White Guilt

Sometimes, sure, like any other man, he knew that he wanted a little more spice than Grace could give him, and he would drive over yonder and pick up a black piece or arrest her, it came to the same thing….

They rarely mentioned anything not directly related to the war that they were fighting, but this had failed to establish between them the unspoken communication of soldiers during a war. Each man, in the thrilling silence which sped outward from their exchanges, their laughter, and their anecdotes, seemed wrestling, in various degrees of darkness, with a secret which he could not articulate to himself, and which, however directly it related to the war, related yet more surely to his privacy and his past. They could no longer be sure, after all, that they had all done the same things. They had never dreamed that their privacy could contain any element of terror, could threaten, that is, to reveal itself, to the scrutiny of a judgment day, while remaining unreadable and inaccessible to themselves; nor had they dreamed that the past, while certainly refusing to be forgotten, could yet so stubbornly refuse to be remembered. They felt themselves mysteriously set at naught, as though no longer entering into the real concerns of other people–while here they were, out-numbered, fighting to save the civilized world. They had thought that people would care–people didn’t care; not enough, anyway, to help them. It would have been a help, really, or at least a relief, even to have been forced to surrender. Thus they had lost, probably forever, their old and easy connection with each other. They were forced to depend on each other more and, at the same time, to trust each other less. Who could tell when one of them might not betray them all, for money, or for the ease of confession? But no one dared imageine what there might be to confess. They were soldiers fighting a war, but their relationship to each other was that of accomplices in a crime. They all had to keep their mouths shut.

These passages and the others from James Baldwin, “Going to Meet the Man.”

Rachel S., who has been guest-blogging over at Alas, put up a post about lynching, racism, and empathy among white people. She prefaced her post with a very graphic photo of a lynching; it looks like the kind of photos that were very common as keepsakes. Many of those maintained in archives–a brutalized black victim surrounded by a grinning white crowd–have dedications scrawled across the back or corners. Some were made into postcards.

(The comments discuss not only the phenomenon of lynching, but Rachel’s right to post the picture as support for a lesson. I use these words to accompany this post because Baldwin’s portrait of this man and the child he was constitute one of the most incisive, searing analyses of racism and identity I have ever encountered. The story seamlessly joins this crime and the ones he commits in turn as an adult with the his married life and the celebratory atmosphere of the murder; Baldwin recognizes that they are inseparable. The child’s horror is his excitement; the man’s hatred is his passion. The story’s descriptions of brutality are as unswervingly graphic as the photograph. I was leery of including them in full for the reasons stated by the commenters on that post.)

It had been night, as it was now, he was in the car between his mother and his father, sleepy, his head in his mother’s lap, and yet full of excitement. The singing came from far away, across the dark fields. There were no lights anywhere. They had said good-bye to all the others and turned off on this dark dirt road. They were almost home.

A lynching was often a community event, like a picnic or a parade. It took place in broad daylight. It usually wasn’t attended even by the appearance of shame.

“I guess they singing for him” his father said, seeming very weary and subdued now. “Even when they’re said, they sound like they just about to go and tear off a piece.” He yawned and leaned across the boy and slapped his wife lightly on the shoulder, allowing his hand to rest there for a moment. “Don’t they?”

Rachel’s post focuses on one of the onlookers (although it seems strange to imply that she was not a participant): a little white girl who is standing on the left with her hands clasped in front of her, only a few feet away from the murdered man. She’s an avid spectator, but as calm and happy as if she were watching a three-legged race. There is no shame or regret in her expression whatsoever. She is glad to have been there.

The smoke poured up; the hands dropped out of sight; a cry went up from the crowd.

Rachel posted the photo for two reasons. First of all, she wanted to show what our history of racism really extended to, and what people who joke about lynching are really referencing. Second, she wanted to show the result of a lack of empathy; the level of suffering that it renders invisible, inconsequential. That girl looked at this horrible death and laughed.

“Well, I told you,” said his father, “you wasn’t never going to forget this picnic.” His father’s face was full of sweat, his eyes were very peaceful. At that moment Jesse loved his father more than he had ever loved him. He felt that his father had carried him through a mighty test, had revealed to him a great secret which would be the key to his life forever.

I think that the picture also serves to show that lynching was not merely the result of a lack of empathy, but a symbol of the anti-empathetic viewpoint held up as a positive ideal. Lynching was seen as law enforcement, as legitimate as any execution after a capital trial. It was a good thing to display that level of hatred towards black people, and to enact it on the bodies of black men. It was necessary. It was a moral obligation. There was no question of injustice being perpetrated against the lynched man; his race reversed those questions. It would have been an injustice–a crime against the people who killed him–to let him live.

