Friday, July 27, 2007

Duke Lacrosse--The Exonerated?

Today I heard that Mike Nifong, the disgraced D.A. who mis-handled the Duke Lacrosse rape case, apologized to the three men he originally accused and said that there was not substantial evidence to link them in the rape case. And as various magazine and newspaper articles, and even a book written by the former Duke Lacrosse coach all emphasize, these young men were all victims of "racial profiling" and are, instead, innocent of the charges brought against them.

And in the wake of this media storm, I'm not sure what to think with respect to the woman who brought these accusations against the men. I certainly feel sympathy for her, because regardless of whether she made up her story or she was, indeed, sexually assaulted, she more than likely did not bargain for the reception she received at the house party in which the lacrosse players were present and she more than likely did not think when she was a little girl that she wanted to earn extra money to support herself through college by taking off her clothes for drunken college boys.

If she did lie, well, then that's a topic for another post--because it is damaging for women to lie about rape--there are so many women who are raped every day, many by people they know. And they are afraid to come forward because of the criticism and judgment they will face--most especially the idea that they are lying. And in some cases (a few I know personally) the man in question probably didn't think that he was raping a woman who was crying or saying no, as incredible as that is to believe. There were two such cases of women I went to college with, who told me their stories of male friends raping them, while they were sleeping, even after they had said no--but because they were drunk or because they were making out, or because they were friends, the idea that they could accuse these men of rape never entered their minds, and they were both clear that they were sure that these men had no idea that what they had done was rape, even though the women just lay there, and in one case, she cried the entire time. So if this woman did lie, well, she's doing a lot of damage for a lot of people.

But putting aside the veracity of her story--the larger problem I have with the exoneration of the Duke lacrosse team is over issues of race, class, and sex. There are the facts of the largely white team members and the two women, one African American, the other half-black, half-Asian. There is the overheard racist remarks outside the house ("Thank your grandaddy for my cotton shirt") and the racist comments that the women reported went on inside the house. There is the privilege that comes with wealth and with attending an elite university like Duke and with playing for an elite sport like lacrosse. And then there's the fact that this group of young men, athletes, who ostensibly represent their school, didn't think twice about hiring women to take off their clothes for them. Strippers, exotic dancers, whatever language you want to use, it's women who, I believe for the most part, are doing this to gain money, a lot of money relative to the labor involved, although perhaps not a lot of money relative to one's mental and emotional well-being. I don't know. I have acquaintances who have worked in strip clubs before, and they talk about a feeling of empowerment, but mostly they talk about how good the money is, and that the cash flow outweighs the crap they have to put up with.

What I'm trying to get at is that regardless of whether or not these men sexually assaulted this women--I don't feel the Duke lacrosse team is fully exonerated. Yes, they may not have perpetrated rape, but are they totally innocent of the white privilege, the class privilege, the very male privilege that they wear as casually as they wear their uniforms? And Duke students who support these players, do they stop and think about the larger picture--that rather than seeing themselves as embattled victims of a corrupt legal system--as victims prosecuted by the media, perhaps they need to really think about what it means to have the privilege of attending Duke University or any four-year university--of having a college degree, something only 25% of the US population has. Shouldn't Duke students, lacrosse players and non-lacrosse players alike, owe it to themselves to question the kinds of privilege they walk around with and the ways in which subtle promotion of white male superiority gets produced around not-so-innocuous parties involving dark skinned women taking off their clothes at the command of white men?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, we get it....they are guilty because they are white, male, and priveleged. What a crock.

wayne fontes said...

The accuser had been stripping for years at a predominately black club. Are all of the men who went to that club guilty of black privilege?

What would you have thought if both the strippers had been white?

Ralph Phelan said...

What about the guy who was across town getting money out of an ATM when the strippers showed up? What did he do to deserve what happened to him?

(Besides being born with a penis and white skin, of course.)

Jennifer Ho said...

Wow--2 comments from people who aren't related to me or my friends! So that's my initial reaction, that I'm happy that there are people who want to engage with the topics I am writing about.

Now, on to my second set of comments. the first are directed at Wayne, and there are two points, about black privilege and about my opinions regarding a scenario in which the women were white instead of black.

About the first, are black men in an all black strip club "guilty of black privilege"? Well, as an English professor, let me be completely pedantic and say that I don't know that anyone is "guilty" of privilege. It's more a state that people either choose or don't choose to recognize.

