Wednesday, April 11, 2007

There's Got to Be a Morning After

So who knew that, in writing about race, sex and media representation and using a particular group of people who will remain nameless as a counter-example to the Rutgers women's team, that I would run headlong into a really odd coalition of people who would spam the heck out of me for 24 hours? My regular readers, from the comments left by two of them, were as bewildered as I was at this turn of events: Carine asked if anyone else thought this was like the "X-Files" -- yup, particularly the coded references to "the 88." Or realizing that you have somehow attracted the ire of a cult that is still waiting for the Confederacy to be allowed to leave the union peacefully.

Please note, if you read them (I would advocate skimming for highlights,) how quickly the comments devolve into race-baiting and race hatred, and that on the other blog, unless the blogger has had the good sense to remove them, anti-black sentiments and descriptions of me as an anti-white feminazi shifted gears late in the game and morphed into Anti-Semitic remarks aimed at no one in particular.

I thought this was pretty interesting, given that I am sheltered enough up here in the good old Northeast that I don't normally see the things I teach about play out in front of me. I also thought it was interesting how much trouble some of the commenters had figuring out what *my* race was, although the issue seems to have been decided by midafternoon (in response to a comment that I was undoubtedly "nappy headed" myself) that I "write too well" to be Black. I also liked the ones, purportedly written by gay people, accusing me of being a really bad queer. Ouch, Mary. Stop it! Stop it!

Neat, eh? I think one of the challenges this poses to blogging is how you create dialogue with an audience without simply providing a forum for a lot of apparently disconnected people to rant about things they are already upset over -- that they then pin on you, the blogger, and attempt to provoke into an argument about something that wasn't the point of the post in the first place. Some of these people, it seems, simply transferred a conversation that they have been having with each other for some time over from the blog that targeted me and into my blog.

I have turned the comments off for the post in question, although they seem to have trickled to a halt: maybe everyone just went to bed, who knows. The lunatic fringe will continue to write me until they are exhausted, so I don't think I am suppressing their freedom of speech. But I left the comments that were there both because of free speech principles (some of the writers are clearly bewildered by this) and as a lesson in blogging. They are also a really good example of what the post was talking about in the first place: why one group of people (white men and women) are recuperable as heroes despite all the negative information (true and untrue) that is out there about them and why another group of people were not allowed to be heroes at all because of who *they* were (black women), despite the information we have about *them.*

It's clear that this kind of talk is quite upsetting to those invested in the racial and sexual order that we live in. The comments in the post below, and at the original blog, are really useful context for thinking about this, as is this sympathetic story about the professional situation of the blogger, Professor Robert "KC" Johnson of Brooklyn College, which suggests why he might have taken the opportunity to go after me in the first place. What you don't get to see is one really odd email that was sent to a random collection of my colleagues (there may be more, but I was copied on this one), and a bunch of other emails I got in two of my accounts (some of which have been repeated in the commments). I also got a few e-mails from faculty at the university-I-will-not-name that said some version of, "Now you know what it is like to work here." Yeah, really. And as I began to realize that the postings were also exhibiting a particular venom toward an African American colleague at Unnamed U. who I knew years ago, only the sense that this was probably not the way to renew our acquaintence kept me from picking up the telephone.

Clearly there are many blogging worlds out there, and I stumbled into one of them inadvertantly by describing what has already been published about a group of people who have become symbolic of a host of grievances felt by those who are mobilized and energized by another blogger.


Anonymous said...

"Please note... how quickly the comments devolve into race-baiting and race hatred,..."
so was it you who wrote:
"That these male lacrosse players ..., almost all of whom are white, have not been repeatedly identified the semi-criminal youth gang that they appear to be..."
Isn't that you who was raising the issue of race in a fairly offensive way ?
"the dancers were, it is clear, physically if perhaps not sexually assaulted..."
isn't this just false ?
"this behavior was said to be part of a pattern of ingrained, anti-social behavior..."
did you read the coleman report, which explicitly said this allegation was untrue ?
"and do we think that women have not been raped at Duke lacrosse team parties? that women under the influence of drugs and alcohol have not been coerced to have sex ..."
If you have information that a crime has been committed, I suggest you contact the police immediately. If you are relying on hearsay, gossip, and innuendo, I suggest you evaluate the evidence before you make such serious (and wholly unfounded) charges.
"that many players who were not involved in this incident, and who did not do anything wrong, still refused to speak about what had happened..."
I have always thought that the ability to take legal advice, and to remain silent on the basis of that advice, is a strong point of american culture. It is fascinating to see that you apparently choose to castigate that behaviour. Do you believe in the abrogation of the right to silence, or is your castigation only for "male...white...semi-criminal youth gang(s)" ?

Strangely enough, Nifong castigated the players for taking legal advice. Yet when he was faced with ethical charges, he lawyered up pretty damn fast. That makes him a hypocrite and a bully.

"They are also a really good example of what the post was talking about in the first place: why one group of people (white men and women) are recuperable as heroes despite all the negative information (true and untrue) that is out there about them and why another group of people were not allowed to be heroes at all because of who *they* were (black women), despite the information we have about *them.*"
and you are missing the point about the replies. You have made a whole bunch of statements that are untrue; is that because it chimes with your meta-narrative of racism ?


80 Proof said...

"why one group of people (white men and women) are recuperable as heroes despite all the negative information (true and untrue) that is out there about them and why another group of people were not allowed to be heroes at all because of who *they* were (black women), despite the information we have about *them.*"

I do not doubt that race has played a part in the Duke Lax scandal. Only someone truly ignorant or unwilling to see what is in front of them would disagree. But I think you are erring on the scale of the involvement.

You seem to see this as a race problem only. I disagree. I think the lax players are now receiving sympathy in part because of the extreme nature of the accusations against them and the vehemence of the initial condemnation. Literally every media outfit, every politician, every journalist jumped on these guys. The crimes they were supposed to have committed were so egregious and deviant from social norms that it must be true!

So to your original point, I don't think it is necessarily a race issue here. These white males have had their civil rights abused from since the day the investigation began. In this year we have known them, our image of them has shifted from evil incarnate to victims. On the other hand, the original victims (the black females) have had their image shifted to false accusers.

You seem to believe that it is simply race which has caused this shift, but I contend that the actual facts of the case, irregardless of the race of those involved, has been the major factor.

(oh, and nice the South will rise again know you can't condemn people on one hand and bait them with the other...but maybe you do know seem to enjoy this attention you are getting...hmm sort of like a shock jock would!)

Anonymous said...

Charges were dropped today. Sorry, TR, maybe next time...

In the meantime, this will help you get caught up on the case. It will take about 8 minutes of your time, but I highly recommend it.

Gimbul said...

Professor Potter,

The LAX case was first brought to my attention by the national media over a year ago. When the story started dying on the major news networks, I started looking for information on the ‘net and stumbled across several blogs devoted to the case. Since then, I’ve been a regular reader of most of the LAX blogs and have been following the case closely. The links there led me to your page and your previous post.

I have never posted anything on any of the LAX blogs. I have found most of the things I would have said had already been posted by people more intelligent than me, or that some of the bloggers’ posts are so ridiculous as to not warrant a response. Either way, I have been content to lurk and learn.

I feel compelled to write because I have a great deal of respect for academia. I have a greatly admire all of my former professors, and I believe that our intellectuals are one of the great strengths of our country. That is why I was so bothered when I read your post concerning the LAX case. I’m surprised to find a post this late in the case that is still trying to demonize a group of white men. If the things that they did were bad enough, then why do you have to resort to making untrue statements to prove your point? All of the evidence negates the accuser’s stories, yet you still assert that the dancers were “clearly” assaulted. You go on to make accusations about the culture of the LAX team, all of which are in direct conflict with the Coleman report. You also suggest, without proof, that women had been routinely abused at LAX parties. You smear a group of women who had the courage to state their support for their friends at a time when almost every other group at the university, as well as a large portion of the country, had already decided that the players were guilty. What’s worse, you use these generalizations and false accusations to try and support an argument that would otherwise be valid.

You won’t ever hear me say that there isn’t racism and sexism in our country. I believe that it is important to talk about all forms of discrimination, not just the stuff that makes it to the news. The accuser did serious damage to the credibility of real rape victims by making her statements. In much the same way, your post does these issues a very real disservice. You invalidate your arguments about very important issues by making false statements. When people try to have a legitimate conversation about the problems of racism and sexism, there will always be detractors who point to posts like this as evidence that the issues are “manufactured” to keep people in a victim status. As a professor you have a responsibility to represent your issues in a way that they cannot be refuted. If people can’t argue with your logic then they will be forced to confront the issues you are presenting.

I don’t know whether my opinion concerns you or not, but I’m giving it to you with great respect for your role in shaping minds, and I hope you will take it for what it is instead of taking it as a personal attack.

Cort Harrington said...

By drawing an analogy between the racist, sexist, despicable and unconscionable remarks of Don Imus and the Duke Lacrosse hoax you have undermined issues I care deeply about and you undermined your own credibility. I have no doubt that the unnamed professor at the unnamed university is a member of the Group of 88. That group should take the lead of Don Imus and apologize. You may have inadvertently stepped in it. Don Imus likewise claims to have inadvertently stepped in it but that is no excuse. By the way I am a liberal, the father of 5, four of whom are currently in either graduate school or undergraduate. One of my daughters is on an athletic team at a NESCAC school. My children are also of mixed race. You should take a hint at the response your comments about Duke generated. No doubt many are from racists and sexists but many are also from people who are offended by posts who give ammo to those sexists and racists.

