[North Carolina Attorney General ]Cooper described the case against the men as the result of "a tragic rush to accuse." This rush came not only from prosecutor Mike Nifong, who now faces serious charges of misconduct, but also from the media, the academic community at Duke, and feminist advocates for rape victims.
As writer Charlotte Allen has documented in The Weekly Standard, academics were quick to tailor the still-unfolding case to a narrative of sexual abuse of a downtrodden black woman at the hands of privileged white males -- males who, in the words of Duke literature professor Wahneema Lubiano, represented "the politically dominant race and ethnicity [and] the dominant gender." Much of the media echoed this narrative, albeit in more readable form.
Yet serious doubts about the accuser's credibility existed from the very beginning….But many people wouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good crusade. Eighty-eight Duke faculty members signed a statement, drafted by Lubiano, that expressed solidarity with the students who rallied against the accused. Its language was drenched in a presumption of guilt.
Cathy generously points to Charlotte Allen’s far more thorough and damning article on the Duke case in the Weekly Standard entitled “Duke’s Tenured Vigilantes”. Moneygraph:
There was a fascinating irony in this. Postmodern theorists pride themselves in discerning what they call “metanarratives.” They argue that such concepts as, say, Christianity or patriotism or the American legal system are no more than socially constructed tall tales that the postmodernists can the “deconstruct” to unmask the real purpose behind them, which is (say the postmodernists) to prop up societal structures of--yes, you guessed it--race, gender, class, and white male privilege. Nonetheless, in the Duke lacrosse case the theorists manufactured a metanarrative of their own, based upon the fact that Durham, North Carolina, is in the South, and the alleged assailants happened to be white males from families wealthy enough to afford Duke's tuition, while their alleged victim was an impoverished black woman who, as she told the Raleigh News and Observer in a credulous profile of her published on March 25, was stripping only to support her two children and to pay her tuition as a student at North Carolina Central University, a historically black state college in Durham that is considerably less prestigious than Duke. All the symbolic elements of a juicy race/gender/class/white-male-privilege yarn were present. The theorists went to town.
Why let unimportant details like facts get in the way of a such a superb metanarrative? Charlotte Allen’s whole article is well worth reading, and worth remembering.
The mainstream media has performed despicably throughout this entire year-long episode. But now that most of this high-falutin’professional journalism can be seen as nothing but mounds of reeking excrement, don’t hold your breath waiting for them to apologize or utter mea culpa. This is another good reason for consumers to stop encouraging the production of such garbage by purchasing such products.
Again a salute to KC Johnson of Durham in Wonderland for the debt we owe to him for reporting the facts of this case from the very beginning.