perceives existing in this world.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama: white mother, black father. Halle Berry: white mother, black father. I could go on, but what's the point? Mr. Chafe is obviously someone who doesn't like actual facts to get in the way of a good story. Many African-Americans are light-skinned because of relationships that had absolutely nothing to do with the subjugation and/or exploitation of black women by white men.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Chafe truly believes that there can be justice on all sides of an issue, I wish he would explain exactly what "justice" exists on Ms. Mangum's side. Is Mr. Chafe suggesting that Mangum was justified in falsely accusing three men of gang rape because she was angry that the LAX players were upset with her and Kim Roberts for taking their $800 and then "dancing" for just a couple of minutes? Or is he suggesting that Mangum was justified in falsely accusing three men of gang rape because she was angry that Kim Roberts and one of the LAX players allegedly exchanged racial slurs outside after the "dance" had ended? Or perhaps Mr. Chafe is suggesting that Mangum is justified in falsely accusing three men of gang rape because the LAXers were "racist" enough to request a white and a hispanic dancer, rather than a black dancer. (But then that wouldn't fit with Mr. Chafe's assertion that the LAX players were deliberately exploiting a black woman, would it?). Or maybe I'm too narrowly focused on the actual events. Perhaps Mr. Chafe is suggesting, a la Chan Hall, that Mangum was justified in falsely accusing three men of gang rape as some sort of karmic payback to white men in general for all the sins of white men long since dead.

I just don't quite understand what Mr. Chafe is referring to when he suggests that there is "justice" on Ms. Mangum's side of the issue, "justice" that some of us are refusing to acknowledge. I hope he will clarify his point for those of us who are not as smart as he is.

Anonymous said...

Chafe's statements seem to be a more sophisticated version of the NCCU student's claim the "even if they didn't do it, they should be punished to make up for past injustices".

While he is unquestionably right that it was terrible to use stereotyping and prejudices against black people to justify lynching individuals for imagined rapes, he seems to completely miss the point of what has happened on his own campus.

At Duke, a lynch mob, cheered on by bigots like himself have used their own preconceptions and stereotypes of white male athletes to justify the terrible things that have been done to the accused and their families.

William chafe: Hypocrite of the year.

Anonymous said...

Scoreboard 2007 -

NCCU - one woman murdered, one woman raped.

Duke - 0 and 1.

NCCU Wins!

Anonymous said...

“Why,” Chafe mused, “are most African Americans of a lighter hue than Africans from Nigeria? Because at some point in the past, or present, white males have ‘had their way’ with black women . . .

Chafe and his ilk should study whether the product of interracial sex between blacks and whites have on balance been a boon for modern America.

Anonymous said...

If Chafe were to apply his vast intellect to whether or not interracial sex between blacks and whites have on balance been a boon for modern America he would have to confront many things that he would not like. His own identity, perhaps. Whether or not America is a good place to live. Whether or not he is prosperous.

If he found out anything positive about the African's experience in America, where would that leave him - would he chose to continue to hate? Would he have to change his mind? Maybe give up identity and group politics? Maybe admit that being a Marxist is not a good thing? That Jihad is killing Africans even now?

Oh, so many straw people, so little time...

Anonymous said...

I continue to be appalled by Chafe, and Wood, my former professors. I write 'former' because I now disavow their teachings. They have betrayed their own students of yesterday and today. I will not be donating to the general fund any more but I will continue to donate money to the Beaufort Marine Lab.

By the way, Bill Chafe, what the heck is an avant-garde Marxist?

Dan McGurn Trinity 1983

Anonymous said...

well I googled avant-garde Marxist, so Bill, no need to contact me.

I guess you are one - trapped in the past.

Dan McGurn

Anonymous said...

"drove a stake through the collective heart" of the lacrosse team,

She now claims she never said that. In a pattern typical of her, she says the reporter made it up.

And I belive retrograde Marxist would be the proper term.

Anonymous said...

KC - off topic-With as much pleading that all of us have done to Gonzales to bring the DOJ into the hoax, now it looks like he is going to be out of a job himself. I am no longer amazed at the different turn of events in this case. Who would have thought?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "leaps to judgment" and resulting enflamed rhetoric...
the charges in the Guilford College "hate crime" case have been dropped.

Anonymous said...