Joe said...
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Joe said...

Ms. Potter,

It's fascinating (to borrow particularly condescending habit of yours) how you persist in ignoring the points made by the majority of people who tried to correct your misperceptions about the DL case and focus instead on the offensive minority of the comments. Please do not pretend this is not what you're doing--"a cult that is still waiting for the confederacy to be allowed to leave" is not a fair characterization of most of the people who have taken issue with your ignorant statements. To most of us, your race is completely irrelevant; whatever your race, you are filtering the DL case and comments on it through prejudices that are clearly blinding you.

It is preposterous to suggest that people who are knowledgeable about the DL case, the full spectrum of whom are represented in comments here and at Dr. Johnson's blog (lib/con/w/b/gay/straight/old/young/anarchist), believe the DL players are heroes because they're white and the Rutgers players aren't because they were black. In fact, all of these commenters would be very upset if the Rutgers team were charged with rape and the major media--and you--assumed they were guilty. The real issue here is your prejudice, which leads you to assume that other people care as much about race and as little about truth as you appear to care.

It would be wonderful if you could apologize for your mischaracterization of Dr. Johnson and the DL case in the last post, and elaborate on why you think Dr. Johnson's tenure situation explains his disgust with your characterization of the case. I doubt you'll do either of those; this post indicates you would rather insinuate that everyone who knows more than you about the facts of the case and dares to point it out is a racist.

I hope I am not too optimistic in looking forward to your corrections on these issues and your clarification of Dr. Johnson's perceived motivation.


Joseph Bingham

Joe said...

Bennet's point is good. The comparison between Ms. Potter and Mr. Imus is becoming more and more apt--both are making assumptions about a sports team based on their racial prejudices.

It just happens that one team was the victim of criminal persecution, and the other was the victim of a crude slur; the difference is one of degree, in which Imus comes out looking much, much better.

olddeadmeat said...



You are ducking responsibility for your own comments.

Your prior post included assertions accepted by you as fact when there is considerable evidence to the contrary.

Your current post attempts to confuse the issue by ad hominem attacks against some who comment on your board, without addressing the substantive issue other commenters have raised.

Again, I submit, since you raised the issue in your post, you should demonstrate the ability to discard apparent prejudice and review the situation afresh.

Specifically, you state as a conclusion "the dancers were, it is clear, physically if perhaps not sexually assaulted" when there is considerably confusion as to who did what to whom.

Given the circumstances, to preserve your own credibility as a scholar, either back your conclusion with facts or have the grace to acknowledge a possible error.

Should you decline to show your own ability as a scholar by addressing the point at hand you yourself raised, my question to you would be just what is justification for your tenure as a professor?

Michael Gustafson said...

Professor Potter - I'd like to make a comment on "They are also a really good example of what the post was talking about in the first place: why one group of people (white men and women) are recuperable as heroes despite all the negative information (true and untrue) that is out there about them and why another group of people were not allowed to be heroes at all because of who *they* were (black women), despite the information we have about *them.*"

Living in Durham, what happened in the first months of the case was that the lacrosse team, writ large, was not allowed to be innocent because 46 of the 47 were white male athletes. They were all cast as rich, privileged, racist thugs. Regardless of information coming out - no DNA matches, alibi information, etc. - the mass media and even some of my colleagues here called for their suspension and expulsion because of their social markers.

Now, Don Imus, I hope, will be unemployable - not because I am against free speech, but because I am against hateful paid speech. But here's the thing - fortunately, people (and corporations) of good conscience *have* taken a quick and strong stand against him, his words, and the words of his producer. They have made clear to those who have paid for his words that such racist, ignorant, vile remarks are not anything we want to buy.

And so what I do not understand in your post is how the clear, strong, widespread and very public denunciations of Don Imus' commentary means Coach Stringer and her team are denied hero status - when many including me are very much lifting her up as a role model for people in positions of leadership and mentorship; and how the media firestorm that hit the lacrosse players last Spring and the continued statements about their "guilt" even if they aren't guilty equates with recuperation due to race and gender.

AMac said...

Dear Prof. Potter,

Glad to see you posting again on the subject of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax. Unfortunately, you missed the important points that sensible readers tried to convey at your prior entry. Many of these ideas are repeated in the comments that precede this one by Per, Bennett, Gimbul, Cort Harrington, Joe Bingham, and Gus.

