The District Attorney recently exonerated all members charged with sexual assault in the Duke University lacrosse case. There were clearly no winners here. Moreover, the Duke lacrosse case illustrates both the racial and class resentment that exists in America. Just like the O.J. murder case, Duke lacrosse brought to life both the social and economic problems Americans tend to ignore. Because inequality in education exists, many minorities do not receive the proper education needed to attend a Duke. Think about the number of elite private schools in the country that have a very small number of black students. Often enough, blacks are victims of educational slavery in that many live in low property tax communities. Thus, minority public schools are faced with the challenge of hiring elite faculty members as well as providing each student with adequate resources for learning. This type of class division creates resentment and hate towards those who are privileged.
For one, as popular as Duke University is with its $ 5 billion endowment, its elite faculty members, and its popular sports team (basketball), many residents living in the Durham area dislike Duke because of its perceived lack of investment in the local community. Locals contend that Duke is nothing more than a temporary haven for rich white kids. Moreover, black students who attend Duke have had to create their own social environment. Campus festivals and activities are built around fraternities and “white cultural endeavors” that would clearly make blacks feel out of place. Just like the O.J. case, many of America’s black population were supporting the black female who claimed rape as a show of solidarity. Blacks want white America to see how race and class are still used to subjugate not only blacks, but non elites too. Most black Americans knew O.J. was guilty; they supported him as a form of protest against white America. Some black Americans feel as though whites in power have turned their backs on the racially abusive culture long promulgated by elitism. For example, in the minds of black folks, white supremacy is prevalent in all institutions of power, especially police departments. In Cornel West’s Race Matters, he states that
white America has been historically weak willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks. As long as double standards and differential treatment abound — as long as rap performer Ice-T is harshly condemned while former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates’s anti-black comments are received in polite silence, as long as Dr. Leonard Jeffries’s anti-Semitic statements are met with vitriolic outrage while presidential candidate Pat Buchanan’s anti-Semitism receives a general response — black nationalism will thrive.
Unlike the connection blacks feel towards the black female, they never felt any connection to O.J. He was viewed as a black elitist who turned his back on black folks, much like that of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who continues to attack affirmative action. Blacks exploited the O.J. case to show America how much racism still exists in society. As for the female who claimed rape, it appears that blacks are supporting her because there were clearly signs of racism found among the lacrosse players. Many of them admitted to using racial slurs as well as being abusive to the black co-ed. In the end, here are the clear losers in all of this:
- Women – feminism took a step backwards here. It is my understanding that rape victims are slow to come forward. Imagine if you are a college female who was date raped — will people believe you after this?
- Duke’s lacrosse coach — he should not have been fired. According to an internal investigation, he did everything by the book. I feel for him.
- Durham — race relations on Duke’s campus are pretty sticky.
- The defendants — some left campus, lost a year of eligibility, and are faced with rebuilding their reputation (thanks for this point Rob Kernodle).