Saturday, April 22, 2006

Duke Rape Case: WIll the truth come out?

Today our eye is on Durham North Carolina, where a stripper is accusing members of the Duke University LaCrosse team of rape? She was hired to dance at a party they were giving and it ended up badly - she claims she was raped... DNA was taken, no match, but yet the case still proceeds... The story has uncovered the ugly face of race, class and sexism in this town where Duke University students are perceived as elitist, snobby and sometimes rowdy - especially the LaCrosse team. Some of the team's members have been arrested and/or reprimanded for charges ranging from public drunkeness to urination to disorderly conduct. The charges have prompted the University President to cancel the team's season and the coach to resign (even though he led them to the national championship last year).

Rush Limbaugh called the alleged victim a 'ho the other day on his nationally syndicated radio program. But further investigation will show that the dancer is a divorced mother of two, working at an escort service to feed her family and work her way through full time classes at nearby North Carolina Central University (a sista gotta do what a sista gotta do!!??),,,

Witnesses say that the girl was intoxicated. But the second dancer who was with her at the party and others say she was sober when she arrived at the party and was out of it when she left. Was she drugged? You know college kids all over the country use that GHB and Extasy and other designer drugs...(what ever happened to the ol' mack lines that get you the girl.. nowadays you gotta drug 'em?.. what's the world coming to?)

The accusations include the utterance of racial epithets by the guys at the party. The white guys got excited and aggressive, the accusers say. One of the guys yelled out "Hey b***, thank your grandpa for my cotton shirt"... Dag, why you gotta go there????
Black women; white men. A stripper; and a team party. Wealthy white athletes – probably from prep schools. The elitist atmosphere of Duke. A working girl from a historically black university (North Carolina Central). Race, class and sex.
Rev. Jesse Jackson points out that ""The history of white men and black women – the special fantasies and realities of exploitation – goes back to the nation’s beginning and the arrival of slaves from Africa. The patterns associated with this history arouse fears and evoke too many bad memories."
Durham, North Carolina is not some redneck township of the old south. The Mayor is black. The police chief is black. Most of the City Council members are black. It's realtively prosperous with high tech being one of the chief business sectors enjoying success in the area. The nation's largest black owned insurance company is headquartered there. There's two black banks. And like any other metropolitan area, there is poverty - disproportionately black. And Duke University (like USC here in Los Angeles) is a private school stocked with affluent, mostly white students located in a mostly black area...
Sure, the case has and will continue to generate race based protests, discussions and debates. But one has to consider that Duke is probably no different than other universities in the way black women are perceived. Rebecca Hall of the University of California at Berkely studies images of African American Women in culture and says "Just turn on a music video. The black woman is somebody who has excess sexuality. It's excess sexuality that white men think they are entitled to"
So... what happened? Is this another Tawanna Bradley case? Is sista pissed because the white guys in the party called her a ni****? Thus did she fabricate the story? Did the raw desire of the white man for the black woman especially in a sexually charged situation such as stripping frighten her to her core? Did these guys really rape her? If the team is exonerated, will she apologize? The DNA failing to match casts reasonable doubt on the case for me. I mean hasn't the advent of DNA resulted in the release of murderers and rapists even though they had served decades in prisons? Is the case being pursued because the DA wants justice or is it politically motivated. After all, he's up for election in May and his opponent is a black man in a town already racially divided... On the other hand, the team is already known for thier unruly behavior. Did they take liberties with a stripper as they got geeked up over her sexuality. Did they feel entitled to help themselves? Even strippers have rights - no means no means no...The case certainly uncovers thje fragile racial peace that has existed in this community for years... What will a finding of not guilty do to those efforts fighting for equal social justice...? Will a guilty verdict silence strengthen the cause of respect for women?

Duke University - Let's pray that the truth comes out..... soon!

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