Why not take some time out from answering (and creating) ad hominem attacks to address the deficiencies in your arguments that these writers have highlighted? The exercise might prove to be fun as well as illuminating.

My email to you on the subject of the Hoax is copied on this Durham-in-Wonderland thread at 10:39am on Apr 11, 2007. Interested readers can search for the string "Dear Prof. Potter".

Anonymous said...

Dear Tenured Radical,

Sorry, couldn't find your email address to send you my response.

Your post on Imus and the reactions to his comments made a lot of sense. (I won't comment on the Duke controversy). I have a few points I would like to offer in support:

This statement in particular rings (sadly) true: "...traditionally male institutions like athletics or the military, where women are still thought of as unseemly, sexually deviant interlopers." I am a woman, classified as "Other" (neither "Black" nor "White" nor both according to the peculiar pseudo-scientific "racial" taxonomy of this country). For many years, especially during my undergad, I felt ethnic and cultural injustices took precedence over women's issues. After all, one had only to look around the U.S. and its schools and media to see that women had achieved so much and suffered little from the sexism of days gone by. I was almost hostile toward self-professed (mostly Euro-American) feminists who stressed feminine solidarity above all barriers of color or class or culture. But the more I've lived in this country, the more I see that there exists a disease of anti-female sentiment, underlying everything from the deliberately outre' female casting of reality t.v., to young men's (and young women's!) throwing around of words like slut, ho, bitch, the c-word, and women’s hygiene products. (And no, I don't mean women's ironic or empowered use of any of these words).

I am convinced that there is still widespread hostility towards women--whether in positions of power or not-- and that, while major corporations and institutions of higher learning are at pains to downplay it, it is allowed full reign on “shock jock” radio by the Imuses, Sterns, Limbaughs and Lovelines of this world.

Yes, women—especially women of reproductive age—are genuinely viewed as an “unseemly” and “deviant” presence in much more than the military and athletics. Sometimes, sitting in my graduate classes, I wonder if the few men in the program
subconsciously undervalue their female colleagues’ intellectual contributions simply because of the irrefutable fact of female sexuality (which, according to television and film, appears antithetical to philosophical or rhetorical thought).

Imus’s—and his media brethren’s—comments are symptomatic of this disease. The context was the sports arena, the targets were students and athletes. Neither sexual behavior nor hair texture have anything do with these domains, nor do I believe these terms would have been deployed if the teams in question were male or Euro-American female, respectively. Yet the term of choice was one that specifically targets women; at once reduces them to and over-emphasizes and distorts their sexual/reproductive faculties; and, not incidentally, recalls a centuries-long history of racialized sexism against Black women, in particular.

Although I disagree with your invocation of the Duke fiasco, your comments about Imus and his supports are sound.

I have been following the comments posted to discussion boards of national media, and two things have disturbed and dismayed me:

1. Hundreds and possibly thousands of outraged posts by Euro-Americans crying foul, complaining of some imagined double standard that extends free passes to black rappers’ misogyny while “a White person” can’t open his or her mouth without drawing down the wrath of “the African-American community.” These posters seem to truly believe that they are being given short shrift because of their European origins, and that Black people can get away with saying anything about White people. The sheer volume of these angry posts—and their misplaced sense of both entitlement and embattled righteousness—stuns and dismays me.
2. Very few commentators besides yoruself have pointed out the virulent anti-female sentiment of Imus’s (and Stern’s, Limbaugh’s, et. al.) comments and general studio atmosphere.

I think you’ve addressed the latter point very well; I hope you get a chance to check out the discussion boards of Today show’s Al Roker blog, CNN, MSNBC, etc. and speak to the former, as well.



Anonymous said...

I too dislike shrill, unintelligent discourse. But I'm never surprised to see it in response to bigoted assertions such as those made here by TR. What if blacks had been dishonestly accused of rape and wrongly persued by a rogue prosecutor and then, when their innocence is finally established, a blogger dismisses their innocence as beside the point and assets that the real point is, "blacks DO rape white women. They just do." The outrage would be instant and justified, if in some cases somewhat unhinged.

AMac said...

This afternoon, exonerated Duke student Reade Seligman said:

For everyone who chose to speak out against us before the facts were known, I sincerely hope that you are never put in a position where you experience the same pain and heartache that you have caused our families. While your hurtful words and outrageous lies will forever be associated with this tragedy, everyone will always remember that we told the truth, and in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “truth is the best vindication against slander‘. If our case can bring to light the some of the flaws in our judicial system as well as discourage people from rushing to judgment, than the hardships we have endured over this past year will not have been in vain.

Anonymous said...

To all of you who really think that race played no part in the duke lacrosse debacle:

what do you think would have happend if the classes and races were reversed in this case? Not only would all of the accused have been shuffled through a hasty trial designed to convict, and then put in prison for probably 40 to life, but not a word would be spoken about it on any major media outlet-- no matter how many dirty tricks the DA pulled to get a conviction.

and to go a bit deeper, why is it that college campuses remain one of the most likely places for a woman to be sexually assualted, that the perpetrators of nearly all on-campus rapes are white college guys, and yet the majority of men in prison for sexual assualt are people of color? The numbers are MASSIVELY disproportionate. That is true of not only sexual assualt, but a wide variety of crimes.

To say that race and class arean't factors is simply ignoring 400 years of evidence to the contrary.

Flavia said...

Wow, TR--my sympathies. What an. . . interesting first year of blogging you're having!

Anonymous said...

Excellent subjects for discussion, anon, but I fail to understand how falsely accusing three individuals of a crime sheds any light whatsoever on, or even has anyting to do with, those issues. In fact, I would think the whole debacle tended to distract from those issues. Moreover, because the accusations were bogus, I would think it embarrassing to try to raise those issues in this context.

Joe said...


Welcome to the conversation. I'm not sure anyone has suggested that race and class were not involved in this case; they were clearly contributors as (1) the motivation for the rush to judgment of people like TR and (2) the motivation for MN's exploitation.

Joe said...
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Joe said...


Welcome to the conversation. You clearly haven't read the comments which TR pretends to generally represent above.

You can tell TR doesn't read much before she opens her mouth when she refers to Dr. Johnson as a "conservative zealot." How incredible. This is truly perverse instance of stereotyping.

At first, TR simply seemed ignorant about one issue and one person. It is becoming clearer and clearer, however, that she (1) dishonestly represents people who disagree with her, (2) prefers to psychoanalyze their latent biases than consider the substance of their points, (3) has zero interest in gaining any understanding of the issues she raised in the last post, and (4) has incredibly powerful prejudices of her own.

This is not being radical in the sense of being willing to think or accept unorthodox truths, it is a radically self-willed intellectual dishonesty, and is certainly unworthy of tenure.

Anonymous said...

To anon 5:02

I don't think it is as much about race as it is socio-economics. These kids survived the system because their familes had access to resources. On second thought, it's probably legitimate that race and socio-economics are tied in the hypothetical that you posed.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 5:02

Part of this case is that the media firestorm whipped up in this case was severely prejudicial to the defendants; that is not a good thing. Many people, including at Duke University, rushed to judge the defendants as rapists and worse.

The other part of this case is that justice is important; it isn't right for anyone to be railroaded into prison for a crime they didn't commit. That isn't right whatever the colour of their skin.

The idea that justice for the duke LAX players is some sort of racism, or that duke lax supporters don't care about injustice to black people, is both bizarre and offensive.

Sadly, I suspect that your "statistics" about rape are so seriously flawed that they are not worth discussion.

AMac said...

anon 5:02pm wrote --

> To all of you who really think that race played no part in the duke lacrosse debacle

Anon: Can you identify the all of you to whom your remarks are ostensibly addressed? Or are you taking a page from our host and simply assuming your favored talking points, instead of thinking them through?

One of the travesties of this case is that Hard Left academics could have used the Hoax to honorably advance some of their professed causes--in particular, the injustices that the Criminal Justice system metes out all too often. Those in the center of the political spectrum recognize the troubling reality that bad outcomes fall disproportionately on poor and minority suspects and victims.

This perspective should have tempered the rush to judgement among faculty radicals at Duke, such as the whinging pals of Tenured Radical. ("Now you know what it is like to work here"--The horror! Having to delete emails expressing dissent!)

The true shame is that respect for Due Process was more than Duke's Group of 88 could manage.

For a whine-free expression of the ideas that Anon 5:02 was, perhaps, trying to express, we can turn to the same exonerated Reade Seligmann whom I quoted earlier:

"This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed. If it is possible for law enforcement officials to systematically railroad us with no evidence whatsoever, it is frightening to think what they could do to those who do not to have the resources to defend themselves. So rather than relying on disparaging stereotypes, or creating political and racial conflicts, we must all take a step back from this case and learn from it. This tragedy has revealed that our society has lost sight of the core principle of our legal system, the presumption of innocence."

So far, you academic disciples of Gramsci have shown yourselves the equals of the late Bourbon kings,

You have forgotten nothing, and learned nothing.

Alex said...


I do admire their persistence. I was sure that this would be one and done.


Cort Harrington said...

