Gender, Class, Race and Rape

Rachel says it all.

46 members of the Duke Lacrosse team are taking DNA tests after some of the players were accused of gang raping a woman who they invited to be a dancer at a party. I also don’t want people to think about this story as a gender issue, but as incident that reveals how racism, sexism, and classism intersected to make this young woman particularly vulnerable to a sexual assault. If you read this report from ABC News you will hear very little about race. However, if you this story you get a better idea of what most likely went on. A group of young wealthy White men felt that it was ok to assault this woman, raping her and yelling racial slurs at her. This should be blowing up in the blogosphere folks. This is also one of those “if this had happen to a White woman would we have already heard about it” stories.

From the Duke student newspaper:

Police photographed 46 of the 47 lacrosse team members and collected DNA samples in the form of cheek swabs Thursday afternoon following allegations that the athletes gang-raped, sodomized and strangled a dancer at a March 13 party.

From Rachel:

The young woman is a student at North Carolina Central University (a historically Black University), and she is the mother of two. She was working for the escort service as a dancer to support her family and pay for college.

The race/class/gender dynamics of this whole case are really scary, and they reveal a great deal about our power structure in this country. This young woman ended up in the vulnerable position of being a sex worker because she was trying to better her family and her education. The two young women left the party after the racial slurs began and they feared for their safety, but I can’t help wondering if they were thinking about how they were going to pay their bills or feed their kids when they went back in, something most of these young men don’t even have to think about. I wonder if these guys were thinking about how much power they had over this young women when they yelled racist slurs and when they physically and sexually assault this women? I also wonder if those guys who remained silent were more concerned about protecting their buddies than stopping this terrible assault. How much do they think this woman’s life is worth?

UPDATE: Terrance has more:

I grew up and went to school with kids probably much like some of the guys on the Duke Lacrosse Team. In college, I remember a lot of them as kids who didn’t have to worry about much of anything. Let alone where they money to meet their needs and fulfill nearly all of their wants was going to come from. These were the kids who drove around in their own BMWs from the start of freshmen year. These were kids whose families’ money could bail them out of whatever trouble they got into (like a roommate of mine who’s bank president father got him off with community service for shoplifting thousands of dollars in clothes, when my broke black ass would have ended up in jail).

These were kids who didn’t have to worry about much, including their grades or their futures, because many of them would almost assuredly land a job in dad’s firm or due to mom and dad’s connections; if they don’t end up in public office. These were the kids my folks warned me not to run around with when I went off to college, because I’d be in for a rude awakening if doing so got me into trouble as well as them. There was a big difference between me and them, after all.

In other words, these kids were entitled. They knew it, and they knew everyone else knew it. So, I don’t believe these guys were thinking about how much power they had over this young woman, even as she probably sat in the car wondering where the money for food, clothes, bills, books, tuition, etc., was going to come from if she walked out on this job. They were probably enjoying it, but they weren’t thinking about it because they hardly ever have to think about it.

They don’t have to think about it, because it’s their right. It’s a given, as is probably much else, to them. That is the very essence of entitlement. They were entitled to behave as they did. And, since in their minds they paid for her, entitled to this young woman’s body as well. It’s their due. And they days of wealthy white men being entitled to the bodies of black women they paid for in one way or another, are not so far gone that one can’t hear their echoes in this story.

For the young men involved, what happened at the party was just good fun, mere sport, and they wouldn’t give much more though to it than they would to joining in a fox hunt. And they wouldn’t worry much about the fox either. After all, that’s what it’s there for. And they’ll do with it as they please.


Justice 4 Two Sisters
is staying on top of it.


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125 comments for “Gender, Class, Race and Rape

  1. j swift
    March 28, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    Well we know what is next don’t we. She is black and working as a stripper so she is obviously a whore and everything that happened is her own fault.

    Whereas the Lacrosse are hard-working hero jocks who could not possible rape anyone.

  2. March 28, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    j swift: I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. I may be willfully naive on this topic, but people here are livid about all of this and the condemnation of the lacrosse team has been near-universal.

    Jill, thank you for posting this. I was hoping you would pick it up.

  3. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Here’s more.

    Apparently, 15 of these guys had prior charges relating to drunk and disorderly conduct. In many cases, prosecutors made them go away. And the guys at the party told the dancers that they were members of the basketball and track teams in order to hide their identities.

    Anyone know what the story is with the 47th player and why he wasn’t tested?

  4. March 28, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    According to the Duke article, the women identified their attackers as white, and the 47th player is black.

  5. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    Allison, is men’s lacrosse a team or a club sport at Duke? I remember some members of various men’s sports at the universities I attended getting very pissed off at being moved to club status as a result of Title IX.

  6. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    racism, sexism, and classism intersected to make this young woman particularly vulnerable to a sexual assault.

    So, black women working to support their families as exotic dancers are more “vulnerable to a sexual assault” than white women working to support their families as exotic dancers?

    I’m not sure that’s the case. I think the sexual assault is probably more related to her job rather than her race (which does not excuse it, ofcourseandIshouldn’thavetowritethis). IOW, these bastards didn’t rape her because she was black, they raped her because she was there.

    Also, the characterization that all 46 white members of the team who were at the party are responsible is innacurate: “according to a search warrant obtained by ABC’s WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, Durham police are interested in only three men.”

    Finally, this is just plain wrong (and maybe racist itself):

    This is also one of those “if this had happen to a White woman would we have already heard about it” stories.

    Note, the rape occurred on March 13. The public learned about it on March 25th after:

    Details of the accusations were made public this week in a warrant authorizing a search of the three-bedroom rental house where the attack is alleged to have taken place.

    That is not an unreasonable delay. It gives the police and prosecutor time to gather information. It gives the victim time to recover and prepare hereself for the spotlight.

  7. Thomas
    March 28, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Gabriel, according to the stories, this woman and her colleague were greeted with threats and racial slurs, and left the party. One man apparently told this woman to thank her grandmother for her cotton shirt. When she returned (one report said she had forgotten her shoes), she was kidnapped and raped. Against this background, I would suggest that the members of the Lacrosse team (46 out of 47 of whom are white) felt entitled to rape this woman not only because she was a poor sex worker and because they were spoiled jocks, but also because she’s black and they’re spoiled white jocks. If she had been a white sex worker, they might not have been quite to quick to see her as an inhuman object that they could violate for their amusement.

  8. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    I just want to make clear (especially in light of j swift’s first post) that I think people are being too quick to point to the class-race-sex jack-pot. This case is just a perfect illustration of the privilege of wealthy-white-men perpetrators as contrasted with this poor-black-woman victim; and it’s hard to pass that up.

    But I think a more careful look calls the “race” portion of this crime into question. Yes, they called her racial epithets. But that doesn’t mean that they raped her because she was black. I have no doubt that these foul-mouthed turds would have used similar language had the victim been of any race.

    Also, the class and sex issues here just overwhelm any racial element. They raped her because she was a woman and she was there. Do you honestly think that when faced with the “rape this women” or “dont rape this woman” choice they cared about her race?

    Contrast this focus on the fact that she was black with the emphasis on the fact that these were white (Rachel actually capitalizes “White” and “Black”).

    Rachel writes more than once that she believes these White men thought they could do this because of their race and hers (if this was true wouldn’t white people be more likely to rape black people?). Again, I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that they’re scumbags and they were there.

  9. March 28, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Does anybody else see a correlation between this case and the 1983 New Bedford pool table gang rape? Another group of men standing around, possibly cheering the attackers on – and not lifting a finger to stop anything. Weaklings, all.

    I hate to speak this way. I know that there are good men out there. But let me tell you, in my experience, men are all talk when it comes to being “tough”. When push comes to shove, they wimp out, look the other way, and protect their own.

  10. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    So, black women working to support their families as exotic dancers are more “vulnerable to a sexual assault” than white women working to support their families as exotic dancers?

    The first thing they threw at her were racial slurs. THEN they raped her.

    Also, the characterization that all 46 white members of the team who were at the party are responsible is innacurate: “according to a search warrant obtained by ABC’s WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, Durham police are interested in only three men.”

    No one’s saying all 46 are. But they are being tested to see if they match, and it’s quite likely that several of them were there and did nothing or even encouraged their teammates, even if they didn’t actually rape her themselves.

