A Tale of Two Rapes in Durham

Mary Katharine Ham

2/13/2007 5:47:50 PM - Mary Katharine Ham

There's another accusation of rape floating around Durham this week. The accuser was allegedly attacked at a house party this Saturday.

The accuser is white. The suspect is black.

Heard anything about that? Yeah, I didn't think so.

The mainstream media has bent over backward to keep race out of this. Even those who first gave a description of the alleged rapist as a “black man” later redacted that from their reports. The News & Observer never printed it at all. And none has pointed out, as the Duke Chronicle has done, that the alleged victim was white, making this a mirror image of the Duke lacrosse case.

Some maintained all along last spring that their protests were not about race but about men’s violence against women. Still others tried to fan racial and class tensions by saying that if these were black men accused of raping a white woman, the man would be in jail. Well, now we know two things: it was always about race for the pot bangers and the Group of 88 professors at Duke, and it is demonstrably true, after Sunday’s incident, that a black man can be accused of raping a white woman and still be on the street.

It was never about protecting women. I know that because I live in a neighborhood that has the dubious honor of being the namesake of at least one serial rapist. There were few candlelight vigils; there was no national media attention; there were no pot-bangers when the women of my neighborhood couldn't take their dogs for walks at dusk. And, those black-on-white rapes just didn't bring the activist out in people the way the Duke non-rape did.

The News & Observer's omission of race is laughable:

The man is described as being in his late teens or early 20s, about 6-foot-1 and wearing a black do-rag, a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans, according to a police news release.

Why laughable? Because the same story appeared in the Charlotte Observer, written by the same reporter, with "black" included, since it was part of the original police report. It was clearly removed in the Raleigh edition:

Police had not charged anyone late Sunday in connection with the allegations but released a description of a suspect: a black male, in his late teens or early 20s, about 6-feet-1-inch tall and wearing a black do-rag, a gray sweat shirt and blue jeans, according to the news release.

And, isn't this uncharacteristically respectful of the judicial system, coming from Duke University?

Duke University administrators will wait for Durham police to finish their investigation of a freshman's allegations that she was raped at an off-campus party before doing an inquiry of their own.

What? Not disbanding the African-American fraternity-- Phi Beta Sigma-- whose members threw the party? I mean, we don't have to wait for anyone to be charged, do we?

K.C. Johnson notes a difference in treatment by the D.A.'s office, too. I'm shocked-- shocked!

"We haven't made any arrests or anything yet," said Maj. L.A. Russ of the Durham Police Department. "He would not get involved this early."

"But in the lacrosse case," Blythe correctly notes, "Nifong assumed control of the investigation, according to police reports, before any charges were filed."

I'm glad things will be handled more level-headedly this time in Durham, but I'm sad to say it's probably not because the people and politicians of Durham have learned any lessons. But regardless of the reason, it's good to know this case will go more fairly. I just hope the dear "victim" in last year's case hasn't made things harder for this girl if, in fact, her story is true.

The Duke lacrosse season starts in the next two weeks. Please support them as you can. I'll be going to a few games.

Update: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Please enjoy my "Tour of Things That Did Not Happen In Durham" if you haven't seen it yet: