One of the best posts of the case came last November, as Liestoppers explained how the seemingly “spontaneous” protests that emerged in
Duke graduate student Serena Sebring, who helped organize many of these protests, recently denied that she should be termed a “potbanger”—because a scheduling commitment prevented her from attending the pots-and-pans March 26, 2006 rally. Sebring did attend the March 25, 2006 “candelight vigil” (where protesters sang songs of solidarity with Crystal Mangum just a few hours before Mangum was videotaped performing on a pole—in a most limber fashion—at the Platinum Pleasures Club), as well as several other Mangum-solidarity events last March and April. Sebring appears unaware that the term “potbangers” has come to describe not just those who participated in the March 26, 2006 “castrate” rally, but figures who frequented the extremist anti-lacrosse protests of last March and early April in general.
In this regard, Sebring’s record was second to none: indeed, for a 10-day period in late March and early April 2006, she was a ubiquitous media presence. At the potbangers’ March 27 protest, she urged Duke students and professors to confront the lacrosse players in the classroom: “If you see them in class, ask them who did this.” On March 30, she wrote that “‘innocent until proven guilty’ does not mean that there was no crime. There is ample evidence of assault, even if we don’t yet have charges against specific perpetrators.” She added that she found “DA Mike Nifong and police Cpl. Addison pretty credible,” and dismissed “rumors that some members of the team cooperated early on.”
The next night, Sebring joined Nancy Grace, who termed her “Ms. Serena” and introduced her as a figure who had “organized campus protests.” Sebring asserted that she had uncovered “clear evidence of some sort of an assault having happened. And as a woman on Duke campus, I feel that my safety is not a priority.” (She has never revealed what this “clear evidence” was.) Asked by Grace “why are these people banging pots and pans,” Sebring seemed eager to suggest that she had attended the “castrate” rally: “I think we’re [emphasis added] all just trying to make noise as loudly as possible” with a goal of demanding “more accountability from the administration for the sexual and racial nature of this crime.”
In early April 2006, Sebring mused to the Charlotte Observer, “Now many people wonder: ‘Do Duke students need to be protected from
How, Sebring wondered, could anyone think that Crystal Mangum would “inflict wounds on herself to frame up these players”? (In fact, as Kim Roberts later revealed, Mangum asked her to do just that.) Anyhow, Sebring reminded her fellow ideologues, “The medical staff at the hospital examined the victim and used their expertise to determine that she showed symptoms consistent with rape.” She wildly charged that “defense attorneys have argued [that] there were others at the party who raped this woman.”
Sebring kept the faith two days later, when she joined Group of 88 members Wahneema Lubiano and Thavolia Glymph at an anti-lacrosse player forum. The highlight of the affair: a presenter lamenting about how “since the [negative] DNA results were returned Monday, we [have been] moving backwards.”
Sebring returned to the issue in February, co-signing a letter expressing her “frustrations with the prevailing campus mindset,” which refused to confront how “a myriad of social forces, historical legacies and enduring inequalities—only some of which were implicated in the ‘Lacrosse Party’—helped make the ground ripe for a ‘social disaster.’” It is, she and her co-signatories wrote, “a human disaster when members of our community are made to feel uncomfortable on campus.” It does not appear she was referring to the lacrosse players’ experience last spring. And her earlier, repeated statements of certainty that a rape occurred? Sebring no longer mentioned such items.
This 13-month record perhaps explains why Sebring now maintains that she is “surely not as important in this whole thing as [the blog has] painted me to be.”
Sebring was back in the news last week, when she joined
Sebring also took me to task for suggesting that the “National Day of Truthtelling” had anything to do with the lacrosse case. How, indeed, could anyone have such an impression? After all, UBUNTU’s first stated goal is “to facilitate a broad, community-driven demand for justice for the Survivor of the March 13, 2006 rape.”
Other groups that co-sponsored the “Truthtelling” rally likewise cling to the certainty that a rape occurred. The Freedom Road Socialist Organization hosts an essay (for which Sebring served as an editor) describing “the story of the assault perpetrated by members of the Duke lacrosse team on a young Black woman . . . another brutal incident in the epidemic of sexual and racial violence plaguing this country.” The author of that essay, Bryan Proffitt, is among the directors of Men Against Rape Culture, another “Truthtelling” co-sponsor. As several commenters at the Liestoppers forum noted, other event co-sponsors expressed similar evidence-denying attitudes about the case.
While the rally featured no pots and pans, nor any candelight vigils with hosannas to Crystal Mangum, it did produce the video noted in Sunday’s post.
Some—although, she says, not Sebring—might find it Orwellian that a “National Day of Truthtelling” was organized by a coalition of groups that continue to deny the truth about the lacrosse case. But in the Wonderland that is
Hat tip: People at Liestoppers forums.