Duke, rape and race, again

This time the university's responding with caution.

Published February 16, 2007 1:34AM (EST)

A reader tipped us off to a new rape case associated with Duke University, home of the notoriously botched case in which an African-American woman accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her at one of their parties. Following a series of media-frenzied months, the charges were dropped after DNA samples cleared the suspects and interviews with the accuser suggested her testimony was less than reliable.

Now the university has responded to an alleged rape last week involving a black man and a white female student with caution, announcing it will allow the authorities to finish their case before beginning its own investigation. Not surprisingly, this is inciting its own storm of speculations. Comments posted following a story in the Chronicle, Duke's school newspaper, seem split between those who feel the school's temperate response is evidence of a lesson learned and those who regard this as one more sign of the bias of politically correct liberals loath to show outrage when the accuser is white and the accused black. Others have weighed in with their recipe for justice: The Post Chronicle ran an editorial imploring the accuser to volunteer for a polygraph.

Ultimately, the depressing thing about these arguments about race is that they obfuscate the reality of rape no matter who is involved.

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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