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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Duke Rape Case: The Squirm Factor

Time changes perceptions of guilt or innocence. Take O.J. Simpson for example. Shock jock, Howard Stern for years took perverse pleasure in asking black guests on his radio show if they thought O.J. was innocent. Maybe he is innocent, but Howard thought watching some of his guests squirm on that question was entertainment. It would be interesting to find out if the black community's perception of OJ's innocence has changed over time?

Fast forward eleven years, making a 27-year-old stripper exotic dancer with a checkered past a symbol for black justice or injustice has a potentially very high squirm factor.

For example, Hip-Hop Intellectual, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill has these thoughts regarding the Duke rape case:

As I said before, I truly believe the young woman's story and hope that the truth is brought to surface as soon as possible. But, like many Black people, a part of me NEEDS to believe that the story is true. Although most Black people won't admit it, many of us are thinking "“She better not be lying or it'’s gonna take years to live this down."”

Update: If you think about it the Duke students also have had to deal with their own squirm factor. Do they believe in the innocence of their classmates? If they believe in their innocence then how loud and passionate should they be in their defense? Are they worried about going out on a shaky limb?

It seems the answer to that last question is that the tide has turned at Duke University. Reportedly the majority of students have decided their classmates are innocent. A coed who was being interviewed on TV today was proudly wearing an "Innocent" t-shirt.

The squirm factor also confronts the 8,000 students of North Carolina Central University. The school the alleged victim was attending. Here is a headline and story after the jump from their perspective: N.C. students hail Duke rape arrests.

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