Friday, March 23, 2007

Duke Professors Slink Away As The Furor Subsides

March 23, 2007 -- "IT seems that the trumped-up charges against three young men who played for the la crosse team at Duke University will be dismissed either today or sometime next week.

That will mostly end their ordeal, though they'll still have to deal with millions of dollars in legal fees (which, in the end, the city of Durham, N.C., will probably have to pick up).

The same can't be said of their false accuser - who is in a world of trouble, since you're not supposed to make false accusations to the authorities.

But her dire fate will seem positively sunny compared to that of Durham DA Mike Nifong - who is certain to be sued for defamation, likely to be disbarred and very possibly charged with an open-and-shut case of perjury that could land him in jail for a long time.

Yet some of the most disgraceful actors in this case will go unpunished.

I'm referring to a huge cohort of the professors at the top-flight university attended by the three unjustly accused men.

Some 88 of them - more than 10 percent of the entire Duke professoriat - engaged in a shocking rush to judgment in the weeks following the party where the accuser falsely alleged she had been raped.

They signed an ad declaring they were "turning up the volume at a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down."

Their shameful conduct helped create the lynch-mob atmosphere that tempted and seduced DA Nifong to believe he could ride an indictment of the three young men to political victory in the Democratic primary that took place only weeks after he charged them.

It is not too much to say that many of the adults at Duke, who should be stewards for their students, actually wanted the false rape story to be true because it fulfilled their ideological predilections.

Since the academic work of those who organized the ad centers around the notion that the white male power structure subjugates and violates all those who are neither white nor male, the case was actually a dream come true for them.

After all, a poor African-American woman said a gang of white boys - a gang whose number changed each time she told her cock-and-bull story - had raped her only a few yards from the Duke campus..."

Back in the 60's, I'd often wonder just how long the madness would last. The upside was we had great music and women and minorities were beginning to get their due, but the whole thing was just too surreal to last. Certainly, saner heads would prevail to some day keep the baby while tossing out the bathwater. People could begin feeling happy again as the white-guilt-of-all-guilts gave way to maturity, as women and minorities finally joined civilization as full partners and not just water bearers.

I never counted on the enclaves. The places nurturing the pseudo-religion that liberalism had become. But most of us did learn that with maturity comes responsibility, because if you didn't then the real world would gladly teach you the hard way.

Not so within the ivy walls. They can yell fire in a crowded theater all they want. Still. Never grew up, because they didn't have to.

No comments: