Thursday, April 13, 2006

The more things change...


campus as media circus
Originally uploaded by mk30.
... the more they stay the same.

This whole Duke lacrosse alleged rape incident has had me thinking about my college days and our "Crow Incident."

Here's the short version: In 1981, a group from the fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho allegedly raped a local woman. For the details, you can surf here (a master's thesis by Beth Miller), flip to page numbered 87 (or 99 of the pdf document) and read about it.

In many respects, the similarities are erie: priviledged athletes at a liberal arts college, a local woman involved in the sex/entertainment business, and a story we'll never get to the bottom of.

What is missing from the Trinity incident is race, however. Although, knowing what I know, I suspect the prostitute involved very likely was African American; but, certainly, there were no allegations that any racial comments were made during the alleged incident. The Duke incident has race as a major card thrown down on the table of public opinion. Check out this piece about women and race.
"There's a certain level of disrespect on campus toward African-American females," said Erica Howard, a junior at Vanderbilt. She cringes at the memories of a string of incidents on her campus with "girls who were walking in front of dorms and white guys would come up and grab them."
Although, if you read Beth Miller's thesis, this isn't likely really about African American women, but women in general. But I digress.

Or do I? From Beth Miller
The Crow incident provides compelling evidence of how fraternity brothers bonded through sexual conquest and how they viewed certain women as sexual objects to be treated exploitatively, particularly if they were of a lower class. What disturbed many people in the campus community was that the Crow brothers and their supporters did not see this incident as inherently exploitative.
I bet we could rewrite the quote and it would be just as accurate; try this:
The lacrosse incident provides compelling evidence of how male athletes bonded through sexual conquest and how they viewed certain women as sexual objects to be treated exploitatively, particularly if they were of a lower class. What disturbed many people in the campus community was that the lacrosse players and their supporters did not see this incident as inherently exploitative.
Like I said, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

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