Nifong, Duke And The Dirty, Dirty South — Why We Still Just Don’t Get It

By Dr. Boyce Watkins
Updated: June 21, 2007

NEW YORK I was taken aback Thursday by the volume of hate mail I received in response to the last article I wrote about Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case.

Apparently, a few folks had the urge to circulate the column through various chatrooms, news stations, magazines, KKK rallies and porno shops apparently causing the panic that rocked the nation.

One of the writers even called me a “negroid”, which is a nice change of pace.

I am not sure if I’ve ever been called a “negroid” by anyone other than a scientist.

“What long emails, do these people have jobs?” I wondered, as I checked my email in my boxer shorts.

Maybe they are on welfare or something.”

I am used to this sort of thing.

It happens every time I appear on “Hannity & Colmes” or when I go back to my home state of Kentucky.

I’ve rarely seen people work so hard to defend a pack of drunken thugs, and I wonder if they would have the same passion when defending “Pacman” Jones, who just lost his job for a shooting he didn’t commit.

Some made the point, rightfully so, that the North Carolina Attorney General had proclaimed the Duke lacrosse Players to be innocent. “Isn’t that cute”, I thought.

“I’m sure his statement gives people a lot of confidence, no matter how false that confidence may be”.

While the Attorney General may go to some campus parties, I am sure he wasn’t at this one.

Neither was I.

So, neither he nor I will ever be able to prove innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, particularly in a climate that is overflowing with political motivations and the racist, sexist history of the south (remember this is a case involving the rich and powerful, and a lot of butts were being covered in the end).

Also, let’s be clear: the south is horrifically, undeniably and disgustingly racist. Hence, the credibility of the entire justice system is as weak as that of the drunken frat boys.

Remember that little e-mail from the Lacrosse player about killing strippers?

Sweet, innocent boys don’t talk about killing strippers.

So, the Attorney General’s declaration of innocence has as much credibility to me as President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” statement four years ago regarding the Iraq war.

Read my lips: Just because a politician says something, that doesn’t make it true.Attorneys General are politicians.

In all fairness, I want to hear from the alleged victim in the Duke Lacrosse case.

She has gone into hiding and hasn’t said much in public. She should be forced to testify at risk of incarceration.

If she lied and made everything up, then she should be prosecuted.

If she was bribed or intimidated, then that should be revealed as well.

When a victim has one story and suddenly changes it, there is usually a reason for the abrupt change of heart.

To have her say “I made it all up” without the risk of going to prison has no credibility, since such a person can take their bribe money and live happily ever after.

The seriousness of sex crimes says that she should be forced to testify as well.

On another note, I found it quite ironic that many people seem quick to discuss the questionable credibility of the alleged rape victim, but they do not question the credibility of the students themselves.

Who’s the bigger “ho”? Someone who takes their clothes off to feed their family, or the idiots who get naked with strippers for free? Men who have wild drunken stripper parties are not all that reliable in court.

I’ve said my piece. Attacking the integrity of rape victims and mobbish anger after racially-divisive conflicts is a long-standing tradition in the south and much of America.

The O.J. trial, Hurricane Katrina and the Duke rape case showed us that.When put on trial for racism in the highest degree, the south and Duke University (a campus that rarely hires black professors or admits black students) are guilty as charged.

Such a reality, no matter how much we deny it, will always play a powerful role in our interpretations.