The white people in the picture took the terror that his murder created, and the terror created by all the murders perpetrated before and since, as their right. Those people being photographed are illustrating their vision of a just society for posterity, and that little girl is attending a civics lesson. Her smile is not an unintended consequence, but the driving goal.

This was precisely the reasoning used by congressmen when they argued against federal legislation to end lynching: it is a vital part of the tradition of Southern justice. Not it’s not so bad or it doesn’t really happen or who cares if those people live or die. (Although those were also handy.) We need to lynch. Lynching is a good thing:

“‘Whenever a Negro crosses this dead line between the white and the Negro races and lays his black hand on a white woman, he deserves to die,’ segregationist Sen. James Thomas Heflin (D-Ala.) said in 1930.”

Whatever the fire had left undone, the hands and the knives and the stones of the people had accomplished. The head was caved in, one eye was torn out, one ear was hanging. But one had to look carefully to realize this, for it was, now, merely, a black charred object on the black charred ground.

That basic idea–that those people need to suffer, that we survive as ourselves because we make them suffer–hasn’t left us. It’s why people were squeamish about bringing Gwen Araujo’s killers to justice. It rose up in the discussions on HR 4437 and the Duke rape case. It’s the reality David Brooks refused to acknowledge when he argued that tradition taught men to oppose rape as anathema to manhood. As though that understanding of “morality” and “strength of character” cannot still shelter the Duke lacrosse team, as though it is not shining out of the faces of the lynch mob in that picture.

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45 Responses

  1. Darleen
    Darleen April 10, 2006 at 6:19 pm |

    Interesting and powerful post, but unravels at the end in a kind of Godwin style attempt at “equivalency”…

    Errr… sheltering the Duke lacrosse team??

    Or was there a rush to judgment before the evidence was in?

    DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — DNA testing failed to connect any members of the Duke University lacrosse team to the alleged rape of a stripper, attorneys for the athletes said Monday.
    Citing DNA test results delivered by the state crime lab to police and prosecutors a few hours earlier, the attorneys said the test results prove their clients did not sexually assault and beat a stripper hired to perform at a March 13 team party.

    No charges have been filed in the case.

    “No DNA material from any young man was present on the body of this complaining woman,” said defense attorney Wade Smith.

  2. Darleen
    Darleen April 10, 2006 at 6:45 pm |

    Piny

    Are you aware of Victor Frankl and his statement on race?

    Then you’ll know why I believe Rachel was correct in posting the pic , the history of lynching, the power of Baldwin’s writing and why I don’t buy into a concept of “white guilt”

    I’m not a collectivist.

  3. Darleen
    Darleen April 10, 2006 at 7:29 pm |

    that we survive as ourselves because we make them suffer–hasn’t left us … It rose up in the discussions on HR 4437 and the Duke rape case.

    You may want to include yourself in the collective “we” but it doesn’t describe me. Mob/group mentality operates viscerally, not morally or rationally.

    Dr. Victor Frankl was a man who survived the Holocaust, lost his family to it, yet was able to write

    From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two – the race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people.

  4. protein wisdom
    protein wisdom April 10, 2006 at 8:51 pm |

    "Duke 'rapists' are like white racists who lynched blacks"

    …Except, of course, when they are not.  Darleen has the details.

    Over to you, Piny, Jill, et al.

  5. Pablo
    Pablo April 11, 2006 at 12:01 am |

    Piny, Darleen is coming at this in a straight up fashion. Snark does nothing for your argument or your credibility in this instance.

    You’ve got a problem with the facts not fitting your narrative. You’d be better served addressing that than regaling your readers with the details of shitty TV, don’t you think?

    Now, would you be so kind as to link me to a photo of a face with guilt on it? Or several faces without an absence of guilt?

  6. Josh
    Josh April 11, 2006 at 12:23 am |

    Darleen, you had your gotcha moment. Why ruin it with self-satisfaction and shallow pieties?

  7. Darleen
    Darleen April 11, 2006 at 12:28 am |

    I’m sorry, Josh?

    I’m shallow by quoting Dr. Frankl, or is Dr. Frankl shallow?

  8. kate
    kate April 11, 2006 at 2:24 am |

    Whether or not the defense attorney beats his breast about the DNA evidence, one cannot deny that the actions of the Lacrosse team were racist from the start. Unfortunately, if the woman is determined to have a poor case, then the discussion of race will fall to the wayside as the drama and outrage will sift away.