  11. petrice
    March 28, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    This debate reminds me of similar one occuring on Gothamist right now about the brutal rape and murder of Romana Moore. The conservatives are arguing that her race wasn’t a factor in the police’s delayed response to her disappearance, despite her parent’s pleas for help. Her mother filed suit against the police alleging instiutional racism, they claim that she and others like myself are just playing “the race card.”

    Please help respond, it’s lonely and frustrating being one of the few who see how race and class are indeliably linked and can’t be seperated.

    http://www.gothamist.com/archives/2006/03/24/two_guilty_verd.php

  12. Erin
    March 28, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    I live in the RDU area and the reason that they are testing all 46 white members of the team who were there is because none of the team members would give up any information on who is guility (although in my opinion if you stand and watch or ignore it you’re guilty as well)
    There are a number of articles from the past several days at the Raleigh News and Observer web site that give a pretty good run-down of what has been released.

  13. March 28, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    “according to a search warrant obtained by ABC’s WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, Durham police are interested in only three men.”

    The victim said that three men raped her. All 46 are being tested because no one will fess up or point the finger. All the players are huddling together; that protects the guilty ones. I hope to god that the investigators have irrefutable DNA evidence that will put those pricks in jail.

  14. Defense Guy
    March 28, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    I think this has less to do with race or class than it does with an overabundance of testosterone coupled with alcohol and mob mentality. I’d be curios to know if even one of these asses tried to stop it.

  15. March 28, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    Having heard about the denigration of other black dancers, I believe that race was the motivating factor why these young women were invited in the first place. I’m not saying that the rape was planned, but I believe the debasing was. These jocks weren’t trying to get a mastubatory thrill, b/c most likely they would have invited white dancers for that. They wanted to feed their racial animus. Again I believe this to be so b/c of the other cases I’ve read about where black dancers were invited to dance for a white audience and were largely targets of racial epithets and other debasing language. Sex took a back seat, leading me to infer that sex wasn’t the reason they were invited.

  16. March 28, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    I’m surprised that Duke wouldn’t suspend the team. Or have they?

  17. Defense Guy
    March 28, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    One other thing to note. Those that witnessed it and did nothing to stop it are as guilty in my mind as those who actually commited the rape. They have chosen a sick sort of comradery over morality and so they should all burn together.

  18. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    race and class are indeliably linked and can’t be seperated.

    How can anyone actually believe this? Think about the ramifications. Are members of a race forever limited to a class? This is, of course, demonstrably not the case.

  19. March 28, 2006 at 2:27 pm

    “Yes, they called her racial epithets….”

    Excuse me. I must have missed something….

    …it’s “not racist”? How can that be? It’s not racist even though the women were verbally abused and insulted with racist slurs the moment they walked in? Why is it only “racist” if they got raped because of their race? That’s absurd.

    It was a racist incident the moment slurs were used. Seems pretty obvious to me.

  20. March 28, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    sex wasn’t the reason they were invited

    I do believe that violence was; in one of the articles, the victim describes how one of the players wielded a broomstick and threatened to sexually assault the dancers with it. This is the reason that they left the house to begin with. And yes, I DO think it’s much easier for white men to be violent towards black women than white women.

  21. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    …it’s “not racist”? How can that be?

    I didn’t say they weren’t racist. I said they didn’t rape her because she was black.

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  23. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    I DO think it’s much easier for white men to be violent towards black women than white women.

    Can you back that up with some statistics? Perhaps something that shows that white men commit more sex crimes against black women than white? I mean, if it really is easier for a white man to rape a black woman, wouldn’t that be demonstrated by criminal statistics? (Though, it occurs to me in this moment that one can claim, “Well, there are no statistics because the white men are getting away with it.”)

    I submit: the idea that it’s easier for white men to be violent towards black women than white women is unsupported by facts.

  24. R. Mildred
    March 28, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    I didn’t say they weren’t racist. I said they didn’t rape her because she was black.

    their obvious and proven racism had to play a part in their choice to viciously rape a black women, by definition, unless they can compartmentalise their various prejudices so that it was an act of pure, untainted misogyny with no racial over tones whatsoever, rather than something that occured because of a combination of their racism, misogyny and class privelage.

    by the way you’re defining it you could say they didn’t rape her becasue she was a woman either, or beacuse she was a stripper, or because of any of the various aspects of the victim’s person that made her a target.

  25. human
    March 28, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Gabriel, how the f*** can you possibly know that?

  26. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    human, you’re right, I can’t “know” what they were thinking. I can just look at the circumstances.

    The reason I care at all is because of the emphasis that Rachel and others have placed on the race of the victim and the race of the rapists. I’m interested in the question: does the racial element in this case warrant the claim that “they raped her because, as white people, they thought they could get away the rape because she was black?”

    That claim has been made here and elsewhere and even led to the further claim that if this had been a white woman, the police and the press would have handled it differently.

    These two ideas: (1) that they raped her because she was black; and (2) this case has received discriminatory police and press treatment because she was black are not supported by the circumstances as I see them.

    Yes, they were racists. But that doesn’t mean they raped her because she was black. Based on the circumstances as I know them from the various links, it seems more likely that they raped her simply because she was there.

    Some have tried to imply that they called black strippers specifically so they could rape them. If that is the case, then I’m wrong. But there are no facts to support the contention that they singled out black strippers as opposed to white strippers.

  27. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Gabriel, they viewed her as disposable. As Other. As less than.

    They told us why they thought she was so, because they requested a black dancer and then hurled racial epithets at her and threatened her with sodomy-by-broomstick (Abner Louima, anyone?), and they raped her.

    They insulted her with racial epithets and then they raped her.

    What more do you need?

  28. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    My point is that the rape is just a rape and some people are exploiting the races of the victim and the rapists to make general points that are unsupported.

    I’ve gotta run to class. I’ll check back later. I am interested in what you guys think. Did they rape her because she was black? Is this one of those stories where if the victim had been white it would have received different treatment by the police and the press?

  29. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Unsupported?

    THEY THREW RACIAL SLURS AT HER.

    Again, what the fuck more do you want?

  30. March 28, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    zuzu: Lacrosse is a team here, official, and I’m pretty sure they’re on full scholarship (they’re pretty consistently ranked in the top ten in the nation, so I bet they use money to lure people here).

    Gabriel et al: The police are looking for three rapists, yes. But according to the Chronicle I have on my desk here, there are only three members of the lacrosse team who deny having been at the party. They were also DNA tested.

    Defense Guy: A woman who lives next door to the house says that she called the police and complained of a noise violation that night because a ball was being bounced against the wall for an hour or so. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the assault, and neither does she, but she suspects that it was done to cover the noise of the assault. If that’s true, it might mean collusion by at least one more teammate. Of course, it might not mean anything, but I’m inclined toward skepticism.

    Sorry this is late – I had to go to class. And after that class, I am inclined to withdraw my second comment, as I heard some comments along the lines of “the lacrosse season should be reinstated because nothing has been proven”. I find this attitude highly disturbing, to say the least.

  31. March 28, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    “But I think a more careful look calls the “race” portion of this crime into question. Yes, they called her racial epithets. But that doesn’t mean that they raped her because she was black. ”

    I was referring to your statement that “calls the race portion of the crime into question”. These three sentences make it sound like you are calling into question whether race was an issue at all.

    They raped her. They used racial epithets. Therefore, this is a race-class-sex issue.

    that’s my point. it is simply a red herring to speculate on “why” they raped her- they raped her because they are rapists. plain and simple.

  32. raging red
    March 28, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    Gabriel, are you being deliberately obtuse? This isn’t just a case of white men raping a black woman. They used racial slurs. If someone beats a man senseless while screaming out “faggot,” don’t you think that’s pretty damn good evidence that the crime is motivated by gay hatred?

  33. March 28, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    THEY THREW RACIAL SLURS AT HER.

    Does anyone actually know what was said? “Rcial slurs” would seem to cover a wide range, a good portion of which is now common usage in rap for instance.

    But besides that I think Gabriel’s point is that a correlation is not a causality. Lets take the “racial slurs” as a given. What that does not tell us is whether they would have treated a white stripper differently, whether they would have assaulted a black male, or a white male. The answers to those questions are going to help you understand whether the crime was motivated by mysogyny, racism, or some degree of both.

  34. Stacy
    March 28, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    Can you back that up with some statistics? Perhaps something that shows that white men commit more sex crimes against black women than white?

    Do we need statistics? It’s logical, to me. If you view someone as less than a human being, your empathy will not apply to him or her, and it would be easier for you to inflict harm on him or her. So it would follow that if someone were a racist, it might be easier to discount a black woman as less human than a white woman. Thus normal rules regarding respect and humanity (such as consent for sex) could be waved in that mindset.

    I guess I would look at it like this.

    Given that they used racial slurs against the women, we can conclude that the men at the party were racist.

    Because the men were racist, they viewed the black women as inferior to them.

    Since the black women are were viewed as inferior to the white men, it was justifiable to the white men to have sex with them without their consent.

    No, we have no control white woman at the party to prove that this was racially motivated. However, given what we do know about the situation, saying that these men probably felt more justification in raping this woman because she was black (and therefore, to them, less human than a white woman might appear) is not an insane assumption.

    I personally think the scenario probably falls in line with Post#15. These men invited the black women to dance in order to throw racial insults at them. When the women did not submit to their white privilege/perceived superiority, by leaving the party instead of just “laughing it off” or “taking it with a grain of salt”, other means were necessary for the men to assert their perceived superiority over the women.

    And that’s not even touching on class. I think the point though, is that it all appears to be intertwined. We can’t really say it’s A and not B, or it’s not C it’s A. It’s probably a mixture of all the “isms”, and can we really single out one “ism” without talking about the others?

  35. March 28, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Some have tried to imply that they called black strippers specifically so they could rape them. If that is the case, then I’m wrong. But there are no facts to support the contention that they singled out black strippers as opposed to white strippers.

    I was the one who brought up the point that the attackers probably called these women to purposely denigrate them. The rape was most probably not planned but spurred on by their racial disdain, alcohol consumption and an ensuing mob mentaility.

    I make this point based on other accounts I’ve read, including a frat party where a black stripper was lambasted racially as though that was the whole point of her being there. In this case, she took the verbal abuse. Racial animus tends to flow freely in these situations and actually may have given these men a “hard-on” knowing they could abuse a black woman with impunity.

    Again, I believe that sex wasn’t the primary motivation for these men (make that sick boys) seeking out a black stripper in the first place. If they’d wanted to get a groove-on, they most likely would have invited white dancers. But I have the sickening feeling that they wanted to be able to abuse someone black (something they may be denied in other social settings), and in this case, a black exotic dancer was more vulnerable than a black coed or a black male.

  36. Thomas
    March 28, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    Gabriel, you assume that a race bias in rapist victim selection could be identified by statistics, but how do you propose to control for opportunity? The bias should be clear in the proportions of target’s race as a function of every woman white rapists have the opportunity to rape. However, the latter universe is unknown. In fact, opportunities to rape a member of another race are limited, and therefore these will be comparatively scarce in the data. Most rapes are acquaintance rapes, which are poorly reported. Since most people have more acquaintances of their own race than of other races (not true for all people or for all ethnic groups, but we’re mostly talking black/white here), each white rapist will have many more opportunities to rape white women than black women. The question we’re looking at is whether the black women are disproportionately represented among the targets of his crimes — something I don’t think we can find out. Likewise, stranger rapes are subject to opportunities which may not directly tie in to race, but which may reflect great disproportion for other reasons. I simply don’t know if more opportunities to attack white women than black women present themselves to a stranger rapist. And neither do you. So, on the whole, the statistic that you think is available, is not.

    That said, I think R. Mildred has the analysis right. If a man hates lawyers and hates Jews, and beats up a person that he knows to be both a lawyer and a Jew, is it an antisemitic hate crime? I think it is. Unless one has some good reason to say that the attack certainly would have happened anyway (say, the man was hired by a former client to beat up the lawyer), then each animus that bears on the encounter is presumptively causal, in my book. Likewise, if a racist and misogynist gang beats and rapes a black woman, I think their conduct is both misogynist and racist. Like R. Mildred said, it blinks reality to suggest that they can compartmentalize their prejudices; or put another way, even though they are misogynist enough to rape a woman, a white woman might have reminded one of them of a sister or a friend, but if they are also racist (which they are), there’s no danger of them developing actual human compassion for a black woman who they have chosen as their target.

    So, basically, I think your attempt to parse the reasons for this attack falls totally flat and I can’t see what you hope to accomplish by it anyway.

  37. j swift
    March 28, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Shorter Gabriel;

    I you ain’t wearing jackboots and goose steppin you ain’t a rascist.

  38. March 28, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Do we need statistics?

    It certainly woudn’t hurt. Our intuitions afterall are far from infallible.

    try this for example:

    Scroll down to the table called “Percent distribution of single-offender victimizations, based on race of victims, by type of crime
    and perceived race of offender” (page 30)

    For black victims of rape it appears that close to 90% of the incidence were by ‘percieved’ blacks. The other about 10% was by “other” not white. In fact for 2003 they have a count of 0 for white rapes/sexual assaults of blacks (although that is out of a very limited number, Given that they used racial slurs against the women, we can conclude that the men at the party were racist.

    No not necessarily. Not without knowing what was said. The guys could have been singing any number of rap songs that would count as racial slurs but not be doing it out of any real racial animosity. Or to put it another way despite the connotation these words still get used for a variety of purposes. My father once made a rank racist statement about lazy mexicans when we were walking around San Francisco. Was he really being racist? No because he didn’t believe it for a second, it was just a tactic to try and annoy/get a rise out of me (complicated relationship).

    Simply knowing what someone said does not immediately let you know what they meant. There is context and subtext and so on. And in this case we don’t seem to even know what was said, merely to have had it described in a provocative way.

  39. March 28, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    awww, crud. The link works, but the whole text became the link instead of just a line.

  40. Thomas
    March 28, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    J, shorter Gabriel is this: even if a racist rapes a black woman while saying racist things, it’s not a racist attack unless he says that her race is a but-for cause of the rape. (A rare declaration, I’m sure.)

  41. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Hey, Tlaloc, here’s a wild idea:

    Read the linked articles.

    In those articles, you will find the epithets, you will find descriptions of the crime, and you will find a lot of answers to your questions.

  42. March 28, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Gabriel, I think you’re framing the discussion in an unproductive manner. Saying “racism, sexism, and classism intersected to make this young woman particularly vulnerable to a sexual assault,” which is what Rachel did, is different from saying, that she was or was not raped because she was black, which is what you said.

    Rachel isn’t saying, “Those dudes raped her because she was black,” or maybe not “only” because she was black. But clearly race, gender, class and POWER played a major role in this situation – in fact, power is the main motivator behind sexual assault. These men clearly were in power – and the use of racial slurs is evidence that race was part of that power. As was class. As was gender. It all colluded in a terrifying way for the survivors.

    And frankly, I think she’s absolutely right that the media would have jumped on this sooner if the survivor had been white. Just look at the Imette St. Guillen murder, look at the Sarah Fox murder – the media just loves to focus on the deaths of white women, particularly when the suspected murderer is a man of color. Why do the deaths of young white women allegedly killed by men of color get so much attention? Think about that. Why don’t the deaths or assaults of black and brown women get as much media attention? Why isn’t this assault blowing up in the news the way that the Kobe Bryant assault did?

    Maybe because it feeds a centuries-old white paranoia about white women and supposedly-over-sexualized black and brown men. Maybe because women of color are viewed as more disposable.

    Try to think about this discussion in different terms. Maybe that’ll help you hear what folks are trying to say.

  43. amy
    March 28, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    I think the real reason this is not being reported more is that people sadly just aren’t that surprised. A bunch of overprivlidged frat boy jocks brutalizing a woman just isn’t shocking anymore. It is a story that has played out over and over again. And people know by now that the guys usually get off no matter what their victim looks like.

    Thanks for writing about it.

  44. March 28, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    Read the linked articles.

    Fair enough. I just asked because people kept just saying “they used racial slurs.”

  45. March 28, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Wait. I read the blog entry and it didn’t seem to say what was actualy said. The other link no longer works. Back to square one.

  46. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    Jesus Christ. Read the news articles, not just the blog posts.

    Don’t expect everyone to spoon-feed you.

  47. Gabriel Malor
    March 28, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Hokay.

    I never said that they weren’t racist. This is the second or third time I’ve had to repeat myself on this. C’mon guys.

    The reason for my interest (unproductive though it may be) is that some people have implied that this attack occurred because these were white boys who knew they could get away this because she was black. (Of course, quite obviously, white boys cannot get away with this.)