"There are no circumstances under which people are going to be happy to have the institution criticized for its participation in structural inequality," said Wahneema Lubiano, an associate professor or literature and African and African-American Studies, who has been one of the strongest defenders of the ad. "I don't have any regrets. We were not talking about the case. But to avoid the spotlight would have meant walking around a very large elephant."

This is just sickening. Exactly what structural inequality that Duke "participates in" did the ad criticize?

Anonymous said...

Comments here seem to see Chafe as one of the 88. He is not. As Dean of Arts and Sciences for 10 years (1995-2005) he was the one most directly responsible for hiring many of race/class/gender faculty, and in implementing President Keohane's vision of an environment in which they and their views could become more influential. As History Chair before 1995, he reconstructed that department to stress race/class/gender scholarship. He is very important to understanding how Duke has changed over the past 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Let's hear it for the diversity of sea creatures. Dan McGurn at 11:19, good for you for switchig your donations to the Duke Marine Lab at Beaufort. I made that same switch about a decade ago when I realized postmodernism was infecting the English Department during the reign of Stanley Fish and when Duke Press became an embarrassment to me with its publication of so many light-weight, agenda-driven books.

For alumni who are disgusted with the attitude of a group of humanities professors but still want to donate to Duke, I suggest that you direct your donations away from Trinity and the general fund and make it very clear to the staff of the Annual Fund why you are doing so.

1967 alum

Anonymous said...

In Dr. Chafe's world view, "all sides of the issue" consists of those critical of the words and deeds of Duke's race/class/gender faculty on one side and everybody else of the other side.

By admitting there could be some justice on all (i.e., the two) sides, Dr. Chafe is acknowledging that, you know, the rape thing, it like, maybe, might not literally have actually occurred in the strictest sense of reality - while simultaneously demanding that the critics accept that the G88's sense of justice drove the Group to singularly address only larger societal issues (and definitely not that rape thing).

Anonymous said...

Chafe's comments are absurded on the face ot it unless one lynching justifies another one. In any case, Chafe's behavior lacks good judgement and common sense. He shot off his mouth before he knew what he was talking about. He still doesn't know what he is talking about, nor does he have the sense to shut up. He has no "street" smarts at all. Hey, Jesse and Al got the word about the situation and left town. True that, but meanwhile, perhaps Chafe can adopt little "Baby Duke" and give the newest baby a home.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Johnson:

I think you do the right thing in exposing Chafe's role in this story. I can imagine some, however, (mis)interpreting this post as beating on a dead horse. While it has value as a systematic presentation of what he said, it does not offer new information.

I think there are two angles that it might be worth exploring in the future.

The first is Chafe the historian. You are uniquely qualified to answer the several questions raised by posters concerning the way Chafe operates, the standards of research and evidence in his field and, possibly, the quality of his scholarship. (Based on his utterances on this case, I am inclined to discount whatever he has written on the history of the civil rights in this country. I understand, however, that he has a good reputation in the field.)

The second angle concerns his role as Dean for ten years. I understand that in that capacity he has hired several of the 88s, in particular the most noisy ones (Halloway, Lubiano, Baker, etc.). I thus think that his role in this story is much more important than his statements suggest. If the argument is that the 88s are the product of a "culture", he seems to one of the main players -- if not the main player -- in the creation and empowerment of that culture at Duke.

Anonymous said...

This is just sickening. Exactly what structural inequality that Duke "participates in" did the ad criticize?

At the "Shut Up and Teach" event, I learned that some Duke faculty consider all white people to be racists. The ones that don't know they are racists are also "ignorant" and need to be taught that they are racist.

Anonymous said...

Just today I wrote Prof. Lubiano a respectful, yet clear e-mail hoping to get into some kind of dialogue. There is no doubt my e-mail put her on the defensive immediately, even though I did state I felt hateful e-mails and remarks toward her were not condoned and that I believed she could do good work toward some real issues at Duke (and elsewhere). Instead of discussion, my e-mail addresses were filtered. I would have never posted our "conversation" on this or any site, just as I have not posted an e-mail exchange with a reporter I had issue with recently, except her "non-response" responses are so immature I wanted many to witness what kind of individual(s) we are dealing with. My e-mails to and from the reporter I mentioned were all open & civil. Below (read in reverse order):


What part of "I do not agree with your or your characterizations of my / our actions" do you not understand? I am not engaging in a dialogue with someone who insults me. A number of insults followed by a demand for apology when I do not agree that I have done wrong is not an invitation to a dialogue; it is the beginning of verbal fisticuffs. Find another friend to stalk.


At 11:36 AM 3/14/2007, you wrote:

Professor Lubiano,

While you are at it you can place this address in your filter as well I guess. It baffles my mind how an educator of your stature would not engage in some kind of dialogue with an alum of the very University you work for. We are in absolute disagreement over your actions of the past year, there is no doubt about that. However, instead of taking the opportunity to discuss this fact you invoke a childish response of "nah, nah, nah, nah, you can't e-mail me anymore". Fine, instead of coming across as a reasonable person with the ability to, in the very least, TRY and see someone else's point of view, you have simply cemented the argument, with me at least, that you are so far out there the impact of your personal efforts to make real issues better will be minimal at best.


Dear ,

I do not agree with you or your characterizations of my / our actions
as you list them below; therefore, I am not going to apologize. You
do not need to waste any more of your efforts in this matter.

Now that I've responded to you, I am placing your email address in my
email filter so that I do not receive any more email messages from you.


We did not capitalize on unlawful, absurd, hateful charges against
these young men.

At 11:35 AM 3/14/2007, you wrote:

Professor Lubiano,

>I have read again that you regret in no way the ad placed in The
>Chronicle last year. I also know that you most likely received
>hateful e-mails because of it and your continued stance that it
>didn't play a part in condemining 45 young men. I do not condone
>hateful remarks being sent to you. However, I also disagree with
>you and other professors who signed onto the ad, not because I do
>not believe there are issues that should be dealt with at Duke, but
>because all of you used these young men and the rape hoax to do so.
>After it has become absolutely clear these young men did not commit
>a crime, I am surprised you and your peers can not simply apologize
>for the timing of the ad and the efforts you made to capitalize on
>unlawful, absurd, hateful charges against these young men. So many
>more would take your overall efforts at Duke seriously if you and
>others would simply do that. Just say you're sorry. You are
>kidding nobody but yourself (and others incapable of admitting a
>mistake)if you maintain that you did nothing wrong and your efforts
>will suffer because of it. The very issues you hold dear and want to
>repair in this world are shining brightly into the eyes of these
>young men...racism, sexism, profiling...and they are every bit the
>victims you and your peers want to support. Please do so.

Anonymous said...

No defender of Wahneema Lubiano, but in fairness, the remark about "driving a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team," in the original ESPN article, was the reporter's characterization of her thoughts ant not a direct quotation. Reporters being what they are (i.e., sometimes a bit more interested in shaping a dramatic story with colorful prose than in being 100% faithful to the intent of their interviewees), it's possible this characterization was a fair amount stronger than what Ms. Lubiano actually said or suggested, and that she never used this particularly dramatic image (with its implicit comparison of the lacrosse team to vampires). That being said, in her denials, Ms. Lubiano has offered no clarification of what, in fact, she did say or suggest, so we are left to speculate whether the ESPN reporter was way off base or got it just about right.

Anonymous said...

Oops, that should be "and not a direct quotation," not "ant."

Anonymous said...

1:55: Why even waste your time with Lubiano? She's nothing more than a venal, small- (and closed-) minded "academic" hack of the worst ilk relegated to one of the (regrettably growing number of) "sewer" departments. This is why Duke's academic reputation is headed for the toilet. Why the Trustees put up with such garbage is far, far beyond me. Shame on all of them.

These folks deserve each other as well as what is about to descend upon them. Hear that growing rumbling sound over the horizon folks? That's the now-faint sound of a veritable squadron of plaintiff law firms literally climbing on top of each other vying for a piece of the civil litigation. They are going to turn Duke's endowment and liability policies--if applicable coverage exists--into one big pinata. You folks down there in Durham think things have been uncomfortable to date? Just wait until the civil litigation ramps up. You haven't felt real discomfort unless you've had the expensive "pleasure" of enduring discovery requests and depositions. And they'll be rolling soon.

Let's see if Lubiano (and her compatriots) has the same sort of "stones" when it comes time to answer the parade of lawsuits headed her direction. Turning off her e-mail just won't hack it. Trust me.

AMac said...

anon 1:55pm --

Actually, I'm impressed with Prof Lubiano's responses to you, as they are civil and grammatical.

She and the other leaders of the Group of 88 have indicated clearly that their idea of dialog is "(You) shut up and (we'll) teach." Her fanciful explanations for her misdeeds should convince you that, indeed, she did no wrong and has nothing to apologize for. She thinks.