In your earlier blog you criticized the Duke Women’s Lacrosse team for their solidarity with the Men’s Lacrosse Team. The events of yesterday have demonstrated that they right and were standing up to power. That “power “ not only included the rouge prosecutor but organizations like the New York Times and other “published reports” on which you relied. I remember being told in second grade that telling a lie about someone is like breaking open a feather pillow. It is easier to gather up all those escaped feathers than to gather up all the places that a lie may have gone. That analogy has always stuck with me. I would suggest that you contact the members of the Duke Women’s Lacrosse team. Apologist to them for your ignorant criticism and give them accolades for their courage.

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that the three Duke lax players were convicted in the court of public opinion based on past social injusticies and not the facts at hand. Duke's own report on Lax behavior found no evidence of hooliganism or sexism. Unfortunately, they were still victims of slander, innuendo, and sensationalism.

Not only did academics distract from their own social goals by rushing to judgement on this case, they also encouraged a rogue prosecutor to continue his unfettered, unconstitutional persecution. At worse, Duke's professors contributed to the denial of their own students' civil rights.

TR -- if you ever want to leave "the good old North East," I would be happy to show you around my former hometown, Durham. I would love to show you the numerous tangable social problems we have, as well as the efforts of people to remedy them. Unfortunately, I fear this whole episode has set Durham back.

Anonymous said...

What you wrote about Duke Lax team was so not true. They were found INNOCENT. What you ran into was a blogesphere that wants truth and not ill informer musing. Duke Womens Lax are heroines. Time has been on their side.

Joe said...
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Joe said...

2 notes:

(1) Anonymous comments are annoying as heck in any discussion no matter what side you're on.

(2) New commenters have clearly not read the discussion up to this point and are laboring under the misimpression that TR is interested in the facts of the Duke case. She is clearly not; she paints people who are as neo-confederate conservative ideologues. You'd do well to read what she has written before assuming it's helpful to point out the players' innocence.

At this point, the positions are pretty clearly drawn and there is no common ground for discussion between TR and those who are concerned with the truth; she refuses to be engaged in a discussion of the truth. Her interest is latent biases, with the significant exception of her own.

Anonymous said...

BTW - No one cares who you are or about your personal life - they just care about the accuracy of your musins.

AMac said...

Tenured Radical,

Blogger 'John in Carolina' is soliciting faculty insight on this Rocky Mountain News editorial about the Duke case.

Since you have given the matter some thought and formed an opinion, I hope you have the time and inclination to leave a comment at this post.

Anonymous said...

Currently, Tenured Professor KC Johnson of Harvard and Chicago is one of the most respected and well know history professors in America. He is a co-author of a book that may not out sell GWTW but will give it a good run. He is on his way to Israel for a year as a recipent of a highly acclaimed fellowship. I think your sympathy for KC is wasted.

Anonymous said...

Actually, KC Johnson is not well known. But whatever.

Svigor said...

what do you think would have happend if the classes and races were reversed in this case? Not only would all of the accused have been shuffled through a hasty trial designed to convict, and then put in prison for probably 40 to life, but not a word would be spoken about it on any major media outlet-- no matter how many dirty tricks the DA pulled to get a conviction.

Wow, some people (lots of blacks, some whites too) really do live in a particularly bizarre province of PeeCee la-la land.

Back in reality, if an entire black team (after the sole white player had been exempted due to skin color) had been put under suspicion and DNA-tested, amid a bunch of rhetoric about the historical abuse of white women at the hands of black athletes, with the entire African-hating faculty starting up witch-hunts for black bad-boy athletes, the media taking the accusations and running with them as if automatically true (because, after all, white women don't falsely accuse black athletes), the black DA had gone suppressing exculpatory evidence and pandering to the perpetually-aggrieved white community, perpetually-aggrieved white racial activists had gathered angry mobs outside the black athletes' homes (while perpetually racially meek blacks had stayed away in droves, assuming the black athletes' guilt), etc., etc., etc...

...the astronomical unlikelihood of this event would've violated some heretofore-inviolable physical law of the universe, a singularity would've been spontaneously generated, grown into a black hole, and consumed first the solar system, then the galaxy, then the universe, then the multiverse, ending all existence by collapsing reality in upon itself.

Svigor said...

and to go a bit deeper, why is it that college campuses remain one of the most likely places for a woman to be sexually assualted, that the perpetrators of nearly all on-campus rapes are white college guys, and yet the majority of men in prison for sexual assualt are people of color? The numbers are MASSIVELY disproportionate. That is true of not only sexual assualt, but a wide variety of crimes.

You opened the door, now I'm going to walk through it:

1) Blacks rape at a rate 6 times higher than whites; this is borne out not only by conviction rates, but by victim surveys. (good luck explaining how this is a function of poverty, or white racism)

2) Whites simply do not gang-rape blacks. Any crime reporter worth his salt should know this (that virtually none do is telling).

3) Gang-raping white women is practically a national pasttime for black criminals. Black-on-white gang rapes occur roughly 3000 times a year (see The Color of Crime, published by the New Century Foundation). Any crime reporter worth his salt should know this (that virtually none do is telling).

4) Your silly statements-as-questions about the odds of sexual assault on campus and the incarceration rate of blacks for sexual assault indicate nothing but your innumeracy.

Svigor said...

2) Whites simply do not gang-rape blacks. Any crime reporter worth his salt should know this (that virtually none do is telling).

Addendum: I am aware of exactly two such cases. Both were hoaxes (Brawley and Mangum).

AMac said...

T.R. took up my 2.51pm offer to contribute to the conversation at John-in-Carolina's blog.

I thank her for her thoughtful remarks, as productive conversations across this chasm are quite difficult.

Anonymous said...

olddeadmeat said...

Re: Imus - Snoop weighs in

"It's a completely different scenario," said Snoop, barking over the phone from a hotel room in L.A. "[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about ho's that's in the 'hood that ain't doing sh--, that's trying to get a n---a for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC [which announced Wednesday it would drop its simulcast of Imus' radio show] going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha----as say we in the same league as him."

I just had to post that.

TR, part of the heat you are getting is that people get tired of being told it's all their fault. I am not black, but I have never used the n word in my entire life.

So just who perpetuates these racist stereotypes?

In this case, a tiny modicum of research would have spared you from using Duke as an analogy. For that matter, when all the blogs and forums backing the accuser started shutting down and fell silent, that should have been a big sign.

"Published reports" is a weak reed - there's nothing you can't justify without finding some wacko who published a report. You would be better off to just say, "I made an assumption, I was wrong, I'm sorry."

That's enough.

ks said...

Dear TR,
Good grief! So sorry you've been barraged with so much hate mail about your opinions. None of your regular readers will be surprised if you go dark for a while. In fact, I personally support it so that these axe grinders who have found you can find another cause and let you, and the rest of us, return to sensible academic discourse.

Peace friend,

Cort Harrington said...

I read your post on John-In–Carolina and I am disappointed. To quote from your post “Did they do things which, had they not done them, would not have gotten them in this fix? Yes. It's not the same thing as saying they deserved it, but it is part of the truth. Did they do things which, had they not done them, would not have gotten them in this fix? Yes. It's not the same thing as saying they deserved it, but it is part of the truth.” Is the “they” you refer to limited to the white male lacrosse players or does it apply as well to Ms. Mangum and Ms. Roberts and the white freshman at Duke who was raped earlier this year by an African American while attending an off campus party at an apartment occupied by African American males who were affiliated with an African American fraternity? Your comment is absolutely outrageous!

I’m interested in justice and that means justice for all. The accused should be presumed to be innocent, victims of rape should be encouraged to come forward and protected and white freshman should be able to go to a party hosted by African Americans. If she is the victim of a rape while at that party, she should not fear that her teachers at Duke or a professor at Wesleyan will argue that while she did not deserve to be raped she did do things which, had she not done them, would not have gotten her in this fix. Part of the truth you say?

While I don’t disagree that those who sought justice for the indicted lacrosse players included bigots and racists, the other side who rushed to judgment likewise included bigots and racists. Your defense of the group of 88 who were merely standing up for their outrageous beliefs sounds like the kind of solidarity you characterized as a conspiracy of silence and condemned in the Lacrosse team. That same support is OK when the group is not students but Tenured Professors.

No one should be threatened with physical violence. That includes the Group of 88 but it also include the innocent players who received death threats, threats of castration, a failing grade to the Lacrosse players in a class taught by one of the Group of 88. In the case if the failing grades, the university changed those F’s to D’s.

How do you defend giving student an F because of membership on a team you don’t like? How do you defend the actions of one member of the Group of 88 who resigned a committee position in protest of the university’s invitation to the two suspended students to return to Duke?

Like Don Imus, the Group of 88 should be fired because like Don Imus they are wrong. Defenders of either Don Imus or the Group of 88 deserve the criticism they receive.

80 Proof said...

Dear TR,
Good grief! So sorry you've been barraged with so much hate mail about your opinions. None of your regular readers will be surprised if you go dark for a while. In fact, I personally support it so that these axe grinders who have found you can find another cause and let you, and the rest of us, return to sensible academic discourse.

Peace friend,

--Frankly, the discourse in this thread has been pretty sensible I think. I feel bad if she has received some hate mail, but that is par for the course for the internet.

