I don't recall blogging much on the the Duke lacrosse rape-accusation, but I was happy when the rape charge was dropped and hoped that it was just a matter of time before the other charges followed--and they did. La Shawn Barber has some of the best coverage on the Duke debacle.
The most important thing about the accuser--Crystal Gail Mangum--is this: there is a certain type of person that lies so much that the person believes his/her own lies. When North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper asserted that Mangum actual believed her all of her various conflicting stories about an alleged rape perpetrated by the three now-exonerated Duke lacrosse team members--one of whom had an air-tight alibi--I recognized the particular personality trait. I was married to someone who possessed it. (He hid it well pre-nuptially.)
Such a person is dangerous--a habitual liar; the type of liar that wants a certain thing to be true so much that he/she will either twist the facts to his/her advantage or he/she will actually acknowledge the facts, but still assert that the opposite is true.
Lay observers of this type of habitual and flagrant fabricator will deem such a person to be crazy. Perhaps Mangum is. Or perhaps she's merely a subset of the type of people we all come across from time to time in our lives: sociopaths. Sometimes such persons are merely annoyances; however, at the other end of the spectrum, such persons can put others in danger of life, limb and/or freedom.
During the run-up to the Stanley "Tookie" Williams execution, I said that black people don't need anyone to listen to the sociopaths in our number. But all too many people do--whether it's undiscerning white people trying to assuage their personal guilt or the collective guilt of the US for actual racial injustices or undiscerning black people who want revenge for personal racial incidents or, again, for the collective US injustices of the past. Still others buy into the the feminist "sisterhood"--that any woman who accuses a man of rape is always telling the truth; believed for similar reasons. And all of the mindsets have a great deal of overlap, simply because they spring from the same source: misplaced revenge.
For such reasons, so many people are willing to take the word of persons like the emotionally-ill and/or conscience-less Mangum or murderers like Williams and Mumia Abu-Jamal solely because they are black (and/or female) and because their opponent is a white male (victim, accuser, accused or the "white male" justice system). So mired in the need for "justice" are such true-believers that they can't think far enough ahead to contemplate how much it might hurt black people and women (and all others) were three white men to be convicted of raping a black woman in spite of all evidence pointing to a different conclusion.
When the next high-profile case involving a black and/or female comes along--whether that person is the accuser or the accused--that person will be scrutinized to high Heaven; not because of people like Mangum, Williams and Abu-Jamal, but because of of people like the Group of 88 Duke professors (I would have linked to their actual statement but it has understandably been disappeared) or people like the one featured here at Protein Wisdom. And if the accuser/accused has actually been victimized or has actually been falsely accused, he/she will be victimized again--whether it's the publication of past transgressions or just general disbelief. It is the New Stereotype, with "new" being a relative term as far as stereotypes go. (I would say that the New Stereotype was born in the previous decade, mid-wifed by the outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial.) Call it the Oppressed Minority Who Cried Wolf Syndrome or the Likely Lying Minorities and Those Who Want to Believe Them Syndrome. Here on the "other side of town," we recognize the syndrome and have a shorter version of it: the "Wasn't Me" Syndrome.
Thanks a lot in advance, all you so-called advocates of social justice.
Interestingly enough, the compassionate statement of Reade Seligmann--one of the exonerated men and IIRC the one who was not present during the time of the alleged rape--caught my attention because it addressed real social injustice.
This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed. If it is possible for law enforcement officials to systematically railroad us with no evidence whatsoever, it is frightening to think what they could do to those who do not to have the resources to defend themselves. So rather than relying on disparaging stereotypes, or creating political and racial conflicts, we must all take a step back from this case and learn from it. This tragedy has revealed that our society has lost site [sic] of the core principle of our legal system, the presumption of innocence.That this guy could actually think of what other people experience after what he went through shows a personal trait that seems all too lacking of late: character.
UPDATE: Booker Rising's Shay notes that,
[V]arious conservative bloggers have been naming and posting photographs of the black accuser in the rape case involving white members of Duke University's lacrosse team. Yet I don't recall such a thing happening on the conservative side when that white woman falsely accused black basketball star Kobe Bryant in 2003. I remember no conservative uproar calling for the prosecutor to apologize to Mr. Bryant (who, like the white lacrosse players, was no choir boy. He cheated on his wife...[SNIP]. I remember no conservative vilification of this white woman.Implicit question answered by the emphasis. Kobe was innocent of a legal (and moral) transgression but guilty of another moral one. Additionally, Kobe's public behavior preceding the LA Lakers' trade of Shaquille O'Neal didn't exactly endear him to the observing public. Again, sometimes it isn't about race--or even about wrong-doing--but about character.