For example, I have a lot of privilege--I have a PhD, which only .05% of the people in this country have, so my educational privilege tops the list, and with that comes the kind of status/privilege I get being a tenure-track professor at a major research university, which also means I pull in a decent salary (not as much as my cousin who works at Apple, but whenever academics lament their pay, we really have to put it into the context of looking at others with the equivalent amount of education, in my specific example, my cousin, with a B.A. makes one and a half times more than I do with a PhD.--actually, it's close to double if you count stock options and perks like getting a free iphone).

Where was I?

Yes, guilty of privilege. I guess I can see the inference since I said that I didn't think that the players were totally innocent, although I was doing that more for rhetorical purposes than anything else. So no, I don't think that the black men are "guilty" of privilege because I don't think it's a question of guilt. I also think that their relative status as black men in the club only exists in that space, so perhaps if a white or Asian man were to walk into the club, they would be faced with men in a position of black privilege, but that could and most likely would fade away outside the club or if an altercation ensued in which other people (the police, medical personnel, attorneys, the media) were brought in.

I do think that men, regardless of race, in strip clubs have male privilege. And I have heard a lot of arguments about female empowerment and about the choice to work in these clubs, and I'm not arguing with that. I'm saying, though, at a basic level, most everyone does not think, when you are 6, 7, or 8 years old, that when you grow up you want to shed your clothes for money in front of men who will potentially say degrading things to you. And no parent envisions this as a career goal for their daughter either. So despite the high pay, the low status and the toll it takes on one's self esteem (this is a bit up in the air--I've heard stories both ways--some women are proud, others deeply ashamed, but even the proud ones are proud in a defiant, daring kind of way rather than in a simply proud way) does not make stripping something we feel "good" about as a society, in general.

If the strippers had been white? I think that there more than likely wouldn't have been racist things directed at them, although there could still have been racist comments (this is hard for me to verify since I have only heard from white friends that this can go on in all-white settings, but since the moment I enter a space it no longer becomes an all white setting, I generally am not privvy to really egregious racist comments said in my hearing, directed at me or not). But the issue of privilege--of class and sex--would still be a problem.

I mean, I think it's a problem that guys want to blow off steam by getting drunk and hiring women to take off their clothes for them and paying them to do so. Would it be better if they knew the women, if they were friends and they agreed to do it for free? I suppose the exchange value wouldn't be a factor and it would feel more consensual, although I still think it's an odd thing--why want to have women take off their clothes as a form of entertainment? Is it simply the difference in testosterone level between men and women? And why does it have to occur in a group setting? If you really wanted to be titilated, wouldn't a lap dance be better?

OK, so enough about Wayne's comments (which I do appreciate--they give me much food for thought).

On to anonymous. My first reaction is that I find it odd that someone would post something anonymously at all to someone you don't know. And if you do know me, why do you want to be anonymous? Shouldn't you have the integrity to sign your name to comments? Because I sense a distinct level of hostility and clear disparagement of my opinions. I really do appreciate comments, like Wayne's, from people I don't know because I do want a real dialogue, and I don't just want dialogue from people who agree with me--seriously (and I don't mean to go on and on with thanking Wayne) but I preach to the choir A LOT--almost all my friends are uber-liberal types like myself--it's great to have dissent and to have a rational and civilized conversation about race--to hear a different point of view and to try to clarify my comments (like the guilt thing, I see, now that it feels like I was trying to say that these men were guilty of racism, which I think is a simplistic way of putting it and again I was doing it for rhetorical effect, when in reality I think we are ALL "guilty" of racism or more specifically, I don't think such a language of guilt and innocence really helps us and that, instead, we should think about circulations of privilege and power.

So my immediate thought is, why does Anonymous want to be anonymous? Why doesn't s/he want to explain his/her comments--why is it a "crock" and why don't you want to engage in real debate about this issue? I suspect that you would agree that racism is bad, that sexism is bad, and that rape is bad. That class inequality is bad. Ok, if we agree on those basic things, how do we have dialogue about the particulars? I think it's a problem that young university athletes who come from wealthy backgrounds to hire women to take off their clothes for money (I even think it would've been better for them to all just go to a club, because at least then it's regulated and there's some protection for all parties involved). I think it's a problem that women continue to find this avenue of employment viable to them. And I think that the ways in which people don't want to examine the intersection of race and sex in all of this (as well as class) points to a larger problem we have regarding civil discourse on controversial subjects. To say that you believe my opinions are a "crock" is not shedding any real light on the subject nor is it engaging me in a manner other than to stir emotion and to get me to respond in a similar light (as in "you jerk!").