    The idea that this case can be generalized that far bothered me. Same for the idea that this is not getting the same level of police or media attention because the victim is black and the rapists are white. Um, evidence…please? midwesterntransport noted some murders and a case involving a national sports figure. Those were not very similar cases. (BTW, thanks for your good-natured and thought-out response, midwesterntransport, and for your bit of advice at the end–though I confess to having some difficulty with that.)

    zuzu, we don’t know that “they” called the strippers. Someone at the party did. I bring this up because it goes to the argument that they called a black stripper on purpose so they could abuse her.

    Also, I agree most with the comments that there’s no reason to ascribe one reason to this. They raped her because of a combination of the circumstances including class, sex, and race. I just didn’t like the overbroad generalizations based on race.

  48. March 28, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Read the news articles, not just the blog posts.

    Damn, Zuzu, I thought the statement “the link is broken” was pretty straightforward. I did read the article you subsequently linked to and again didn’t see anything saying what was said.

    I know we disagree on a lot but you don’t have to assume my every post is an attempt to fuck with you.

  49. March 28, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    The link should be fixed now. Sorry about that.

  50. jacob
    March 28, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    There is no question that this was a crime of privilege–not just racial privilege, not just male privilege, not just class privilege–the intersection of all of them. A group of white young men, at an elite university, all graduates of elite high schools (you can see the roster at http://www.deadspin.com/sports/lacrosse/duke-lacrosse-team-on-the-brink-163424.php – I only know the DC-area schools, and they’re all hotbeds of privilege), hired, under false pretenses, two working-class, black sex workers. Then they taunt and rape them.

    Any time there’s white-on-black sexual violence, there are undertones of the 400 year history of such violence. Most of the time it’s implicit, a replication in miniature of slave rape and the sexual violence that underpinned 75 years of Jim Crow. This time it was explicit. One of the lax players brandished a broomstick–which, since Amadou Diallo (or was it Abner Louima?)–has become a symbol of white-on-black sexual violence. One of they deliberately, explicitly invoked slavery when he yelled “thank you grandpa for my cotton shirt.” There’s no other way to read these two things: they were deliberate invocations of whiteness and the power and privilege that whiteness entails.

    I thought, too, that here in Durham (I’m a Duke grad student) the response was unanimously one of horror and shame and disgust. Apparently, it’s untrue. If you want to be horrified all over again, look at this anonymous forum for Duke undergrads, largely those in the Greek scene: dukeobsrvr.livejournal.com.

  51. Thomas
    March 28, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    Gabriel, do you now concede that when white men rape a black woman and have said racist things to the woman immediately prior to the assault, we ought to presume that race is a causal factor in the rape?

  52. March 28, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks for fixing the link. Again the article says nothing about what the “racial slurs” were (unless I missed it).

  53. Catty
    March 28, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Gabriel,

    You must be incredibly obtuse. I think you mean well, but I just can’t see how you are trying to ignore the racism factor. As an asian woman, I’ve had to deal with my fair share of horrid comments. If a guy tells me “he’s always wanted to try asian” before he rapes me, I sure as fuck am going to think that the rape was motivated by racism as well as being a rape.

  54. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    Everyone else has figured out that there is more than one news article in various posts. See comments for examples.

  55. March 28, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    Everyone else has figured out that there is more than one news article in various posts. See comments for examples.

    Look Zuzu, I’ve read the articles linked in the main post and the one linked in your follow up. You’ve definitvely stated that the slurs are described in one of the articles. So rather than me playing hide and seek why don’t you just go ahead and tell me which one, ‘kay?

  56. kate
    March 28, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Gabriel mailer:

    Where have you lived all your life? Are you not exposed to the racial slurs and stereotypes of black women continuously thrown around in our society? I grew up in the St. Louis area to a father whose entire family came from the south.

    Blackness is considered still by many whites to be the next thing to nothingness. How white people aspire to be black? Tell me please of that place in this country. And no matter how well a black person is able to move up the ladder economically, they still have their black skin and still must consistently prove that they are not ‘like the others’.

    Lower income white folks consistently blame ‘quotas’ and other programs as evidence of blacks getting ‘priviledges’ that they don’t. Why do you think poor whites supported welfare reform and the republican agenda of cutting other social programs that they often are on the edge of needing themselves, if not utilizing themselves?

    Class exists in this country as the sin no one wants to fess up to. Upper middle and middle class whites can’t work hard enough to distance themselves from the stereotypical ‘hick’ — poor white person. Why do you think comedy fodder is made with such persons as the ‘cable guy’ or Jeff Foxworthy? Because everyone wants to laugh at the dumb po’ whites and make sure that they are not like them.

    If classism doesn’t exist then why does television consistently show people of middle and upper middle incomes in exclusion of lower income people with poor whites as people to be laughed at? Why is it that representation of people of color is so scant in popular television?

    I remember in the town I lived in during grade school and junior high, ALton Illinois, some friends of mine and I went carousing around the countryside one evening. Toward dusk we stopped at an old church. One of the kids among us walked us over to the edge of the church property, close to a ravine leading to woods. A black spot was visible on the ground, about 2′ in circumfrence. “This is where they burned her.”

    “Burned who?” we asked.
    “That black lady, they took her out here, raped her and set her on fire.”
    That’s all I ever heard of that, being white, we didn’t concern ourselves too heavily about what went on in the black community and neither did anyone else who was white.

    A drive through the higher end st. louis suburbs, like ladue, clayton or creve couer at around 4 pm would see the where one race met another; black women standing on the corners waiting for the bus to take them home after a days’ work.

    Those girls were brought to that party for fun and games and sex and what better than to invite black or latina girls? They are free, they are dogs for sporting white boys to use and most importantly they won’t tell. Their lawyers are gearing up to punish them for coming forward, with twice the vengence of any white woman.

    Also, if they wanted to rape in exclusion of race and class, why didn’t they rape a sorority sister?

    Like the old popular song from the sixties by gerry something or other…’If her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal, if her daddy’s poor, just do watcha feel.’ I’m sure he didn’t just come up with that idea on his own.

    That was then. This is now and I congratulate these women for speaking out.

  57. March 28, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    I just read that the lacrosse players robbed the woman too.

    Raped, beaten, strangled and robbed…does anybody else think that this incident sounds like a scene from Grand Theft Auto? After a “player” in the game has sex with a prostitute, he can beat her up, take his money back and kill her.

  58. March 28, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    Back up for a second: so is someone is trying to say that since there are racial slurs used in rap songs, that when these rapists were using them, they weren’t being used as hateful speech? If that’s what that person is trying to say, then that’s probably the most back-ass, ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t matter exactly what the “racial slurs” were, in a violent situation like that, the meaning is clear. I’m pretty sure they weren’t using them as terms of endearment.

    Jesus Christ, that was stupid.

  59. March 28, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Back up for a second: so is someone is trying to say that since there are racial slurs used in rap songs, that when these rapists were using them, they weren’t being used as hateful speech?

    It would tend to indicate that said slurs were not meant really as racial slurs, but more as white boys acting ghetto.

    Now to be clear, I am not saying this is what happened. I don’t know. I just find the statement “they used racial slurs” to be a bit… vague. It could mean a lot of things. Some would indicate the woman was victimized or perhaps more victimized because of her race. Other would indicate that race was not an important consideration.

    I really am not sure why it matters though. Three guys apparently raped and assaulted a woman. That’s really enough to be offended at without worrying about racism too.

  60. March 28, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    And one more problem with this entire situation that fascinates me:

    Haagen, a law professor who specializes in sports law, said studies show that violence against women is more prevalent among male athletes than among male students in general — and higher still among such “helmet sports” as football, hockey and lacrosse.

    “These are sports of violence,” he said. “This is clearly a concern.”

  61. March 28, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    And in this article:

    The women were told that the men at the party were members of the baseball or track teams, apparently to hide their identities, according to a document that was used to obtain a judge’s order requiring each member of the team to submit to a DNA test. After the broomstick threat, the women left but were followed out by a man who persuaded them to return, the document says. That’s when, the woman said, three men pushed her into a bathroom and began the assault, which she said lasted for 30 minutes. She lost four fingernails as she scratched at one of the men who was strangling her, according to the document.

    After the attack, police found four red polished fingernails in the house in addition to her makeup bag, cell phone and identification, the newly released document says.

    A Duke spokesman said that the team captains have denied criminal wrongdoing.

    Jesus fucking Christ.

  62. March 28, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    A Duke spokesman said that the team captains have denied criminal wrongdoing.

    And you’ll notice that the coaches of the team aren’t exactly jumping in to implore their charges to do the right thing, either.

    If anyone’s interested, I’ve posted on this. It’s class commentary, though, not race commentary.

  63. March 28, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Regarding Lauren’s point about the continuum of violence…interesting that I just got home from a counseling/psych class in which we discussed rape, and perpetrator motivations.

    Some studies suggest three categories: power rape (establish power), anger rape (vent anger) and sadistic rape (satisfy sadistic release)… Scully and Marolla (1984, 1985) find that rape “can be viewed as the endpoint on a continuum of sexually agressive behaviors that reward men and victimize women.” Another type of rape is where the victim was a “convenient target” where the perpetrator did not necessarily intend for the situation to end in rape, but took advantage as an afterthought.

    Scully and Marolla (1985) also found that for some rapists, particularly those who raped as part of a gang, rape represented recreation and adventure… in each case perpetrators described it as “exciting” as an “adventure” or as one man noted, as “macho.” “We felt powerful; we were in control. I wanted sex and there was peer pressure. She wasn’t like a person, no personality, just domination on my part. Just to show I could do it…you know, macho.”

  64. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    Now to be clear, I am not saying this is what happened. I don’t know. I just find the statement “they used racial slurs” to be a bit… vague. It could mean a lot of things. Some would indicate the woman was victimized or perhaps more victimized because of her race. Other would indicate that race was not an important consideration.

    Since you can’t be bothered to read the articles that are linked everywhere, perhaps you can explain to me how a bunch of white guys telling a black woman whom they’re threatening to sodomize with a broomstick “Thank your grandfather for this cotton shirt,” among other things, are “just acting ghetto.”

  65. March 28, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    Since you can’t be bothered to read the articles that are linked everywhere

    I asked you to just tell me which article actually went into detail after reading three and coming up with no hits. I don’t see how you can construe that as me not be bothered to read so much as you not being bothered to be forthcoming.

    “Thank your grandfather for this cotton shirt,”

    Is that what was said? Is that all? Was there more? Frankly that strikes me as pretty damn tame compared to the racial slurs I’ve heard. Somehow compared to the rape and strangulation it seems incredibly trivial to even mention. YMMV.

  66. zuzu
    March 28, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    “Is that all?”

    Plenty evidence of their racism for me. You seem to have issues with empathy or valuing others’ experience. I’m sure the dancers heard the message of that statement loud and clear: just remember, my grandfather owned your grandfather.

  67. March 28, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    Tlaloc, dude, are you playing dumb to protect your own prejudice or are you truly just dumb? Both, perhaps?

    What else does a person have to go through to merit shock and discomfort on your part? What’s your investment in minimizing the impact of this?

    Are you fishing for details to flesh out the scene for your amusement or what?

    Can you handle so many questions or should I only post one at a time?

  68. March 28, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    Question, Tlaloc: What would it take to convince you that a rape had racist overtones or motivations to it?

  69. March 28, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    What would it take to convince you that a rape had racist overtones or motivations to it?

    I’ll answer for him: If the dude(s) said, “I’m doing this because I’m white and you’re not.”

  70. March 28, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    I have tried to reply to this thread about half a dozen times and have always been stymied by incoherent rage.

    First of all, I’d like to point out that the burden of proof as to whether or not racial slurs were made, and how serious were those racial slurs, etc, etc, are kith and kin of the old methods of proving that rape took place, and how serious was the rape if she was drunk, etc, etc.

    Second of all, as to the spectre of rape statistics broken down by the race of the assailant and victim, I’d like to know since when rape statistics have been reliable at all, since they rely on reporting. When you add in that it’s been proven that black women are much less likely to be taken seriously when they report a sexual assault, I don’t think anyone can shake their finger about “who rapes more, blacks or whites.”

    Third: When you live in an urban area with both 1) a ghetto, and 2) several universities, the most privileged of which is on your doorstep, you learn that no, black men are not the ones you should be afraid of. You should be afraid of the rich white boy whose daddy will bail him out of any trouble he gets into.

    Fourth: I don’t see feminists and civil right’s activists fighting over who gets to “claim” this crime. I see outside agitators trying to throw in, and try to start fights. I’m fucking sick of it. This was a hate crime against women, just as much as it was a hate crime against African Americans. To try to insist otherwise just proves that you’re the enemy of social progress in all of its forms.

  71. March 28, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Tlaloc, dude, are you playing dumb to protect your own prejudice or are you truly just dumb? Both, perhaps?

    Well I try to be inclusive, lets make it both.

    What else does a person have to go through to merit shock and discomfort on your part?

    What part of “Three guys apparently raped and assaulted a woman. That’s really enough to be offended at without worrying about racism too.” is really unclear?

    What’s your investment in minimizing the impact of this?

    I have no investment in minimizing, I simply kind of like accuracy. When people run off on an ill concieved run of poor logic and incorrect assertions I’m the annoying guy who raises his hand and says “but that isn’t true…”

    To be clear here people have asserted very boldly that race was a causative factor in the rape. I’m just not at all clear that is so. Taking time to make the determination is, well, wise.

    Are you fishing for details to flesh out the scene for your amusement or what?

    Yeah. You caught me. I’m a racial slur fetishist. Rather than simply look them up at wikipedia I thought it was worth all of Zuzu’s abuse to try and pry a doozy like the grandfather line out of this site.

    Can you handle so many questions or should I only post one at a time?

    Oh no I have a limitless quantity of sarcasm. Fire away.

  72. March 28, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Question, Tlaloc: What would it take to convince you that a rape had racist overtones or motivations to it?

    Well if we knew for certain the rapists were involved in picking out a black girl for the party dancer, that’d certainly help show it. If the racial slurs are a bit more than one weak stupid throw away line that is far more offensive for it’s stupidity than for any racial element, that’d help.

    It’s not an easy thing to show a racial component if the guys aren’t avowed racists, frankly.

    Here’s my return question: why the hell do we care? There was a crime here. And It wasn’t yelling a racial slur. Sure that may be stupid and obnoxious but a woman was raped and assaulted. Jeebus! Why the hell is the (apparently tame) racial component of any importance compared to the physical assault?

    Just asking.

  73. March 28, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    First of all, I’d like to point out that the burden of proof as to whether or not racial slurs were made, and how serious were those racial slurs, etc, etc, are kith and kin of the old methods of proving that rape took place, and how serious was the rape if she was drunk, etc, etc.

    Yeah it sucks that rape is hard to prove. I honestly wish that were not the case. And DNA testing helps but there may be more to do. However the system of innocent til proven guilty is still the best. It may need tweaks in some areas but that is far far better than the alternatives.

    Second of all, as to the spectre of rape statistics broken down by the race of the assailant and victim, I’d like to know since when rape statistics have been reliable at all, since they rely on reporting.

    A good point, but look at the stats, there were no white on black rapes reported in 2003. None. All of them were black or “other.” It’s hard to discount that entirely as a bias in reporting.

  74. March 28, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    Tlaloc,

    Please believe me when I tell you that this is not an isolated incident. Duke has a very serious problem with race and racial relations. Feel free to contact me if you would like me to expound upon this topic to the extent of my (admittedly very limited) ability.

    This crime did not occur in a vacuum.

  75. March 28, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    Please believe me when I tell you that this is not an isolated incident. Duke has a very serious problem with race and racial relations.

    Okay I’ll buy that. I don’t know the school, personally. I still don’t see why the racism is even under discussion when a physical assault occured. Being racist isn’t a crime afterall. It’s retarded, certainly, but not criminal.

  76. March 28, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    PS. Terrance is spot-on.

  77. March 28, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    this is a fantastic discussion on a horrific subject… thank you for bringing this to light

    my question is… if this happened 2 weeks ago, why are we just hearing about this now?

  78. March 28, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, you’re way too funny for me to keep up with… Who knew offensive cluelessness could be such a RIOT???

    Ah… snarky guys who speak like the herd while fancying themselves so sharp, so “questioning”. So smart, in fact, that he can’t even hold the complexity of race/class/gender all at once. Must. Choose. One.

    Whatever.

  79. March 28, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    my question is… if this happened 2 weeks ago, why are we just hearing about this now?

    That’s a good question. I only heard about it today through Alas. The NY Times has an article about it on the website now, but that’s the first I’ve seen of their coverage on it. I suspect a police investigation was ongoing, but word didn’t hit the greater student body at Duke (and then the media) until the men were subpoenaed for DNA tests. It takes a while to gather evidence and present a case compelling enough for a judge to issue a subpoena for 46 men. That’s probably part of it.

    Another part of it is probably the people involved. That is, victims who no one is really advocating for, and accused who are “good boys” and favorite sons.

  80. jacob
    March 28, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    Here’s my return question: why the hell do we care? There was a crime here. And It wasn’t yelling a racial slur. Sure that may be stupid and obnoxious but a woman was raped and assaulted. Jeebus! Why the hell is the (apparently tame) racial component of any importance compared to the physical assault?

    Easy: because it’s not very useful (or interesting) to merely point out a rape and shake our heads and say, “Crime these days. Boy, I don’t know.” What thinking people should do is to examine why the crime was committed, what possessed three young men getting the best liberal education money can buy to brutaly rape (and strangle and rob and beat) a woman.

    Any decent analysis of any rape hinges on power, and the vertices on which power hangs. Most rapes are committed by men against women, and so the obvious vertex of power is gender. But often there’s class, and often there’s rape. And as I said in my previous post, any time a white man rapes a black woman, it harkens back, implictly but obviously, on the 400 years that rape was used to systematically impose white supremacy. In this case, that reference was explicit. Not just “racial slurs”–a vague term, yes, but one which most people recognize to be a euphemism for “nigger”–but a specific, intentional, overt reference to slavery.

    Clearly, one of the vertices of power for these people who raped this poor woman was race. Yes, also gender. Yes, also class. But if you refuse to recoginize a racial crime when you see it, you miss the point of the story, and you doom yourself to asking uninteresting and unuseful questions.

  81. jacob
    March 28, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    PS. If you have 12 minutes to spare, let me recommend that you listen to this: http://www.ibiblio.org/wunc_archives/sot/audioarchive//sot032706a.mp3. It’s an interview with Tim Tyson, the author of Blood Done Sign My Name, which is about race and violence in North Carolina (and a visiting professor at Duke this year). It’s from WUNC, the local NPR station.

  82. randomliberal/Robert
    March 28, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Allow me to take this opportunity to point out something.

    Obscenities/profanities/vulgarities such as:

    fuck shit cunt cocksucker motherfucker piss tits nigger bitch ho

    don’t mean a goddamn thing unless they’re said with malicious intent. When one of the rapists said

    Thank your grandfather for this cotton shirt.

    that was much, much worse than, say, a rap group calling themselve “Niggaz With Attitude”. Words only mean something when the speaker intends them to. It’s clear the rapist meant for his comment to degrade as much as he possibly could.

  83. March 28, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    my question is… if this happened 2 weeks ago, why are we just hearing about this now?

    Jill makes excellent points, but I’m pretty sure it also has something to do with the fact that this happened over spring break, and there was a markedly decreased student presence on campus until at least a week afterward. So maybe we can split it half and half between ignorance and bias.

  84. March 28, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    What thinking people should do is to examine why the crime was committed,

    Sure, but that is not going to happen here. A bunch of internet bloggers, dealing with third hand information, and speculating about unknown people’s psychology is not exactly going to uncover any fundamental truths.

  85. Chet
    March 28, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    Raped, beaten, strangled and robbed…does anybody else think that this incident sounds like a scene from Grand Theft Auto? After a “player” in the game has sex with a prostitute, he can beat her up, take his money back and kill her.

    Cuz, God knows, nobody ever committed that crime in real life or in a movie before the invention of the Playstation 2.

  86. Marksman2000
    March 29, 2006 at 12:08 am

    You guys argue over dumb shit.

    What you NEED to be worried about is that one or more of these sleezeballs will probably run for office in the near future. If not, he’ll just end up as your supervisor at work (or your father-in-law).

  87. March 29, 2006 at 12:24 am

    There was a crime here. And It wasn’t yelling a racial slur.

    Tlaloc is as well-informed as he is intelligent.

    Yelling a racial slur in the context of a sexual assault violates the hate crime sections of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed by the US Congress in 1994.

  88. March 29, 2006 at 6:48 am

    Yeah, Marksman, like we don’t know this. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

  89. Stacy
    March 29, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Can I play with the troll?

    Sure, but that is not going to happen here. A bunch of internet bloggers, dealing with third hand information, and speculating about unknown people’s psychology is not exactly going to uncover any fundamental truths.

    Ooo… another great “gotcha, feminist bloggers!” from Tlaloc.

    Well, it would have been a great “gotcha”, anyway, if Tlaloc’s proclaimation of people using “third-hand information” was actually based on something other then his inability to use google. If he could use google, he would have found that (1) The police report cites physical evidence that the woman was assaulted, and (2) a third party, the neighbors, reported hearing racial slurs yelled at the women as they were leaving.

    Is that what was said? Is that all? Was there more? Frankly that strikes me as pretty damn tame compared to the racial slurs I’ve heard. Somehow compared to the rape and strangulation it seems incredibly trivial to even mention.

    Let us all be thankful that we have Tlaloc to enlighten us as to which racial slurs are actually offensive, and which are not.

    Okay, sorry, trolling aside…

    my question is… if this happened 2 weeks ago, why are we just hearing about this now?

    Someone on the site that jacob posted speculated that it might have something to do with Duke PR – as in they kept a lid on the story to protect the reputation of the school until they found it to be credible.

  90. March 29, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    Cuz, God knows, nobody ever committed that crime in real life or in a movie before the invention of the Playstation 2.

    Chet, I’m not saying that video games are the cause. I’m saying that a culture which normalizes violence (especially sexualized violence) desensitizes its members, making violence a “cool” bonding experience, especially for men.

  91. March 29, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    Well, it would have been a great “gotcha”, anyway, if Tlaloc’s proclaimation of people using “third-hand information” was actually based on something other then his inability to use google. If he could use google, he would have found that (1) The police report cites physical evidence that the woman was assaulted, and (2) a third party, the neighbors, reported hearing racial slurs yelled at the women as they were leaving.

    (1) Did anyone dispute that she was assaulted? No, then why are you raising the point?
    (2) a “third party” huh? That does totally blow my “third hand” comment away. Good catch.

    Let us all be thankful that we have Tlaloc to enlighten us as to which racial slurs are actually offensive, and which are not

    Feel free to feel differently. I’m just saying that the shirt comment is pretty damn tame compared to say all the various slurs that compare blacks to various animals. Lets fae all the shirt comment does is demonstrate an ignorance on the part of the yeller about how many generations you have to go back to get pre-1860. I suppose in a very sheltered life it might be considered a shocking assault on someone’s sensibilities. I’d consider it an incredibly lame and tacky _attempt_ to be offensive. Failing to be offensive is pretty sad, really.

  92. libdevil
    March 29, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    News reports and what I’ve seen of the community reaction so far have focused only on the alleged rapes. The racist comments apparently made to both the dancers and to random passers-by on the street haven’t gotten a whole lot of coverage. I imagine that after the rapists are caught and punished, there will still be some sort of punishment (by the University) for the rest of the team for their behavior. At least I hope so.

    Unfortunately, there’s also talk that the DNA tests might not hold up in court, since the net was cast so broadly (apparently including players who weren’t at the party). The local CBS affiliate reported last night that the police were calling the tests “voluntary” but threatening legal consequences for any players who refused. But I’ve also seen reports that say a court order for the tests was issued. Whether such an order exists or is constitutionally valid I can’t say.

  93. March 29, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    Feel free to feel differently. I’m just saying that the shirt comment is pretty damn tame compared to say all the various slurs that compare blacks to various animals. Lets fae all the shirt comment does is demonstrate an ignorance on the part of the yeller about how many generations you have to go back to get pre-1860. I suppose in a very sheltered life it might be considered a shocking assault on someone’s sensibilities. I’d consider it an incredibly lame and tacky _attempt_ to be offensive. Failing to be offensive is pretty sad, really.

    Well, then I suppose I came from a very sheltered place, because reading that made me feel quite ill.

  94. March 29, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    The reason you’re probably only hearing about it now is that rape stories are squashed almost all the time by the police and the media as well. This one got out mostly because the Lacrosse team (which was in 2nd place) is forfeiting games near the end of their season until the test results come back. And if you weren’t reading tiny stories inside the sports section of your paper, you wouldn’t have come across it.