    As someone who grew up in the southern midwest, I was exposed to racism all the time, in my family, at school, everywhere. But race is closely intwined with class. Racism is alive and well today in even its most virulent forms.

    Racsim in this country developed primarily out of imperialism did it not? Out of the concept of conquering an ‘inferior’ — manifest destiny. But racism in America is more than that. It developed out of an entire economic system that relied on keeping an huge group of persons in bondage. In order for this to occur successfully, all persons not in bondage had to play along. The south effectively made all white persons conscripts in the war against humanity. By offering to ease taxes and debts they started the ‘paddyrollers’ patrol, for example. Poor whites and indians often allied with those in bondage, sharing resources, not necessarily love, but resources, assisting in stealing product or livestock from the big house, assisting with escapes when the desire suited their needs.

    Poor whites in the south always felt they had the worst end of the deal. While the bondsman knew his position, the poor white man saw one thing and was told another. They were told that they were superior to the bondsman, but their economic and politically powerless situation told them otherwise. Impoverished, uneducated and usually fooled out of their land and labor, they often faired horribly themselves. The tension between the bondsman and the poor white is exemplified in the old song sung by many plantation workers, “I’d rather be a nigger than poor white trash.” They were close in their misery, but the poor white had his skin priviledge, to be free from beatings, to be free from domination and slavery. But often, because of the economics, wealthy plantation owners had more interest in taking care and looking after their slaves’ welfare than they did for the ‘white trash’ they were squeezing for their land or labor.

    By supporting the system, by acting within it to gain favor among the powerful, poor whites gained strived to gain. But they could never rise from the bottom. They didn’t have money and education and land and access. Hence the eagerness with which to meet out ‘justice’; to make that break, to affirm their place of superiority, to grab their little peice. To not care that the black man suffered was part of the play, to empathize was to become like him and thus be reminded again of how little and insignifigant they truely were; the lie of racism would bite hard and to beat a black man lessoned the chaffing.

    Guilt comes from those whites who don’t align with the power and class struggles of poor whites, who don’t feel the animosity and alienation, who don’t feel the urge to seperate themselves from those they have been taught to hate the most.

    That middle class whites are seperated throughout most of this country from most black neighborhoods and culture illustrates teh depth of racism, how much of an institution of this culture it truely is. Many white people, although they may live in a town full of people of color, will not even know a one, or only know them in social settings that are acceptable. White people don’t venture into black neighborhoods and visa versa. White middle schools are well off, black schools aren’t. White middle class folks get into good schools and have goals. Poor whites and many people of color don’t have the proper education, a backyard, a safe park, a chance to have piano lessons, summer camp or any other trappings of white middle class life. Much less the blithe ignorance that someone possibly even more talented and more gifted lives across the tracks, but cannot enjoy the stimulation and security a middle class white child takes for granted.

    White guilt comes when these people, usually as adults are thrust into a situation where they must face the ‘boogey man’ and find out he’s just a human. White guilt is when these same people must subsume to some kind of cognitive dissonance, where their class mythology meets the opposite reality. Once they realize the humanity of and their connectedness to people of color as people, then they also must realize their complicity in a system which keeps these people at arm’s length and at disadvantage.

    White guilt is when the white person makes statements or committs acts to be construed as good will or an ‘effort’ when in actuality, it is ony an attempt to stay at the surface. Donate and be done with it, say a view words to ‘them’, touch their hair and make connection and then shirk away at the slightest brush off or insult and shrink back into the cocoon of blissful, ignorant, white racist mythology.

    Racism is an unofficial mythology, orally passed down from one generation to another, the stories and how they are told change with the tellers’ position in the social order. They all work to preserve the existing order and keep compliance. White guilt comes also when the white person sees for the first time that the object of their institutinalized fear and loathing is really only a human just like themselves.

  9. Pablo
    Pablo April 11, 2006 at 6:27 am |

    Whether or not the defense attorney beats his breast about the DNA evidence, one cannot deny that the actions of the Lacrosse team were racist from the start.

    How do you know what lies in the hearts of those boys? How do you know they’re racists or that their actions were racially motivated? Because they’re white? Because they’re men?

    Men = Those people

    It’s hypocritical, and it’s all oh so tired.

  10. Josh
    Josh April 11, 2006 at 8:46 am |

    I don’t know if Dr. Frankl himself is shallow. But what you’ve quoted above is surely a banal observation.

  11. emily1
    emily1 April 11, 2006 at 8:52 am |

    they are not boys. they are adult men.

    DNA evidence is not the totality of the evidence in this case. prior to the use of DNA tests in criminal cases, rape cases were prosecuted without DNA evidence. rapists often do not ejaculate. sometimes they use condoms. all you know is that DNA tests did not bolster the case. you do not know that it destroys the case. you like to accuse people of rushing to judgment, but you’re rushing to acquit.

    would you be acting like this if we were talking about a case in which the only charges were a beating and a robbery and the use of racial slurs instead of all that AND a charge of gang rape? how about just a beating and a robbery? would the lack of DNA evidence in such a case exonerate the accused?

  12. Tapetum
    Tapetum April 11, 2006 at 8:56 am |

    Err – Pablo, we know what lies in the hearts of those boys because of their actions. If you yell racial epithets for the whole neighborhood to hear, and send e-mails of the nature they did, you rather lose any presumption that your heart is in the right place.

  13. T-Web
    T-Web April 11, 2006 at 9:11 am |

    That’s ridiculous, emily1. Given the nature of rape (the transfer of fluids, hair, etc.), the accusor’s statements that she clawed at the arms of her alleged attackers and the absence of a DNA link (including no link from biological samples taken under the accusor’s fingernails), this case looks extremely weak.

    Again, the very nature of rape would almost require some sort of DNA evidence. Even more so in an alleged gang-rape where the accused had been drinking and were likely drunk, making it unlikely that they were cool-headed and organized enough to clean up all the physical evidence. In this situation, the lack of DNA evidence alone constitutes a reasonable doubt, in my mind.

    The left often accuses the right of being anti-science. For some, the shoe seems to be on the other foot in this case.

  14. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 9:55 am | *

    You all do realize that those assertions about what the DNA results show are only those of attorneys for the defendants, right?

  15. Dianne
    Dianne April 11, 2006 at 10:08 am |

    T-Web: Not really. Have you ever done a PCR on a mixed sample? It can be quite difficult to pick out an individual pattern amongst the background. People, even people of a single “race” are a very outcrossed population, complicating the issue further by making it likely that each person has different markers at each of the alleles examined. They may have ended up with an uninterpretable muddle. Also superficial skin cells are generally dead and may not have much in the way of identifiable, non-apoptosed DNA in them so the lack of identifying DNA under the fingernails isn’t that suprising. Or, an even simpler explanation, perhaps the victim cleaned her nails between the time she was attacked and the time she was examined. The typical response of a rape victim is to try to clean his or herself–which, unfortunately, can destroy evidence. Five of the victim’s fingernails and some of her property were found in the house where she says she was attacked. Doesn’t that macroscopic evidence suggest that she was assaulted in some way, whatever the microscopic evidence?

    As far as the claim to a “rush to judgement” is concerned…well, no charges have been filed against any team members. The fact that suspicion falls on them in this circumstance is hardly suprising.

  16. Dianne
    Dianne April 11, 2006 at 10:18 am |

    You all do realize that those assertions about what the DNA results show are only those of attorneys for the defendants, right?

    That’s a good point. It may be that the preliminary analysis didn’t return a match and the attorneys are trying to use that to claim that no match was found, even though, in fact, more testing is still underway. Or they may even be making the claim of “no match” up, though I would hope a lawyer would know better than that.

  17. emily1
    emily1 April 11, 2006 at 11:40 am |

    Again, the very nature of rape would almost require some sort of DNA evidence.

    not if the rapist does not ejaculate or wears a condom. so, what is is about ‘the nature of rape’ that requires DNA evidence? do you mean conviction? rape cases were prosecuted before DNA technology was available for use in criminal cases.

    DNA evidence is NOT the sole standard by which rape charges are proven or fail to be proven.

  18. Pablo
    Pablo April 11, 2006 at 6:13 pm |

    What fucking morons.

    You’re contemptable, the lot of you. Bigotry is alive and well…at Feministe.

    Toodles.

    Guilty until proven female!

  19. Lauren
    Lauren April 11, 2006 at 6:20 pm |

    Drive-by commenting, anyone?

  20. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man April 11, 2006 at 7:21 pm |

    Yeah, I get what you’re saying Piny. I think you’re a little oblique about how you make your point but not incomprehensible. Correct me if I’m wrong: You’re arguing that the way people become socialized to regard heinious crimes, such as lynching, as not only necessary but celebrated activities, is similar to the culture of acceptable elitism, racism and sexual predation that emerges in some privilaged cliques, such as the Duke Lacross team.