She's figured out how to use email blacklists. Good, nobody should be forced to engaged in conversation. If the remainder of the 88 learn this skill, that might dampen their complaints of email harassment.

As far as dialog--what's left?

Michael said...

Maybe the interview with WL was taped. Perhaps an email to the reporter to see if he/she has notes or taped the interview would prove interesting.

becket03 said...

3:02 PM

Thanks for clarifying the source of the Lubiano "stake through the heart" remark. I suppose I've read only secondary sources for that remark, and didn't realize it was not a direct quote, or at least a comment contained in quotations marks.

Having said that, I did some research, and here's what ESPN wrote: "Lubiano knew some would see the ad as a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team." It strains credulity to suppose that the reporter would indulge in excessive literary license and come up with the vampire allusion himself, without the metaphor ever having been used in conversation with Lubiano.

Also in that same ESPN article, we get more evidence that Lubiano knew the ad targeted the players. The article says Lubiano "had heard for years about the poor reputation of the lacrosse team, heard some of her students call them racists." She was all about slamming the players, all about smearing them. That's why it's so mind boggling to me that a) she now denies the ad was about the lacrosse case, and, b) professional journalists like AP Education reporter Justin Pope take her at her word, and fail to do a simple google search, which would prove irrefutably that she's a liar.


Anonymous said...


Lubiano's computer and correspondence will be examined by the 3's attorneys. I consider her to be a conspirator.

JK Huysmans

Anonymous said...

Chafe published an op-ed in the Chronicle asserting that the whites who lynched Emmett Till provided the appropriate historical context....

It's a stretch to call Till's death a lynching. Till was killed by the husband of the woman Till assaulted, not by a mob as the term "lynch" would imply. It was private rather than public retribution.

Anonymous said...

1:55 PM

You would have better results if you were to go out to a field, find a rock, and converse with it.

There are none so blind as those who will not see. That's Lubiano for you.

Unknown said...

There is a word that describes a person "unwilling to hold himself to the same standards that he demands of others."

That word is "Hypocrite."

Anonymous said...

"It's a stretch to call Till's death a lynching. Till was killed by the husband of the woman Till assaulted, not by a mob as the term "lynch" would imply. It was private rather than public retribution."

Mar 14, 2007 6:17:00 PM


Do you relly mean "assaulted" or just "insulted" (by whistling)?

I believe both the husband and his brother-in-law admitted the killing after they were acquitted.

Even if you don't want to accord it 'lynching' status, it was a horribly brutal murder, as evidenced by the state of Till's body. I suppose you could say, lynching or not, whatever they did do was bad enough.

Anonymous said...

I've done some of my own investigating and I recorded a few quotes from white students on campus:

1. I'm afraid to leave my dorm room. The blacks in Durham are so angry and they always target white people. No one cares when I complain.

2. I wish I could have gotton a scholorship to come to this school. Its so expensive, but the admissions officials said that the only funds that were left for scholorships were earmarked for "diversity" candidates.

I was trying to determine if I could come across some of the anonymous students that waneema lubiano spoke to. but, this is all I found.

very interesting I think.


Anonymous said...

Many of the Duke 88 are unable to go were the evidence leads. All facility at a major intuition should be trained at some level to follow evidence, draw meaningful hypotheses based on the evidence, and change the original hypotheses if new evidence conflicts with the original hypotheses.

It makes one question what is a scholar.

Mar 14, 2007 12:57:00 AM

These are humanities faculty, not science or engineering faculty.

Anonymous said...

"There’s a whole industry out there seizing on the opportunity to pillory a group of faculty members as leftist, racist, elitist, avant-garde Marxist people. They are creating a wonderful straw person to attack.”

I love it. Straw man has become straw person.

Mar 14, 2007 12:17:00 AM

A wonderfully funny comment! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Poor Till was beaten to death - This is what we are all fighting aginst and trying to make things better. Chafe minimizes Till's sacrifice by comparing a hoax against this very sad event.

Anonymous said...

A year later, the TV trucks may be gone but the case lingers. Rape charges against Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans have been dropped and District Attorney Mike Nifong has removed himself from the case. Special prosecutors, however, are still evaluating charges of kidnapping and sexual offense.

Is Justin Pope an incompetent reporter, totally ignorant of case developments, or a mouthpiece for power? I'd guess all three.