But perhaps you would like to respond to the factual and material points we "axe grinders" are making in this thread? Or would you rather ignore them and wait until anyone who disagrees goes away?

Anonymous said...

haha, you aren't the only person to draw a comparison between Duke Lax and Rugters bball. Pat Buchanan has too!!

The question must be asked: for whom do you blog? I believe that anything put on the internet is part of the public domain. Should one "go dark" just because the opinions and demographics of the audience has suddenly changed? What did you expect when you started? Was your target audience simply your friends or like minded individuals? I now have your blog bookmarked, and plan to visit it while I am bored at work. I doubt that I am alone. Therefore, I see three options:

1) quit

2) move your blog where I can't find it

2) accept that you now have broader audience, albeit less dogmatically sympathetic, and embrace it.

Anonymous said...

KC Johnson has been on Nightline for two nights in a row. Reade and Collin thanked him during their comments. KC is a ABC consultant - he was also shown as the boys thanked him privately for is contribuation to their cause = has a book coming out in September with great preorder sales - he is also goinh to Israel on an impressive fellowship to teach. Has a blog with over 10,000 hits a day - looks impressive to me.

Zoe Brain said...

A few observations:

The railroading of the Duke lacrosse team has made the job of prosecuting rapists more difficult.

Had anyone told me of the "1 in 6" figures for rape victims 2 years ago, I would have treated it with grave suspicion. Since then I've been active in a number of support groups. I would now not be surprised if it was much higher - 1 in 4. I had no idea.

In the subject of Feral Prosecutors, I'm currently seeing what we can do for a woman whose daughter was essentially held hostage to affect a Guilty plea. We have timestamped photos and multiple witnesses to show she could not have been at the crime scene at the time the crime was alleged to have been committed. But after the DA was informed of this, the suspect's step-daughter was removed from the care of her and her partner for a month. She was told outright she'd never see her stepdaughter again, regardless of the case outcome. But if she wanted the child left in the care of her partner instead of some unlicensed care agency, she better plead guilty.

She did - and has been in a male correctional facility for the last 80 hours or so. She's Intersexed, you see. Looks like a girl, but the birth certificate says male.

Pardon me if I happen to be interested in matters of Guilt and Innocence, unlike a Tenured Radical. I'm too wrapped up in keeping oppressed people alive to worry too much about racial narratives and post-modern semiotics.

Disclaimer: I'm Intersexed too. Despite the photo on my profile, taken two days ago, my birth certificate says male and always will do. My blood is male, even if my body isn't.

Anonymous said...

"we do not agree with you, we are not concerned that you do not agree with us, and we are no longer, and never were, interested in lacrosse players at Tenured Radical."

You were interested enough to write about them.
You were interested enough to write falsehoods about them, and make statements that were reckless of the truth.
You were quite happy to raise issues of sex and race in a way that others might see as plain old sexism and racism.

But you do not even attempt to justify what you said. You cannot admit that what you said was false and hurtful.

thought you might appreciate a reality check.

GaryB said...

It's just sort of amusing how people become what they oppose. I mean, I bet Bush really was against a "remake" the world foreign policy when he started. For you, there's a bit'o shock jblogk that's crept in don'cha think? "semi-criminal white male youth gang ...yada yada". But, much like the nappy headed ho's were rather unfairly characterized (by one statement), these white guys were also unfairly characterized capich? But they were at risk of 30 years of jail above and beyond being slandered nationally for many months.

The truth is that now that their private lives are out in reports, blogs, presses ... they seem to be, not only more athletic, better looking, better students, less racist and richer than average, but better people also in their private lives too -- damn their virtuous hides!

But it's not the put downs of these two college sports teams that offends me -- I could give a flying frig about team sports -- nappy and strait haired boring if you ask me. What upsets me is that I'm a liberal (small "l") -- you know, I believe in rationality, fairness, freedom and, um, civil liberties. Extended to everyone, whether ho's or uber jocks.

Right now, the left is plainly the enemy of the liberal. I feel for the conservative (small c, no neo) whom I'm sure feels the same way about the bushy-right. In fact, I suspect there's a great common ground where the small l's and c's could meet while the neo-right and radical left look more and more like each other: nasty headed fOes.

Sam B said...

Prof Potter, I suggest taking the route of a certain Duke professor. Because of her commentary on the socioeconomic and racial undertones of the lacrosse case, she got flooded with hate mail. At first she tried to respond to each with a defense, but they got worse and worse until she gave up and just started responding to each hateful letter with "LOL!".

Anonymous said...

Sam B.

So a list of the facts equals "hate mail".
Only if you have no facts of your own.

I've got it! Hate mail is mail you hate to receive because it shows you screwed up. How could I have not figured it out all this time?

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