If you're reading this blog, and if you are responding to this blog, I'm assuming you are doing so because you want to have a real and respectful conversation about these issues. And if you don't, if your only intention is to anonymously leave pithy comments devoid of real content, then I'll kindly ask you not to post anymore--but whenever you are ready to show yourself and to engage in real dialogue, I'll be here ready with a response.

Jennifer Ho said...

Ralph, you must have left your comment while I was writing the monstrously long response, so I"ll just say that, again, if you read the post, I'm not taking issue with the exoneration of the individuals and the issue of sexual assault, since there's much murky information about the veracity of her testimony. What I'm more disturbed by is how the larger issues that led to this charge in the first place--the kind of privilege that accrues to people--and again, most of us have different forms of privilege, whether by class or education or sexuality--again, I have a certain privilege as a straight woman, one who is recognizably feminine.

Privilege isn't a dirty word--it's a condition and one that we should recognize and not treat with guilt or suspicion but to recognize that we, as citizens of the U.S. live with the privilege that our country is a superpower unrivaled by any other in the world. And I take that privilege not merely as a given but as something I should respect, especially as I think about how I want to interact with people both in and out of the U.S. and the kind of image I want to present as someone who is an American citizen.

My wealth, my education, and my status as a university professor gives me privileges every day, and I try to be mindful of that, and to recognize that there are many others who do not have the same privileges I do--who don't have access to the same privileges that I do. I just wish other people, like Duke students, would be mindful of that when trying to tease out the different strains of the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Ralph Phelan said...

To give you some context - you've been linked to from KC Johnson's site(http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/. Your new readers are going to be people who have been following the Duke fiasco with appalled fascination. They may assume that you are as conversant with the details as they are, which if you're not obsessed is probably not the case.

"Yes, guilty of privilege. I guess I can see the inference since I said that I didn't think that the players were totally innocent, although I was doing that more for rhetorical purposes than anything else."
Three *innocent* people just spent a year and a half being called names in the mass media, shunned by classmates, retaliated against by professors, forced to sleep in their cars because of physical threats from demonstrators, impoverished by legal bills and not least under threat of 30 years in prison. I think those three individual human beings have already suffered enough from losing the "Mangum lottery," and for you to even hint they're anything other than innocent victims in all this is heinous.

To me the most important lesson of this case is just how systematically rotten the american "justice" system is, especially in terms of routine prosecutorial abuse. But if you happen the think the "privilege" implications are more interesting, that's a matter of taste. In that case, rather than trying to shoehorn these events into your preexisting conclusions, let's see what new things about "privilege" can be learned.

(1) You hypothesis that a strip club with black clientel could be a "space of black privilege."
It appears to me that the entire city of Durham is a space of black privilege. To a Yankee like me this whole case looked like a story from the bad old days of Jim Crow with the colors reversed.

(2) Many of those who analyze things in terms of "privilege" are hypocrites. When professors criticized lacrosse players in front of their classmates they weren't "speaking truth to power," they were abusing their own power and privilege.

(3) In recent decades a distinct new female privilege has accrued in sexual abuse cases - the accuser remains anonymous while the accused get their names in the paper, and there's a strong socail taboo against questioning their veracity. There is a de-facto power differential here in women's advantage, and, human nature being what it is, some are going to abuse it. Even after she participated in an outrageous injustice for a year and a half, changing her story whenever the police asked her to, you are unwilling to entertain the hypothesis that Ms. Mangum might be a malicious liar.

(4) Black "civil rights" organizations could have used this case as an opportunity to focus attention on prosecutorial abuse, which hits the poor and minorities especially hard. Instead they jumped abourd the bandwagon of this obvious frame, and never got off while it fell apart under them. Apparently they are no longer about improving the lives of blacks, they're primarily about hating whites.

Anonymous said...

The link is actually from the Liestoppers board at today's blog and media roundup.

http://z9.invisionfree.com/LieStoppers_Board/index.php?showtopic=4473

Anonymous said...

p?showtopic=4473

Rudy Hughes said...

It has been often said in the past couple of years that the only ethnic group which can be attacked with impunity now is white males, particularly that awful group "privileged white males".

I am a little surprised there hasn't been more of a flood of responses to your essay. If you had posted this two months ago, it would have produced a bigger response. If you have looked at the Liestoppers site or the DukeinWonderland site, you have seen the intensity and numbers of people who have been interested in this and have been engaged in battling the falsity of the allegations and perception of the Duke defendants since April or May of 2006. Now that the defendants have been exonerated of any criminal acts most of the zealots have returned to their lives.

But let me address some of your statements. The case in 2006 was painted by race and gender advocates as an example of the abuses of "poor, black female" by "privileged white males". Well, the evidence in the public sphere has revealed instead that it was a case of race baiting by a prosecutor for political gain, that is reelection to his office. And in the court of national public opinion, it was a case of assumption by main stream media and race/gender advocacy groups that the players were guilty because of their racial and perceived economic status. Since she was poor, black and female and the defendants were white, male, privileged (what a wide ranging word that is, from wealthy to simply highly educated--but usually pejorative in this context), why of course they raped her as she said. No woman (particularly no black woman) ever lies about rape and privileged, white males are always ready to "exploit" (another wonderfully imprecise word) poor black women. Unfortunately for the race/gender advocates and the media folks who love to jump on these stories, the facts of the case didn't fit the stereotype, or as I've learned in reading about this case and the race/gender advocates in academia, the "metanarrative".

Your essay appears to be yet another example of the "true believer syndrome", a perception of the Duke defendants that persists in the face of facts reported by the final investigation by the North Carolina attorney general's office.

Here are the passages of your essay and your follow ups that bother me.

***********
I don't feel the Duke lacrosse team is fully exonerated. Yes, they may not have perpetrated rape, but are they totally innocent of the white privilege, the class privilege, the very male privilege that they wear as casually as they wear their uniforms?
*********

What is wrong with being white, exactly? What is wrong with achieving privilege? If they are not to wear these characteristics casually, must they only go out in public in sackcloth and ashes?

You came back in your comments to say that guilt and innocence are not helpful in these discussions, and I fully agree. I hope in your further writings and talks that you abandon that paradigm.

**********
Shouldn't Duke students, lacrosse players and non-lacrosse players alike, owe it to themselves to question the kinds of privilege they walk around with and the ways in which subtle promotion of white male superiority gets produced around not-so-innocuous parties involving dark skinned women taking off their clothes at the command of white men?
******************

This implies that they don't. What makes you think they don't? The lacrosse team in particular has been engaged in public service activities in Durham. My own Duke son (not an athlete) has been to two mission trips to Mexico and one in Appalachia; he is acutely aware of how well off he is relative to the rest of the world and the rest of America.

**********
I think it's a problem that young university athletes who come from wealthy backgrounds to hire women to take off their clothes for money (I even think it would've been better for them to all just go to a club, because at least then it's regulated and there's some protection for all parties involved). I think it's a problem that women continue to find this avenue of employment viable to them. And I think that the ways in which people don't want to examine the intersection of race and sex in all of this (as well as class) points to a larger problem we have regarding civil discourse on controversial subjects.
***************

Why is it worse that "wealthy" background guys hire strippers? If it isn't why did you include "wealthy" in your description?

Regarding your parenthetical on going to a club being better, well they actually considered it but they wanted the younger guys (under 21) to be able to drink beer if they wanted, so they couldn't go to a club. I hope you're not going to call drinking beer betweeen 18 and 21 immoral. If so, we have another topic to talk about. At least admit that drinking beer between 18 and 20 is not unusual for any sex or race.

It sounds like you want to make stripping for employment illegal. Freedom means that some people will engage in behaviors and employments many of us don't find savory. I don't believe that is a good reason to ban the activities. If you do then you're interested in a much more authoritarian society than I am. That is a legitimate criticism of the "uber-liberal", in this country by the way, that they want to regulate our morality just as much as the religious right does.

As far as people not wanting to "examine the intersection of race and sex in all of this (as well as class)," well I would say that they way you want to look at it appears to be quite limited. I saw it as an example of the use of racial and class prejudice (in this case black lower class against white upper class) by a government official to persecute innocent citizens for political gain. That ought to be condemned by all races and sexes whichever way it cuts, and particularly by those groups which portray themselves as guardians of racial and sexual justice.

Jennifer Ho said...

First of all, thank you to everyone who came to see my blog, especially those who left comments (particularly those of you who left un-anonymous comments) because I believe that you did so with the intent in engaging my ideas, particularly since it seems that all of the commentors disagree with various parts of my blog entry about the Duke lacrosse rape case and/or my follow-up comments.

I have given some thought to the various comments that have shown up, and I must admit that they stirred some very strong emotions in me. But at the end of the day, I'm a firm believer in dialogue and in free speech, and although I would have preferred certain things to have been couched in less polemical terms (describing my rhetorical language as "heinous" seems a bit hyperbolic and inaccurate when compared to things that are truly heinous, like murder and rape and hatred), what I think we can all agree is that racism definitely played a part in the entire drama of this case.