"I believe the feeding frenzy of the last few months has scarred the intellectual community, largely because of the tone of the e-mails and the insinuations made," Chafe said in an e-mail from Europe, where he is teaching this semester. "There has been little willingness to presume good faith on the part of anyone, or to admit that there could be some justice on all sides of the issue. There is now fear on the part of many faculty to speak out lest they too become targets."

So these tenured faculty are silent because they fear becoming "targets" of criticism. That's so rich. Might as well abolish tenure and just fire them.

"This situation did harm to many, many different parties," Brodhead told the AP in an exclusive interview. "If it has done good to a single one, I don't have much sense of that."

Yup, some people had their feelings hurt because their deplorable conduct was deplored. Maybe they even got some nasty emails. Three young men face decades of imprisonment, have lost a year of college, have been tarred in major national news outlets as rapists, face millions of dollars in legal bills, ....

Fine sense of perspective, President Brodhead.

Brodhead should be fired, right now.

Anonymous said...

After a year of enduring the train wreck that you and your semi-educated Geico-esque cavemen clowns called the Gang of 88 have instigated---for your own self-serving purposes---I can only say this to you William Chafe:

Every time I see your fatazz or read a sleazy word typed by your crinkley, liver-spotted paws, I feel like throwing up.

You and the gawky caveman Hal Crowther should go on a cruise together.

Duke lacrosse parents have perhaps put enough stash in your bulky, over-sized pockets to pay for the trip.

BTW, if you ever tire of being ridiculed for the gross old hag of a man that you are......and if you ever tire of trying to harm innocent young men at the university that employs you...... are magnificently qualified for the Ned Beatty role when they make the sequel to Deliverance.

Now sign up for some acting classes and make a difference out there!

Ya he-aah?


Anonymous said...

some of you writing on here are seriously ignorant of us history for you to try to say that the relatively recent black male and white female relationships(mostly occuring after 1970) are responsible for the lighter skin tone most american blacks have compared with african blacks. Chafe is correct in saying that it is almost all due to historic sex abuse and exploitation of white males and black females in slavery. for example, the second census of Virginia, about 1800, showed that 50 % of the black people in the state were mulato, that is half black and half white and as sexual contact between white females and black males was a crime punishable by law with death and castration, this was all due to white male-black female sex. special laws were enacted that made sure the product of these relationships would not follow the condition of the father but follow the mother's condition and remain a slave and so could be sold(in english common law, the opposite is true). this is the infamous one drop rule which states that one drop of black ancestry makes you black; southern whites enacted this rule so they could buy and sell their own half black children for profit(which they did frequently). the only exception in the us was in Louisiana, which was french and they had a different approach, often freeing the pregnant black woman and the children, making a separate class of mulatto blacks called the free gens de color, or the creoles. White woman-black man sex was still prohibited even in LA.

After the civil war freed all blacks, the Jim Crow period began and as access to black women decreased, so did new mulattos but as you can see by the Strom Thurmond story, such relationships still went on; white female and black male contact was still prohibited and this was the number one offense that led to a lynching. the lynching often consisted of castrating and mutlitating the body of the black man accused, traditionally the man was hanged but also some were burned at the stake. often the whole white community came to see the lynchings and postcards were made of this and the fingers of the black man were often given to children as momentos. Often, when the black man was kidnapped at his home( if he was not taken from the jail with the help of the sheriff), the black women of the home were also raped and verbally abused for good measure prior to the lynching. a lynching may not always involve black male-white female accusations--it could sometimes result from revenge taken by the white males of the community on a black male interfering with their priviledges/or hurting a white person. The last documented lynching in Franklin county is an example: a local black sharecropper was lynched after decapitating his white landlord. the white landlord was raping the black man's daughter at the time and there were allegations the white man had raped her older sister as well. The black man rescued his daughter and killed her attacker. For standing up for his family, this man was castrated, hung, burnt and his cabin burned down and all three of his daughters raped by the local kkk. Emmitt Till was a similar lynching--he was horribly brutalised for whistling at a white woman in a candy store.

when black people hear the duke lax story, of 30+ white men racially jeering at 2 black girls and then one of the girls alleging she was raped and assaulted, that is the awful history that comes to black people's minds and no amount of whishful thinking, "boys will be boys", "the av is a criminal so she is lying" and all the things you say on these blogs changes the fact that the incident smacks of the historic exploitation and mistreatment of black women. You all are just angry because people like Chafe are pointing that out.