    And not to hijack anything, but the way the headlines about this story have been read, you’d think the most important part of this story was the team is forfeiting games, not that a woman was gang-raped. I’ve blogged (or ranted) about it at my site.

    And whatever the women were called by the men was harsh enough for them to leave the party crying and scared. And that’s in the words of the woman who was attacked.

    And the other question I have, is if both women went back into the party and one woman was dragged to a bathroom and raped, what happened to the other woman?

  95. March 29, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    imagine that after the rapists are caught and punished, there will still be some sort of punishment (by the University) for the rest of the team for their behavior. At least I hope so.

    Seems like the process of clamming up and hindering the on going investigation would be suitable grounds to suspend the team as a whole.

    Jill:

    Well, then I suppose I came from a very sheltered place, because reading that made me feel quite ill.

    *shrug*
    I guess count your blessings that you haven’t had more run ins with just how ugly racism can get.

    Story time:
    I live in oregon which is a pretty liberal place overall but has wide tracts of little shitholes that are incredibly backwards. My wife is half Native American and she grew up in a town that had stores that didn’t allow ‘colored’ folk to shop in them. She’s just turned thirty so this isn’t a story about old timey days. this was the 80s.

    I met a cousin of mine once (and only once) who grew up in some little BFE logging town. He and my brother and I were in a car and he causually remarked “You know, in Portland, the niggers will just come right up and talk to you.”
    My brother and I just stared in horror, at both the sentiment and the fact that this turd was floating in our gene pool.

    So yeah, compared to what I’d call real racism, I find this comment pretty tame. Stupid, certainly, but more offensive in the sense that this guy was too dumb to be even pedestrianly vulgar.

  96. Thomas
    March 29, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Tlaloc, first the low-hanging fruit: the “shirt” comment need not implicate slavery itself. Poor black sharecroppers continued to work cotton fields from reconstruction right up through the lives of many folks’ grandparents. If this woman was in her 20s, her grandparents could easily have been born in the 1920s or 1930s and lived in near-slavery conditions in the Jim Crow South.

    On to the larger question: what the hell point are you trying to make? You concede that the guys are racist. You concede that they raped this woman. Is there some strange danger I’m unaware of that racist rapists will be unfairly accused of raping because of racism, when in fact they are merely racists who rape for other reasons? What could possibly be bad about attributing the causation of this rape, in part, to racism, when in fact the rapists were racists?

  97. libdevil
    March 29, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    Freedom of speech is also freedom not to speak – unless it becomes obstruction of justice, at which point it’s a matter for the police, not the university. And given that we don’t know which, if any, of the players may have information about the alleged rapes, it would be irresponsible and possibly liability-inducing for the university to collectively punish the players by suspending them from school. I think the school is taking the responsible approach by waiting for the police to finish their investigation. If, at that point, the school fails to adequately punish the guilty (including those who may have stood by without intervening), then the school will be subject to just criticism. Until then, calls for preemptive, collective punishment are out of line.

  98. March 29, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    *shrug*
    I guess count your blessings that you haven’t had more run ins with just how ugly racism can get.

    Mmm… I’ve seen how ugly racism can get, thanks. I just don’t understand the point in saying, “Well, sure it’s racism, but there are way worse things they could have said, so let’s ignore it.”

    That seems silly. There are always way worse things they could have said. I could think of the worst, most racist insult that I have the vocabulary for, and I guarantee you that someone out there could come up with something worse.

    So what?

    It doesn’t make what I said any less bad, or any less intentionally abusive.

  99. March 29, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Tlaloc, first the low-hanging fruit: the “shirt” comment need not implicate slavery itself. Poor black sharecroppers continued to work cotton fields from reconstruction right up through the lives of many folks’ grandparents.

    Good point. Of course “your grandparents were sharecroppers” is even more patheetic than “your grandparents were slaves.” Still historical point granted.

    what the hell point are you trying to make?

    People were boldly asserting a causative relationship between racism on the part of the players and the rape. My point is simply that that link seems to be entirely a function f people’s imagination and tendency to get carried away. Nowhere near enough information exists for any of us to make such a claim with any validity.

    Hell I;d expect a serious psychologist to take a few months of one on one sessions with one of the dickheads before they could declare such a thing definitively.

    Clear? People make an assertion based on fantasy. Tlaloc objects.

    Is there some strange danger I’m unaware of that racist rapists will be unfairly accused of raping because of racism, when in fact they are merely racists who rape for other reasons? What could possibly be bad about attributing the causation of this rape, in part, to racism, when in fact the rapists were racists?

    Because that attribution may simply be false. As someone said above we want to understand the crime, why it happened. It helps in that process if you don’t immediately leap to a conclusion despite a dearth of facts on the matter.

    It’s about reasoning with the head rather than the heart.

  100. March 29, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    Freedom of speech is also freedom not to speak – unless it becomes obstruction of justice, at which point it’s a matter for the police, not the university.

    In principle I agree with you, but I know plenty of universities that have no regard for first amednment rights since they don’t legally have to. They are free to suspend someone from their athletic program for any reason, whether they should of course is a different matter. I tend to think in a case like this they should. The team as a whole is implicated, maybe not in the actual rapes but in trying to keep the three guilty members from recieving their just punishment. The team then is unfit to represent the school and student body.

  101. March 29, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    Mmm… I’ve seen how ugly racism can get, thanks.

    Um, okay. You just got done saying you had a sheltered upbringing.

    I just don’t understand the point in saying, “Well, sure it’s racism, but there are way worse things they could have said, so let’s ignore it.”

    It’s about maintaining perspective. Look I love the old Looney Tunes. Fantastic work, a real national treasure in my opinion. But they were also a product of their times and if you watch them you can definitely find examples of racism that shock us today (black face routines, asian stereotypes, and on and on).

    So if you have a party and you throw on your golden looney tunes collection dvd and at some point it shows a cartoon with objectionable material is it a big deal? Not really. Was it racist? Yeah. Did you choose to show it at a function where there might be people who would get offended? Yeah. But there are degrees. What you did is on a whole other plane than torching a cross on someone’s lawn. Both are racist, sure, but they aren’t the same.

    Same deal here. Someone apparently yelled out a racist line. Should we condemn it? Sure. Is it a huge deal? No. Especialloy not when compared to the rape, strangulation, and robbery.

    I could think of the worst, most racist insult that I have the vocabulary for, and I guarantee you that someone out there could come up with something worse.

    Sure but there is a point where it stops being offensive and really just is sad. Look if I hate your guts and I really want to hurt your feelings and the best I can come up with “You big doody head!” You aren’t going to be offended. Nor should you. You’ll be too busy laughing at what a putz I am that that was the best my brain could come up with.

    I tried to be abusive and instead just humiliated myself. That’s what this guy did with the shirt comment. If anything it’s a validation that racism grows in the most limited intellects.

  102. March 29, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    It doesn’t make what I said any less bad, or any less intentionally abusive.

    I believe it makes it more abusive since it was obviously meant to dehumanize and humiliate the women that much more. The bitter cherry on top, if you will.

  103. March 29, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    By the way, Jill, you are much better at engaging people. Kudos.

  104. March 29, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    When one person takes up at least 20% on every controversial thread — and, really, is said controversy in part because s/he claims to be the avenger for all that is good and just in the world, goddamn you — what does it take to get him or her done in?

    No wonder people lament the lack of safe spaces on feminist blogs.

  105. March 29, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    When one person takes up at least 20% on every controversial thread

    Lauren, I have a job that affords me internet access and a lot of freetime. Personally I consider it rude to drop in leave one message and leave. It means all you wanted to do was express your opinion you didn’t want to converse. I want to converse. You may certainly dislie what I have to say but I am honestly trying to engage you in a meaningful way.

    Secondly look at the threads I’ve been in where I have “monopolized” the conversation. They’re some of your longest threads. By an order of magnitude. Now look at the De-lurking thread where I restricted myself to just two comments. It is dead. Nothing happening.

    So ask yourself, if a thread would have 20 posts without me monopolizing it or 200 posts with which is better? The longer one. Even if you think I bring absolutely nothing you certainly value the inputs of your fellow blog members. If nothing else they got a chance to sharpen their rhetorical knives.

    what does it take to get him or her done in?