Because I do believe that the lacrosse players were victims of racism--the system of institutionalized racism that has been the basis for our country from its inception. Racism hurts white people just as much as it hurts people of color.

I admit that I don't know as many details about the case as the commentors to this particular posting do--I appreciate Ralph's note that most people found their way to this blog through a posting on "Liespotters" (I must admit I was strangely tickled to find myself the object of such derision! I don't think I've ever generated so much negative scrutiny before--and it was nice for someone to think that I am engaging in postmodernist rhetoric, although I think more accurately it's the jargon of cultural criticism that the person meant rather than postmodernism, since any academic who works in postmodernism wouldn't describe my work as such).

I digress.

Let me just say, if people want to keep posting about how they disagree with my blog and opinions, that's fine. I hope you will continue reading my posts, which will vary from topic to topic, but will largely concern issues of race. If you find the very first blog post I wrote, you will see that I am doing this in an effort to help my larger book project (it's helpful just to do some kind of writing to get the juices flowing) and to create a dialogue for race with anyone who is intersted.

I'm not particularly intersted in getting into a debate about the details of the lacrosse case--I think it's fairly well established that I don't agree entirely with most of the commentors, although I do understand that you have a passion for this subject--but I'm not up to the task of debating, point-by-point, ever rebuttal that you would like to make, so I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree, because I think fundamentally I am just looking at all of this from a different perspective. And really, I'm both too busy and too exhausted with other work to tackle point by point all of the comments (so sorry Rudy--your comments were definitely intriguing to me--and congratulations on having a son at Duke--it really is an excellent school). So gentleman (because I believe most of you are gentleman rather than ladies), thank you for coming to visit. Hope you'll take another look, feel free to leave more comments, but I probably won't respond further to this thread.

And thanks for keeping it polite--I did peruse some of the comments on the blogs that were listed by Ralph and some of the name calling is really atrocious!

Max Wilson said...

Young lady racism is a fact of life and always will be. For infomative purposes I am a white male. I have traveled in China and have been a recipient of Chinese racism. I have traveled in Africa and have been a recipient of African racism. I have been a recipient of racism in the U.S. by various groups and have witnessed racism directed towards them. Life is not fair nor is it supposed to be. The Liberal mindset that you and so many others have fallen under is nothing but self deceptive pablum for the weak minded. I suggest that you stop wasting your time playing word games and do something that actually will be productive for you and your loved ones.

lrbinfrisco said...

So why is it that the Black female strippers get to start the exchange of insults by offering up insults that attack the party goers race and sex, but that's OK because they are female and black or black/asian. But let one, and that's all that responed, party goer who is white and male respond with a racialy based joke from a black comedian comedy routine and all party goers and all white males are guilty of offending female's of color. Do you have to have a Phd from a very liberal program to understand this logic?

And let 2 strippers who are also prostitues show up and con some naive college boys out of several hundred dollars by giving a 5 minute show when a 1 hour show was promised. Let them start throwing sexual and racist insults at their clients. Let the strippers/prostitutes offer illegally to exchange sex for money and be turned down by the naive colleg boys angering the strippers/prostitutes. Let the 2 strippers make false and malicious claims to the police to get even for the naive college boys not giving them more money and to keep one of the strippers out of the drunk tank for the night. Who is the big villian? Not the strippers, oh no, they can't be the big villans because they are female and black or black/asian. And they are poor. Got to remember that only white males of substantial economic means can be really big villians. In fact there are ffew crimes worse than being white, male, and rich. Dammit all parents should drown any white male babies at birth if the parents are rich. In fact the government should come up with a solution like Hitler did for the Jews for white males who are rich. That's the liberal view isn't it? After all being born white is a sin. Being born male is a sin. Being born rich is a sin. Making yourself rich is an even bigger sin. And if you do all of the above there is no hope for you. Guess I have no hope to ever get a Phd because I'll never understand logic like this. Silly me.

Anonymous said...

"If she did lie, well, then that's a topic for another post--because it is damaging for women to lie about rape--there are so many women who are raped every day, many by people they know."

You know, it's kinda damaging to MEN too. I know you're coming from a different "perspective," but come on--that is pretty close to the definition of sexism there. Your statement makes it rather explicit that you care first and foremost (exclusively?) about how national issues affect women in general, and not men.

