Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Duke, DNA and Dirty Deeds

I was listening to the news and it was reported that there was no DNA evidence connected to the allegations that members of the Duke lacrosse team raped an African American stripper. This by no means is conclusive that the rape didn't happen, but it weighs heavily in that direction. It's certainly not beyond a group of young male athletes to behave like this.

NPR interviewed some students from North Carolina Central University where one of the strippers went to school. One young woman felt that "the whole DNA thing is bullshit". WHAT?!?? What the hell is she trying to say? I certainly don't disagree with her that maybe the investigation went awry. But to say that DNA is bullshit? How can you be in college and say that? That's beyond me. Isn't it a basic hurdle to believe certain scientific tenets before they let you into college? At least construct a convincing argument to the contrary? Don't just leave us with 'bullshit'. That's just a steaming pile of horse manure.

So this incident elucidated several racial, class and gender issues that still hold control over our culture. First, there were racial slurs addressed to these women. This is totally uncalled for and for young men of an elite university to still buy into this stereotype is unfortunate. But I think if we all look, we'll find some remnants of racism. You're very lucky if your devoid of those subtle traces. Hopefully, you're showing others how to rid themselves of those ever so hard to isolate tendencies.

There's a new show that pits rich against poor on the WB. Both groups exemplify certain stereotypes that we hold regarding the rich spoiled kid (surprise! A reality show exploiting stereotypes!). We tend to easily demonize the rich. And yeah robber barons, oil tycoons and politicians have all
betrayed the trust of the public. But say that all rich people do that is insane. There have been many financial elites who have given uncountable blessings to this world, but we never seem to really understand them or mingle with them so we don't have any awareness of their situation. Only how our lack of money contributes to our pitiful situation.

And finally, my favorite: the gender issues. The general sentiment amongst many people is "Even though the DNA evidence is negative, I still feel that something happened." This is very different from having a suspicion of something happening. The situation was ripe for something to happen, but the conclusion that something did happen is a bit premature. I think this comes from a base suspicion we have towards men in general. Sports and fraternities are ad hoc masculine communities ripe with rituals and leaders. This community doesn't create a mature man because it has no vested interest in creating a mature man. However, society does. And by the sheer fact that universities are endowed with men of this age, it becomes their responsibility to mature men (and women). And so I point you to an interesting article on the responsibility of a university to create a conscious citizen.

Honestly, I don't know what happened. But I think I'm gonna hit up the local strip club and ruminate. Ahhh... ruminations!


great post, mitesh. i think you made some very fair and insightful comments. i agree that universities should foster citizenship and productive citizenry among their graduates. it's a shame it isn't done more frequently or thoroughly.

i heard on the news today that in the 911 call, she was described as "passed out drunk" which i guess is placing a lot of doubt on her testimony, esp when combined with the negative DNA testing. this, IMHO, blows a lot of holes in her accusations. if she wasn't conscious and doctors can find no evidence of rape....well, that doesn't exactly back up her story. i'm inclined to think that SHE is full of bullshit. (if this is true, it makes me angry because women shouldn't "cry wolf" when it comes to something this serious.) I feel bad saying this, because rape is something that should be taken seriously, but maybe she is out for money or fame? maybe she wants attention?

but if she was truly raped, then this is a terrible situation which duke needs to address. i think time will tell....

By Blogger Virginia Belle, at 10:08 AM  

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