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Monday, August 13, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — August 13, 2007

Updated:

Dave Hoffman, Concurring Opinions:
Shunning Duke's Faculty [see comments] -- A little while back, former Judge, and law school Dean, Joseph Bellacosa (St. John's) proposed that members of the public shun the 88 Duke faculty members who sponsored an advertisement in the early days of the Nifong investigation implicitly condemning the accused lacrosse players...

I am regrettably late commenting on Judge Bellacosa's article, and so this post may be stale. But still. What the heck is going on here? ...

the heart of the ad - the statement by the professors themselves - seems to me to consist of a set of vague generalities that verge on truisms, and aren't objectionable:

"Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday."
Regardless, we’re supposed to shame and shun the signatories to the ad. Why?
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KC Johnson, Durham-in-Wonderland:
  • Sunlight [see comments] -- Duke is a university in the United States, with the overwhelming majority of its students U.S. citizens. Somehow, I doubt we’ll see on its admissions webpage: “Send your child to Duke, where our faculty members believe that, when prioritizing resources, it’s equally important to have specialists in gay/lesbian chicano/a literature as it is to have experts in U.S. constitutional, diplomatic, economic, or legal history.”
  • Group Profile: Below-the-Radar Members -- Remarkably, no fewer than 20 members of the Group of 88 had not published a scholarly monograph (or its equivalent, in the case of the three Math and Physics signatories) at the time they signed the statement on April 6, 2006...
  • Go Big Red -- A star member of the Group of 88 has departed Duke. Cornell’s English Department website reveals that Grant Farred (shown here in his Williams lecture) “will be joining Cornell in the Fall of 2007 from the Literature Program at Duke University. He will have a joint appointment in Africana and English.” ...
  • Herald-Sun: You Want Our Opinions -- Without a doubt the case’s least distinguished performance of any editorial page in the country came from the Herald-Sun...
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John in Carolina:
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Michael Gaynor:
  • Duke case: No "team crime," Cash -- The seventh edition of A Treatise on the Law of Crimes (Clark and Marshall), published in 1967 and one of my law school books, states: "Property Unlawfully...
  • Duke case: Sense and nonsense -- Being "at fault" doesn't mean that the victim is blameworthy, that is, "deserving reproach or punishment" (although circumstances in which that is the case are conceivable), but not being blameworthy is not sufficient protection against murder or rape and not being careful is foolish...
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John Leo, NY Sun:
Brawley Case of the South -- If anyone ever starts a museum of horrible explanations, the one-liner by Newsweek’s Evan Thomas about his magazine’s dubious reporting on the Duke non-rape case — “The narrative was right but the facts were wrong” — is destined to become a popular exhibit, right up there with “we had to destroy the village to save it.”

What Mr. Thomas seems to mean is that the newsroom view of the lacrosse players as privileged, sexist, and arrogant white male jocks was the correct angle on the story. It wasn’t.

According to Duke’s female lacrosse team and other women on campus, the male players are solid citizens who treat women well. Many players volunteer to tutor poor children in Durham. Some players are privileged, but most come from ordinary middle-class homes. There is no evidence of a racist team culture.

One objectionable racial comment was reported that night, in response to a racial taunt from one of the strippers. It occurred after the party and the player involved was not one of those indicted. The mainstream press, most conspicuously the New York Times, botched the story by imposing a race-gender-class narrative line. The facts were wrong, as Mr. Thomas said, but the narrative line was wrong too...
discussion:
FreeRepublic: NYS: Brawley Case of the South

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