I also don't think it's a fair excuse to say you don't know the "details" of the case, and that makes it OK for you to speculate to the detriment of the lacrosse players' reputation. The details matter very much to the 3 formerly accused, and yes even though they are men, I think you should respect what they went through enough to not comment without knowing the necessary facts. They're readily accessible on various blogs and newspapers.

I don't trust people who keep focus on the "big ideas" and sweep the nagging details that don't fit under the rug. Real people get hurt that way.

Anonymous said...

"There were two such cases of women I went to college with, who told me their stories of male friends raping them, while they were sleeping, even after they had said no--but because they were drunk or because they were making out, or because they were friends, the idea that they could accuse these men of rape never entered their minds, and they were both clear that they were sure that these men had no idea that what they had done was rape, even though the women just lay there, and in one case, she cried the entire time. So if this woman did lie, well, she's doing a lot of damage for a lot of people."

I think the Duke lacrosse case should teach us that for every allegation about any crime, there are always two sides. You might have known these college students, so the circumstances might be different. But I think as a rule of thumb, you shouldn't uncritically credit stories of accusers without even getting the reports of the accused.

The fact that you would do that very thing in a post about the lacrosse non-rape case is disheartening.

Michael said...

I find Heinous appropriate. One would expect a university professor to do due diligence before making libelous statements against others. And one would also expect a university professor to apologize when confronted with her errors that materially harm others. And one would expect a university professor to then go and sin no more.

Your posts about yourself reveal a rather stuck-up personality with a healthy dose of vanity. Perhaps that is due to your youth. The people in my work environment have advanced degrees but we just call and sign my mike, jim, jack, john, ann and so on. Perhaps they do this at Apple too. You are not your degrees; you are your tangible accomplishments. Perhaps you suffer from the arrogance afforded to those asians with some accomplishment. Please understand that there are many, many accomplished asians that traverse their life in America without the arrogance that you show.

Hopefully you'll never get charged falsely with a crime, fingerprinted, handcuffed, threatened by police, threatened by thugs in the courtroom. You claim that you're wealthy; could you withstand million dollar legal bills? Getting fired, disgraced and vilified by your university. Having your face on Newsweek, CNN, ABC, CBS, CourtTV, Time, etc. as a villian? Heinous is too soft a word.

I think that these quotes apply appropriately to you:

“Those who made a rush to judgment based upon an unquestioning faith in what a prosecutor had told them were made to look foolish and many still do look foolish." - Lane Williamson, NC State Bar Disciplinary Hearing Chairperson

COOPER: Well, you know, I think a lot of people owe a lot of apologies to other people. I think that those people ought to consider doing that.

----------------------------

It would have been nice of you to put this in the context of your own personal feelings instead of dragging your race into this and with that disgracing asians in general.

Anonymous said...

You have a bit of a contradiction here.

In the comments, you say, "Privilege isn't a dirty word--it's a condition and one that we should recognize and not treat with guilt or suspicion."

But in the post, you say, "What I'm trying to get at is that regardless of whether or not these men sexually assaulted this women--I don't feel the Duke lacrosse team is fully exonerated. Yes, they may not have perpetrated rape, but are they totally innocent of the white privilege"

So it seems privilege is something you can be "innocent" of. I must assume then that one can also be "guilty" of it. You even plainly compared the players' exoneration on the rape chargers to being "fully exonerated" of being privileged.

You say that you have a "larger problem" with the players' "exoneration" in the rape charges--in large part, according to the post, because of their privilege. So you have a "problem" with their exoneration on rape charges because of the "larger" issue of privilege?

In other words, by your own analysis, it seems you put privilege--which one can be innocent or guilty of--on the same pedestal as committing rape, if not a larger one.

I know you wouldn't agree with that position stated that way, but it is strongly implied in the post. And that's what people are responding to.

Michael said...

> If you really wanted to
> be titilated, wouldn't a
> lap dance be better?

I take it you didn't read the lab report nor are you familiar with STD rates among certain populations.

She had sperm deposits from quite a few men in quite a few different places; none from any of the lacrosse players.

I would think that Duke students would know enough to avoid physical contact with this woman as much as possible. But perhaps they don't teach these sorts of things at Boston University.

Michael said...

One point about many of the posters at DurhamInWonderland is that there are many doctors, professors, scientists, engineers, lawyers and generally accomplished people there.

If you post crap, you'll get called on it.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe T. said...

The lacrosse men could have avoided the whole mess initially if they had truly acted like racists and closed the door as soon as women-of-color arrived who they hadn't requested. Actually, maybe that wouldn't have been acting racist. Just smart (as crime/race statistics can be used as informative in avoiding trouble).