Anonymous said...

To: anon @ 1.12am

Thanks for the history lesson.

Now, do you agree that in the Duke Lax case no such abuse took place? Or are you implying that it did?

Also, do you agree that the abuse you described so clearly no longer takes place as systematically as it did -- if at all? Or are you implying that it stll does?

You see, Chafe is free and welcome to teach this material in his history classes. He is free and welcome to discuss it in public in the appropriate context at the appropriate time. It is, however, crystal clear by now -- and it has been for months -- that this material has no connection whatsoever to the Duke case. So, his insisting on its relevance is dishonest and, worse, makes no contribution to educating the public about the tragedy of the past.

In fact, I submit to you that Chafe's contribution to the broader debate on race is negative because mixing things that did happen -- and, as you point out, are well documented in the historical record -- with things that did not happen -- the alleged gang rape at Duke -- belittles the significance of the former.

Apparently Chafe is uncapable of listening to himself and thus realize that reasonable people do not hear what he thinks he is saying.

As to the black community's response to some of the commentary that you chastise, I submit to you that here once again Chafe is at fault. Their emotional response to perceived attempts to deny the past is amply justified. His dragging it into a situation where it does not belong is not. In fact it is bound to hurt the very feelings of those whom he claims to champion since it creates misunderstanding and unnecessary controversy.

I would encourage you to practice what Chafe preaches, that is, assume the best in others' motives and intentions. Some of the comments on this blog can be interpreted -- and I surely do interpret them so -- as pointing out that times have changed and that mixed-race sex that results in procreation is now largely consensual. Acknowledging this simple fact -- that times have changed and that progress has been made -- might set the whole debate on a very different, more productive path. Chafe seems unwilling or unable to do so. Which is why he cannot see his error -- the information he provides is historically accurate but fundamentally irrelevant to the Duke case.

Finally, as the child of mixed-race parents, I find his insiting on the idea that blacks of a lighter hue are -- even today -- the product of "tainted" relations where "white men had their way" deeply offensive and dishonest. Many posters here picked on that. Pointing out that Obama's mother is white illustrates vividly how stupid Chafe's generalization is. Or are we to believe that Obama too is the product of a "tainted" relation where a white woman had her way with a black man?!? Of course not! The problem with Chafe's remark is that he seems to be totally uncapable of realizing that we live in a complex world where his crass simplifications do not resonate with the experience of most people. I find this a stunnig mistake for a historian. Of all people he should realize the importance of perspective: what abuse took place then does not necessarily take place now; what people found acceptable then is not necessarily what they find acceptable now; how people of different races and ethnicity saw each other then is not necessarily how they see each other now.

Anonymous said...

“willingness to presume good faith on the part of anyone, or to admit that there could be some justice on all sides of the issue”?

A closer reading of this comment reveals an even more fundamental flaw than the professor's wholesale dismissal of his critics - even as he disingenuously attempts to present himself as the voice of sweet reason and civil dialog. Let's keep in mind that there is absolutely no compatibility between the account of the accuser and that of the LAX team members who attended the party. This is, then, not a classic "he said -she said" case where both sides admit an initial consensual sexual encounter and where the question is whether the female party was forced or coerced into an unwanted level of sexual contact. No member of the LAX team has adopted a consent defense and the accuser has never described this incident as a business transaction that went further than she wanted to go. There is no middle ground here; either the accuser is a victim of a brutal sexual assault, or, she is a liar who has used the justice system in a cynical attempt to secure an eventual lucrative civil suit, and has done so by willfully framing innocent persons. A professor at an elite university, who, when confronted with overwhelming evidence that later of these two scenarios is far more likely than the former, responds to this inconvenient fact by spewing some mushy headed crap about "justice on all sides of the issue", rather than recognizing the injustice done to the accused unwittingly provides an embarrassing portrait of America's system of higher education. He also invites public scrutiny of the process that allowed him to secure his position.
J. Brenner

Anonymous said...

These sorry people representing higher education in this country have made a cottage industry out of crap that may or may not have anything to do with the truth. It doesn't seem to matter to them what they say. They are too arrogant to be fair minded or even handed. Their behaviors are the very things they accuse others of being only much worse. The are supposed to be educated. They are the elite. It makes one sick to read their quotes of absorbed rationalizations that are so reflective of their prejudice.