Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Society gets more outraged over rape lies that are politically incorrect than rape lies that aren't

White supremacist Dylann Roof cried, "You rape our women," just before he shot nine innocent black people in a Charleston church, and media outlets have jumped on that comment as more evidence that whites have historically blamed blacks for atrocities they didn't commit. See, e.g., here.

That minority males have been, and are, on the receiving end of injustice more often than anyone is scarcely a newsflash. The social pathologies of the inner city seem to make it easier -- and somehow more acceptable -- to stereotype and blame the innocent who live there for crimes they didn't commit. This is a problem of monumental proportions that has never been adequately addressed.

But it is curious that, when it comes to false rape claims, progressives and other folks who ought to know better, including members of the black and Latino communities, seem to get more bent out of shape over the political incorrectness of the lie than the lie itself.

In 2009, at Northwestern University, a bogus rape claim prompted two campus-wide emails: the first notified students that a female Northwestern student was sexually assaulted. It provided an explicit description of the suspect as follows: "African American male, approximately 25 years old, 5-6 – 5-7 inches tall, with a thin but muscular build, wearing a black leather jacket and dark jeans." The second email declared the first e-mail’s report as "false."

It was the first email's explicit description of the suspect that drew concerns and provoked a discussion about race on campus. "One student [at a panel discussion about the rape claim] said when she first read the e-mail she was more concerned about how it might reinforce racial perceptions than how it would influence perception of gender. She said she was surprised by the specificity, when previous cases have had more blanket descriptions that could apply to people of any race." A criminology professor said: "All black young men on campus become vulnerable to further suspicion."

Rape lies often include a "scary" black or Hispanic male suspect in an attempt to lend plausibility to the fabrication.  In 2011, a Brooklyn "nun" from a fringe Christian sect falsely claimed "that she was choked and raped by a black man." The New York Daily News reported that black men in the neighborhood were angered, but not surprised. According to the Daily News: "Cops even released a sketch of the phantom suspect and pleaded for the public to help catch him. After more questioning, [the accuser] admitted she concocted the assault to cover up her sexual shenanigans with a bodega worker." The men in the neighborhood were "pissed," as one man put it. "I don't know why they must accuse falsely like that. I think it must be prejudice," said a 56-year-old advertising worker who lived across from the house where the "nun" lived.

In 2010, WABC weather forecaster Heidi Jones invented a Hispanic man as her attacker. Many expressed outrage on behalf of the Hispanic community.

Certainly, a rape lie is all the more despicable when it is seasoned with racial animus, but it is sufficiently despicable without it to warrant our outrage.

Contrast those cases noted above with the one involving Brian Banks, who is black. After Brian was wrongly accused, his lawyer convinced him to plead guilty -- because he was a black male: "If [you] go into that courtroom," Brian remembers her telling him, "the jury [is] automatically going to see a big, black teenager and automatically assume [you are] guilty." Brian spent years in prison for a rape he didn't commit--read Brian's harrowing story here. It is curious that when Brian's case is discussed, the connection between his race and the injustice perpetrated on him are mentioned but downplayed, likely because his false accuser was black. The rape lie was not politically incorrect.

Do you remember the Hofstra false rape case? The minority youths accused of rape were automatically deemed guilty and were treated like animals. They were even booed on national television after it was confirmed that they were wrongly accused. The Hofstra case was among the worst rushes to judgment in recent memory, but the accuser was black, and the Hofstra case never attracted the outrage of progressives.

Sadly, for too many commentators in the mainstream media, if the particular injustice doesn't present a morality play about a perceived victim group, they have no interest in it. But it didn't matter to Brian Banks or the Hofstra accused that their accusers were black. Nor did it matter to the Duke lacrosse players that they happened to be white and their accuser was black. The injustice of a false rape claim is an injustice regardless of the color of the accused or the accuser.