Anonymous said...

You don't write good. What I'm trying to get at is: Are you really a professor of English? Damn, then, K.C. Johnson is the King of English. MOO! Gregory

christoph said...

"...in reality I think we are ALL "guilty" of racism or more specifically, I don't think such a language of guilt and innocence really helps us and that, instead, we should think about circulations of privilege and power."

Okay. I'll take you at your word. In that case, to write about white male privilege, there was no reason for you to have rhetorically juxtaposed that privilege against the lacrosse players' legal exoneration and innocence. In fact, writing about white male privilege never required you to speak of the lacrosse players at all. You never needed to reference them or their accuser. You could have said, "You know, there are white males, and I think their privilege is a problem which needs to be looked at."
So why did you particularize your unease to these lacrosse players?
You were making the same mistake made by a huge segment of my friends and hometown (Durham) this year. That mistake nearly upended the legal system here, corroded the civic trust between citizens and government, and traumatized many people.
This might sound snarky, but I'm sincere: being a scholar, you could investigate how your original social idea, as written, has created so much damage. Doing so would require you to actually learn the details about this situation, admit your own mistakes, continue engaging the subject with others, and learn something new. Aren't these the habits of a scholar? And aren't these habits the difference between an expert, and a dabbler?
But in doing so, you could be on the leading edge of some new formulation, an original, next-generation conceptual framework, which holds up well and serves people well -- both when the situation is about your friends being traumatized by date-rape, and when the situation is about (even male) citizens being falsely accused. The evolution of this whole ...story... has lots of room for creative and daring insights. There are many unexplored side streets. I hope it catches your interest more than it has so far, and you do something great out of it.
But doing something great means being faithful to the actual verifiable facts here, rather than using these events and people as props or figures standing in for our received preconceptions. The promise is that verifiable facts are more enlightening, fascinating, useful, and even sacred than our own pre-fab formulations.

wayne fontes said...

Hi Jennifer

I tagged you with the PO-MO label. If you could point me to a primer on the difference between PO-MO and cultural criticism I'd read it with interest.

I'm assuming because you are a woman of a certain age and in academia you have no idea who Wayne Fontes was. It is only a nom de cyber that I use and no more real than anonymous. Comments should be evaluated on their own merits.

In regards to black privilege you seem to be saying that when one race holds a strong majority they automatically assume the mantle of privilege. I can't see how this changes the responsibility of the individuals involved. The question still stands. What is the difference between the privilege exercised by black men at the Platinum Club for years and what was in play at 610 Buchanon?

Michael Sheehan said...

Jennifer Ann Ho said:

‘… putting aside the veracity of her story …’

‘… there are the facts of …’ (‘facts’? Indeed!)

‘… regardless of whether or not these men sexually assaulted this women …’

‘… Yes, they may not have perpetrated rape, but are they totally innocent of the white privilege …’

Ms. Ho, the above phrases, and in the context that you presented them, are, given your apparent lack of familiarity with the intimate specifics of the ‘case’, and without meaning to insult you, pretty STUPID.

What I am looking for is a simple statement from you, somewhat akin to ‘Yes, you’re right … they ARE pretty stupid.”

If you do something like that, people like me will conclude that y’all meant well, assume that something probably got lost in the translation, and continue on about with their other business.

Anonymous said...

Let's start with the facts, as stated by AG Cooper, and finally yesterday, by DA Nifong.They said, "There is no credible evidence of any crimes of any kind being committed against Ms. Mangum that night in that house." You, the PhD in English, translate that as follows: "...there is no substantial evidence to link them to a rape..." How disingenuos, to say the least.
Second, you state as fact that both women reported that racial slurs were directed at them in the house. This is a long ago discredited assertion. The facts are that the second dancer, Ms. Roberts, made no such claim . The truth is that Ms. Roberts said she made the first racial epithet, as both women were ready to leave in her car. She called one of the players(not one of the defendants), a"little dick white boy..." That's when the cotton shirt retort was made. Until then, Ms. Roberts said there were NO racial slurs made. But of course,if you did enough research of this case, you would not to be able to launch your narrative.
And third, admit that the facts show that Ms. Mangum is a mentally disturbed young woman, whose brain is a mess from her abuse of anti-psychotic drugs, alcohol and who knows what else. Consider the DNA reports which showed that in one weekend she had DNA from at least 4 males in and on her body, as evidenced from rectal and vaginal swabs. She is a prostitute plain and simple. You do a disservice to real strippers.
If you want to go on these typical race, sex, gender rants, be my guest, become an honorary member of Duke's Gang of 88. But don't falsify the facts just so you can use the Duke case as the motivation to discuss "the larger picture".
As a PhD in English, I would much rather hear your views on topics of which you have knowledge. For example, what do you think of the anti-Stratfordians, from the extremists who state Shakespeare was someone else and deny he wrote the plays at all, or accepting that there was a Shakespeare who was born in Stratford-on-Avon and was an actor,but contest whether that man wrote the plays?

Sweetmick

neal said...

"Because I do believe that the lacrosse players were victims of racism--the system of institutionalized racism that has been the basis for our country from its inception. Racism hurts white people just as much as it hurts people of color."

No, they were not victims of racism. They were victims of someone taking advantage of heightened racism made possible by political correctness.

I'm not sure which country you refer to when you say our country is based on institutionalized racism. Nor do I see any reason to be polite to you when you make such claims. A lot of people have struggled in this country to remove such preconceptions.

When I say this, I don't mean by being esoteric/smart or whatever it is you view yourself as. I mean by putting ones livelihood on the line, or even more by putting ones life on the line (as many did in the civil war).

Given your nature, I'm sure you will try to discover the terrible truth behind what happened to three innocents. When you have done that, there is an opportunity, to discover something about yourself.

What you have said in this blog is nothing unusual. I've read the same things over and over. They exhibited their white male power by paying for a black stripper. If they were really thinking of their school they shouldn't have hired a stripper, white privilege, . . . . It's trite, yet you ask us to show interest in your wrong ideas.

Maybe you will reconsider your vantage point. You are a cog spinning in time to the political correctness machine, a machine that produces nothing but heightened racial sensitivity, generates a feeling of having an unfulfilled life for the target groups when they might be quite happy left alone, judging from RAP and other things, an enormous sense of hostility and anger, and causes endless frustration for us guilty white males with the non sequiturs.

You say it isn't as bad as murder, but I view political correctness as destroying an entire culture and replacing it with junk pseudo philosophy. What's worse?

Anonymous said...

Ms Ho, the worst part of this whole dialogue is how you smear white people.

It sucks the credibility out of your credentials.

Watch what you say. Your words are being used against you.

Anonymous said...

Miss Ho, you use the following phrase freely in your writing.

"Duke Lacrosse rape case"

You need to understand that a rape never happened. Nothing even close to a rape happened. The Attorney General stated that it did not happen and declared the players innocent. Do some scholarly research and try to find other cases where indicted people have truly been declared "innocent". It is extremely rare. You need to update your vocabulary to the properly recognized terminology for this sorry episode. It is properly called the Duke Lacrosse Hoax.

Your writing contains many completely false statements including the statement that racial slurs were used inside the house. It was established many months ago by the second stripper that it did not happen. Also the AG investigators determined that nothing of the sort happened inside the house. Yes someone, not necessarily a Lacrosse player, used the "white cotton shirt" statement. Go do some more scholarly research and find out what that statement was in response to. I will help you out. It was in response to a racist statement by the other stripper. The only time the "n" word was used was by that stripper in her 911 call.

If you are the decent person you claim to be then go back and correct the errors of your writing. Otherwise the only "bona fides" that stand out about you are your racist bona fides and willingness to promote falsehoods.

Thanks for playing and have a good day.

Anonymous said...

From John O'Shea

Dear Professor,

I was impressed with your touching--and quite humorous--post on KC Johnson's blog, Durham In Wonderland. Is the surname "Ho" really the "Cohen of Chinese"?--LOL

The professor posted an entire thread, "Professor Ho Replies," inresponse to your post over there. I'd check it out.

Love your blog, and I'll try to read some of those books you recommend.

Anonymous said...

Miss Ho, this is anonymous again. Come on back and play. I really want to know where you get your version of the facts in the Duke Lacrosse Hoax.

Not trying to be disparaging of you but you sure do have some explaining to do.

I am not overly impressed with your PhD. In my life, several years older than you, I have met many people whose education far exceeded their intelligence. Try to develop some common sense to go along with your education. It would serve you well in the future.

Again, thanks for playing and have a good day.

James said...

I think if you read this with an open mind you get a clear understanding of what Dr. Ho is saying. The behavior of people nowadays is just getting worse. We obviously haven't hitten bottom yet, or we could just start acting like we got some damn sense. yeah rich people get away with more because they can afford better attorneys, simple economics really. But the point is that college educated young men would call in dancers in the 1st place