Monday, June 18, 2007

THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE


I designed Spitting Out Teeth as a music & film blog and while I throw in the occasional silly YouTube video, I go out of my way to keep it limited to the arts. And while I try my best to keep politics and current events off of here, sometimes I'm just going to need to rant about something in the news and today is one of them.

Like everyone who owns a TV or radio and doesn't live in a cave, I couldn't help but passively follow the ups and downs of the Duke Lacrosse rape case. Having not followed it very closely however, it seemed to me lately like it went from an accusation to a fake accusation, with the accused exhonerated by the courts, the media and their peers. And, just today, settling with the University for an "undisclosed sum". Which I'm sure wasn't paltry by any means

However, it was the recent backlash against the North Carolina DA in the case, Mike Nifong, that has made me revisit the case over the past few days to analyze what really happened. And, like everyone else in the case, I'm still not exactly sure. But from what I can gather, these "men" (while not guilty under North Carolina law) are far from innocent. From what I can gather, these little slimeballs are getting the hero's treatment in exchange for an opportunity to clear its name and at the expense of an overzealous state prosecutor and a young woman who's life has been ruined.

While the prim-and-proper little yuppies pictured above are being portrayed as having been just the victim's of lies and slander, check out this explanation of why the charges were dropped--

A charge of first-degree forcible rape was dropped in December after the 28-year-old accuser told prosecutors she could no longer testify that she had been penetrated with a penis, one of the defining factors of rape under North Carolina law.
(CNN.COM)

So rape = penis, huh? So what does a group of men holding a woman down & forcing foreign objects into her genitalia constitute? Just good ol' fashioned Dixieland fun? Read on.

The facts as recounted by the police affidavit could hardly be more sordid. The stripper—whose name has been withheld but who told The (Raleigh) News & Observer that she is a student at a local black college and a mother of two—says she was hired by some Duke students to dance, along with another stripper, at a small house just off the Duke campus. They had just begun their performance when the men became "excited and aggressive." According to Nifong, one of the players called out, "Did you bring any sex toys?" When the women answered no, a man said, "That's OK, we'll just use a broom." Frightened, the strippers ran outside to their car. One of the men followed and coaxed one of the women to come back in. When she did, she told police, she was forced into a bathroom and held down while three men forced her to have sex. According to Nifong, she claimed that the men robbed her and that she broke off several fake fingernails clawing one of her attackers.

The other woman was waiting outside in the car. As the two sped off, a neighbor heard one of the boys yelling out, "Hey b----, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt!" The neighbor, Jason Bissey, says that before the woman went back inside, he heard one of the partygoers repeating urgently, "Guys, let's go." He also says the party broke up within five minutes after the women left. The women did not call 911. Rather, a security guard at a grocery store called police to report that one of the women, apparently intoxicated or disoriented, was sitting in a car in the parking lot.

The police took her to the hospital where, according to D.A. Nifong, a nurse concluded that the stripper had suffered injuries consistent with a sexual assault. Two days later, police showed up at the house with a search warrant. According to the police report, they found some evidence that sounds incriminating, including five fake fingernails, the woman's makeup bag and ID, and $160 in cash.

(MSNBC.COM)

So...physical evidence of sexual assault, harassment, threats of sexual violence with a broomstick, racist comments. Even if these little bastards didn't "rape" this woman (in North Carolina's backwards perspective) they are probably guilty of sexual assault, intimidation and various hate crimes. But I'm certainly not holding my breath to see them brought up on any of these charges, as the pressure by the university, the N.C. DA's office & their rich white parents would make it a career deathwish for any prosecutor to take on the case. The smiling little brats in the picture above have literally gotten a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, certainly not the first or last they'll receive in their privileged, decadent little lives.

And if anyone still thinks that race and class don't have everything to do with it, think again. This is truly a modern-day Hattie Carroll story, yet another poor black woman who will never see justice against the rich, white predators who victimized her due to loopholes, technicalities, good ol' boy cronyism, high-priced lawyers, politics and deep-set Southern racism. I can guarantee you that had this been a rich, white blonde-haired southern belle mother of two cherubic Aryan children, this case would still be ongoing.

Instead, we have a woman who will be spending the rest of her life in fear, condemned by her community, distrustful of the legal system and concepts such as "justice", all the while with two young children to raise who will probably have to struggle with living with a mother who just never seems happy and who hides her face when they walk down the street.

And someday when they're older, they'll do a Google search and find the picture of the smug white boys above, with their shit-eating grins that only the law & ethics-exempting gift of wealth can bring, and they will begin to understand why.

4 comments:

Eva the Deadbeat said...

This is just so awful, and sad, and awful. I do live in a cave but read a good New Yorker article about this a ways back. The facts are confusing but no doubt some sort of ugly shit went down. ugh.

the le duo said...

or nothing at all went down and it was just a case of an over zealous prosecutor and a women trying to make a quick buck. who are any of us to say? i read & watched alot about this case & the reason nifong was disbarred is the dna didnt match up & he hid that fact- maybe shit happened, maybe it didnt- but if it comes down to a fight- rich white against poor black (which it did really) i'm staying out. more downloads!

casey said...

Excellent essay. I'm glad you took the time to parse the legal BS. I know the prosecutor f'd up, but suspected there was a lot more to the story.

Eva the Deadbeat said...

true, we'll never know for sure but that doesn't stop it from being UGLY.