Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Rare Opportunity

For feminist analysis of the most basic kind is offered by Dr. David Yeagley's article about the Duke rape case. He takes the side of the lacrosse players accused of this crime, the side of Duke University, the side of white men and so on, and all this side-taking is enlightening, illuminating and a little vomit-inducing, too.

For example, he begins like this:

It's racism at Duke, all right. Racism against white students. Members of the Duke University Lacrosse team may have abused a black party girl, but, without any proof or trial, the Duke Lacrosse team was punished by the university, suspended from further games. So terrified was the administration of being charged with "racism." The black female wins again. She is truly an ace on the field and in court.

The next paragraph complains about the anonymity of the "black party girl". It's hard to wage a full-front racial war when you don't know your enemy's identity, but clearly Dr. Yeagley thinks that suspending the team from further games is a terrible punishment for a crime of rape that only MAY have happened, and that this "black party girl" has it made. She's an ace on the field and in court and probably in hospital and therapists' offices as well, but the poor lacrosse team got terribly hurt by being suspended.

All this would be funny in a different context. But the article quickly gets a lot less funny. We learn that there is a racist plot between reporters and the alleged victim. We also learn that the real crime may have been the alleged victim's stupidity in returning to the party, or the fact that she should have known better than some hormone-driven young men who are not expected to know better. Then we learn the most astonishing stuff:

So, that black woman said, "No," eh? First, she's in a profession where she's expected to do tricks for clients. Second, she's walking into a house full of young, drunken athletes, who happen to be white. Third, she called the police and complained once; then she went back, but then left. And then she went back again! That's a peculiar way of saying "No," it seems to me. These racist black people just want a role model victim, with mistreatment wreaked upon the weakest of the weak: the black woman. All she has to do is cry, "rape by white male!" and she rules the world.

Here it all is, in a magnificent jumble of patriarchal myths and beliefs. Exotic dancers are whores, whores can never say "No", even to violence, young drunks are not expected to restrain themselves about anything, especially if they happen to be white. Victims are to be blamed if they are not smart enough to be non-victims. And then the most revealing bit of all: "she rules the world" if she cries rape by "white male".

This is an odd aspect of much anti-feminist discourse, the idea that any rights that women might have mean that soon women will rule the whole world. Maybe this is why the anti-feminists try to persuade us so very hard that the hand that moves the cradle rules the world. If we accepted this, writers like Dr. Yeagley would feel safe again. Safe from what, I wonder. Perhaps they fear that women and blacks (and black women!) would take their revenge on all the poor Dr. Yeagleys by acting the same way in return.

This is not how feminism works. But I don't think that Dr. Yeagley would be reassured by my saying so. He seems to see race and sex wars everywhere he looks, and even I, a wild-eyed feminazi, fail to see quite that much havoc in the making.
Note: I am not commenting on the Duke case itself, because I don't have enough evidence to comment on it right now.