    I already told Jill how you can avoid me “threadjacking.” Simply don’t respond to me. I’m not going to spam your blog. I will respond to people who respond to me, and I will occasionally post comments that are not responses. If I was here to troll your board I wouldn’t be telling you how you can minimize my impact here. Believe it or don’t, as you wish.

    No wonder people lament the lack of safe spaces on feminist blogs.

    Yeah that’s fair, because I’ve been so mean to people who haven’t openly attacked me. Look I said this to chris: I respond to people the same way they respond to me. This is why I just congratulated Jill.

    Does she like me one whit more than Zuzu does? I sincerely doubt it. But she uses an effective voice when she talks to me so that our discourse, while not friendly, is also not hostile. She asks me questions, I ask her questions, and generally we refrain from personal attacks. I can do that with all of you. I’m quite happy to. But if you want to be snarky toward me because we disagree I’ll be snarky right back. No problem.

    I promise my feelings won’t get hurt whatever mode of communication you choose. You might have guessed but (especially onthe web) I’m pretty cerebral and non-empathic.

    Maybe the lack of safe spaces has something to do with the communty being more than a tadxenophobic toward outsiders. Something to mull over.

  106. March 29, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    I think it goes WITHOUT SAYING that the LaCrosse Team should forfeit the rest of their season, starting immediately, and most of the team SHOULD BE EXPELLED. (for refusing to assist the police by ratting the perps out, which is cowardly and unacceptable). A trial should take place, and the guilty should GO TO PRISON. (I mean, in my reality, where decency prevails.) Would this (the expulsions, the forfeiture) EVER have happened, in the past? Have these sorts of elite white boys always been protected by their institutions? I think it is probable that this sort of thing has always gone unpunished. It makes me sick. WHat I find so difficult to accept is that anyone at ALL on the Duke Campus will TALK to these guys. THey should be social pariahs. I very much doubt they are. Why is that? I wish women could stick together, white and black, and absolutely REFUSE to socially accept rapists and their protectors. Refuse to fucking TALK to them or acknowledge their presence, “cut” them socially, entirely out of the herd. In my dreams, I suppose.

  107. zuzu
    March 29, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    When one person takes up at least 20% on every controversial thread — and, really, is said controversy in part because s/he claims to be the avenger for all that is good and just in the world, goddamn you — what does it take to get him or her done in?

    No wonder people lament the lack of safe spaces on feminist blogs.

    Jesus, no kidding.

  108. March 29, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    Jesus, no kidding.

    See my response to Lauren, above.

  109. March 29, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    So ask yourself, if a thread would have 20 posts without me monopolizing it or 200 posts with which is better? The longer one. Even if you think I bring absolutely nothing you certainly value the inputs of your fellow blog members. If nothing else they got a chance to sharpen their rhetorical knives.

    Thanks for the favor, tool. You want a blowjob, too?

  110. March 29, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for the favor, tool. You want a blowjob, too?

    Nice to see you’ve been taking elocution lessons from zuzu.

  111. zuzu
    March 29, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    Quantity does not necessarily equal quality, O Annoying One.

    I’d rather have a thread with two or 20 well-reasoned, well-argued comments from varying perspectives than a thread with 200 comments, most of which consist of a troll waving his dick.

  112. March 29, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    Don’t you find it amusing that you think you’re doing the little ladies a favor by dominating discussions with your breathtaking ignorance?

  113. March 29, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Ten bucks says Tlaloc has an oh-so-scathing reply in 3….2….1….

  114. March 29, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    I’m laughing that he’s bragging that he’s put this blog’s comments into the upper eschalons all by his wee self. Like Feministe has never had a 200+ comment thread before he showed up.

    Oh, my abs hurt.

  115. March 29, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    Interesting the moderation bug seems to have eaten a couple posts.

    Quantity does not necessarily equal quality, O Annoying One.

    I agree. Indeed in my argument above I took into account that you (or in that case Lauren) would weight my posts with a 0 value.

    I’d rather have a thread with two or 20 well-reasoned, well-argued comments from varying perspectives than a thread with 200 comments, most of which consist of a troll waving his dick.

    You are going to get the 20 posts regardless. But with the long post you get an extra 180. Say half of those are mine (and hence useless in your evaluation) and that still leaves an extra 90 posts you care about. A 450% increase. Not bad.

  116. March 29, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Don’t you find it amusing that you think you’re doing the little ladies a favor by dominating discussions with your breathtaking ignorance?

    Well we disagree on which of us is showing breathtaking ignorance. Besides which the charge that I am dominating conversations is rather, well, not true. The vast vast majority of my posts are responses to posts directed to me. As I’ve said you don’t have to talk to me. But you choose to. And as long as you do choose to your protests that I am dominating things against your will comes off as transparently false.

  117. March 29, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    I’m laughing that he’s bragging that he’s put this blog’s comments into the upper eschalons all by his wee self. Like Feministe has never had a 200+ comment thread before he showed up.

    I’m sure you have. But simply looking at the last ten threads or so you have a bunch that are in single digits. One or two that are in the doubles and then the ones with me that are triple digit. That’s a substantial increase.

    Maybe you have a goal of running a site with minimal discussion, I couldn’t say. However assuming you run the site with some goal of actually encouraging comments then it’s pretty clear that discussions that are a bit more… diverse… involve more interest and hence more comments.

    How many of your previous 200+ post threads involved everyone agreeing nicely and giving each other back massages?

  118. March 29, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    It sounds to me like the rapists aren’t the only ones who need a “serious psychologist” for long-term one-on-one treatment. Should give it a try, sweet troll.

    I guess it’s cheaper to work out issues of inadequacy at feminist blogs ;)

    Good enough now.

  119. March 29, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Interesting the moderation bug seems to have eaten a couple posts.

    Ha. Imagine that.

  120. randomliberal/Robert
    March 29, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Besides which the charge that I am dominating conversations is rather, well, not true.

    He says in the second of three posts in a row…

  121. zuzu
    March 29, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    Enough, Tlaloc. Go back to your hole. You’re not welcome here anymore.

    IOW, you’re banned.

    Ta!

  122. March 30, 2006 at 1:00 am

    WHat I find so difficult to accept is that anyone at ALL on the Duke Campus will TALK to these guys. THey should be social pariahs.

    They are. Or at least they are in most circles. RAs have been told to watch out for the safety of their lacrosse player residents. The team roster (with photos) has been posted around campus. Duke hasn’t acted ideally in this situation, but that’s in keeping with Duke’s fine tradition of helping its students get away with things; it doesn’t mean the student body isn’t disgusted and upset.

  123. Anne
    March 30, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    No wonder people lament the lack of safe spaces on feminist blogs.

    God, seriously. When I’ve linked to or mentioned this specific thread, the responses I get about it are along the lines of (in my words) “God, what is the deal with the dickhead playing ‘devil’s advocate’ who can’t shut up?”

  124. KnifeGhost
    March 30, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    You are going to get the 20 posts regardless. But with the long post you get an extra 180. Say half of those are mine (and hence useless in your evaluation) and that still leaves an extra 90 posts you care about. A 450% increase. Not bad.

    Every one of those extra 90 an attempt to rebut your blah blah blah.

    Quality/quantity.

  125. nononono
    March 30, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    i hate when this disintegrates into teenagers calling each other names. this is exactly why we don’t have more progress – no one is willing to be the bigger person and say…oh, idk, this seems to be losing productivity, let’s try and stay on track…

    is there really no one here mature enough to respond to this person, who you find annoying, without name calling? really? cause that makes me really sad and i don’t know how we will make headway on these issues if we can’t even manage to stay on topic with out getting lured into one word games – without being creative enough to say, no, i’m really not going to get side tracked. and, there is something called ignoring people. if you did not respond, but instead reiterated your points, wouldn’t that have had a much, much greater effect? and would this have been a waste fo space or a productive discussion that could have promoted action?

    very nice. yep. so out of this many posts, how many are about the woman and what can be done to help, promote the issue, and how many were fucking wasted by small people getting off on insulting each other.

    what a fucking waste and a pathetic, absolutely pathetic response to this incident. to get this side tracked…wow, is there any focus…

    dick waving cunt throwing, all the same to an outside reader. no maturity, no progress.

    if we get stuck in name calling…what a fuckign waste!!!!!! a woman was kidnapped, beaten, strangled, raped by three men…and this gets distracted…where is the focus? not on the victim.

    this is really disappointing b/c i have been to other sites where they are using this horrible crime for really productive means.

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