    An interesting thought; I will grant you that the Duke case (assuming they are guilty as accused) could be viewed as a way that certain disciminatory behavior can be rendered acceptable by social indoctrination. I sincerely doubt that the Duke atheletes are socialized to this extent however; perhaps only a few of the perpetrators beliefs that they were entirely justified/entitled in their actions will hold up when separated from their clique and questioned. I suspect that the average 30s klansman would be a bit more intractible about his beliefs. Perhaps it is only a difference of degrees? Like I said, an interesting line of thought.

    It is a bit thin skinned to dismiss Darleen as “not worth talking to” though. Judging from what she writes, it seems clear that she’s mistaken the main thrust of your arguement, not that she’s trying to discredit it entirely. Her contention is that social acceptance of cruelty is not a trait unique to whites; which is not something you are actually claiming, but a conclusion a third party could jump to based on your choice of examples (lynching and the Duke case). You could clear up the misunderstanding by pointing out that your logic could easily apply to… let’s say… post-Yugoslavian ethnic groups enacting social justice upon one another by mass murder.

    Unless I’ve totally missed the point, in which case I hope you’ll clarify that last paragraph.

  21. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man April 11, 2006 at 7:27 pm |

    Oh yeah:

    Although not really applicable to this line of conversation, Dr. Frankl’s words do bear repeating. In the context of his own life experiences, that seemingly simple quote is not all that trite. I haven’t personally read his work but I’ve had him recommended by a few people I respect.

  22. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 9:11 pm | *

    What I don’t understand is that Darleen apparently works in a prosecutor’s office, so she knows how these posturings and and maneuverings prior to charging work. She should know how DNA evidence works. She’s shown that when she lays aside her agenda and talks about the things she knows from her job and her personal experience, she really knows what she’s talking about.

    All this makes it very odd that she would so readily abandon the skepticism she must have developed as a matter of simply working at her job as to the statements of defense attorneys trying to protect their clients and so wholeheartedly and uncritically accept what the players’ attorneys were saying to avoid having their clients charged.

  23. TallDave
    TallDave April 11, 2006 at 9:48 pm |

    This post reads a lot more ironically now that the DNA evidence proves they didn’t rape her.

    Looks like lynching the innocent didn’t end back then.

  24. Lauren
    Lauren April 11, 2006 at 9:53 pm |

    now that the DNA evidence proves they didn’t rape her.

    Looks like somebody doesn’t know anything about collective evidence.

  25. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 9:54 pm | *

    Or someone’s been watching too much CSI.

  26. TallDave
    TallDave April 11, 2006 at 9:56 pm |

    Keep hoisting that rope! They’re Duke lacrosse players so we’re not going to let any silly DNA exoneration sway our little mob.
    .

  27. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 9:58 pm | *

    What exoneration? Please, by all means, cite something other than the statements of the defense attorneys.

    Who, you know, are doing their jobs by saying stuff like “these results exonerate my client.”

  28. TallDave
    TallDave April 11, 2006 at 10:02 pm |

    Yeah, who cares about DNA evidence? All we need to convict is a rope and a tree!

  29. Tuomas
    Tuomas April 11, 2006 at 10:05 pm |

    Okay, Mr. Evidence. Why don’t you show everyone the evidence of this feminist lynchmob that is preparing to murder these Lacrosse players, who are sill on trial (I don’t know if they did it or not).

    Sheesh.

  30. Tuomas
    Tuomas April 11, 2006 at 10:05 pm |

    sill….

    Still.

  31. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 10:06 pm | *

    What exoneration?

    You plead it, you prove it. All I know is that the tests have been inconclusive. You’re claiming they “exonerate” the lacrosse team. So, put up or shut up: what exoneration? Links and cites, please.

  32. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 10:08 pm | *

    Actually, Tuomas, none of the players — or anyone else, since there could have been others at the party who weren’t on the lacrosse team but who are being protected by the team members — have even been charged.

    It does appear that there’s evidence that the woman was raped, assaulted and robbed. What there isn’t yet is evidence to link any particular person to that.

  33. TallDave
    TallDave April 11, 2006 at 10:20 pm |

    GET A ROPE!!!

  34. TallDave
    TallDave April 11, 2006 at 10:34 pm |

    Sheesh, it’s like you people think the burden of proof immediately falls on the accused.

    You know, if your sense of outrage needs something to focus on, how about actual, ongoing racist mass rape/slavery of black women and children?

    Their accounts appear to corroborate claims made privately by Sudanese and United Nations officials, and are the latest evidence that government forces are involved in activities which Khartoum blames on the Janjaweed militia.

    “The army captured many children and women hiding in the bush outside burnt villages,” said a senior politician in Khartoum who is familiar with the cases but asked not to be named.

    “They were transported by plane to Khartoum at night, and divided up among soldiers as domestic workers and in some cases wives.”

    The two women, from different villages, were abducted almost a year apart – yet their accounts reveal chilling similarities of a systematic process run by the country’s military.

    One victim, Bokur Hamis, 21, who eventually escaped and is now in hiding in Soba, on the outskirts of Khartoum, claimed that she was seized from Jartage, her home village, last year. “Soldiers attacked with heavy guns,” she said.

    “Most of the men in the village were unarmed, and they were killed.”

    The women headed to a nearby lake and tried to hide under the water but were caught.

    “Each of us was raped by between three and six men,” said Bokur. “One woman refused to have sex with them, so they split her head into pieces with an axe in front of us.”

    The soldiers tried to bundle her into a truck, she said. “I refused, so one of them hit me with a cane, broke my rib, then threw me in. They took 43 of us in Land Cruisers and drove for two days without food or water.”

    She looked down at the ground and spoke more slowly. “In the middle of the night we reached a place with lights and they put us directly on a huge aeroplane. I thought they’d kill me.

    There were girls from other villages, I knew about 10.” On the plane, as the escorting soldiers gloated at the number of girls they had taken, their captives sat in fearful silence.

    Baxit Zaruuk, 14, who was kidnapped from the village of Mokjar, has a similar story. “The soldiers and Janjaweed came into the village and threatened to kill us if we didn’t go with them,” she said.

    She also was taken to an airfield, where she said that there were 25 girls from different areas. “They put us all on two planes, each with about 100 soldiers.

    In Khartoum we were all taken to a place along the Nile and raped at gunpoint.” She was handed to a soldier as his “wife”.

    At least until we hear some actual evidence against the Duke boys.

  35. Tuomas
    Tuomas April 11, 2006 at 10:42 pm |

    You know, if your sense of outrage needs something to focus on, how about actual, ongoing racist mass rape/slavery of black women and children?

    Where is the DNA evidence for that!!!!

    ;)

  36. Tuomas
    Tuomas April 11, 2006 at 10:44 pm |

    (Meaning I agree on the horrors on Sudan, but you seem to have selective view on burden of proof you consider to be enough)

  37. Lauren
    Lauren April 11, 2006 at 10:49 pm |

    Clearly, if we don’t blog on TallDave’s issues of choice, we don’t care about them. Next time, TallDave, I’ll read your mind.

  38. zuzu
    zuzu April 11, 2006 at 10:52 pm | *

    Sheesh, it’s like you people think the burden of proof immediately falls on the accused.

    Not at all.

    However, if you expect to be taken seriously on a feminist blog after making claims that the results of the DNA testing you havent’ seen “exonerate” the defendants, you should be prepared to provide links, cites and whatnot when challenged to do so.

    And I notice you haven’t done that at all. You’ve merely repeated your tiresome little “get a rope” trope ad nauseam. So much so, in fact, I’m considering putting you on moderation if you say it once more and dodge my very simple question again:

    What exoneration?

  39. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man April 12, 2006 at 2:23 pm |

    Pretty much; my post written particularly to respond to David Brooks’s column about “moral manhood.” Chivalry was entitlement, and that entitlement frequently extended to rape. The idea that bad traditional masculinity can be separated from good traditional masculinity is false and extremely dangerous. We’re talking about a single ethos.

    I’ll have to read Brook’s column then. You won’t get much arguement from me about Chivalry being a dangerous thing though. Its a philosophy dangerously estranged from the realities of our time and it wasn’t based on pragmatism to begin with. I understand that this is a woman’s blog, but it would be an interesting exercise to tally up the various ways that chivalry has abused both genders and then compare. It hasn’t exactly served us very well for at least the last century.

  40. Erika
    Erika April 14, 2006 at 1:35 am |

    I don’t see why anyone has to reserve judgment on the Duke rape case. I usually tend to sympathise with the alleged victim of any violent crime. But, you know what? It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter that I think that the accused lacrosse players are probably guilty. I’m not going to be on that jury. If I was on the jury, I would reserve judgment and follow the law to the letter. Since I’m just a civilian sitting on the sidelines, I’ll think whatever I damn please.

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