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Collective Guilt a/k/a White Males Stink

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The Stanford rapist, Brock Turner, got a six month sentence for a more-disgusting-than average (if that makes any sense) attack on an inebriated woman.  As I've previously noted, once the trial rolled around, his defense lawyer went to town on the victim.  He did this in a display of vicious misogyny any normal person would find shocking.

His cross-examination was not an attempt to create reasonable doubt, none being possible about whether an unconscious person can consent to sex.  It was an attempt to punish the victim for coming forward.

There are those in my profession  --  indeed, almost certainly a majority  --  who think this kind of lawyering is permissible, if not required.  All in the for client, dontcha know.

I dissent.  Being a lawyer is not a ticket beyond the boundaries of decency.

At the same time, being a white male is not a ticket to blanket condemnation, either.
Thus, this "news story" (not on the editorial page) in the Washington Post is appalling. It's a smear job, pure and simple.  You don't have to read for long.  Its opening paragraphs are:


Bring it on -- the brilliant smile of a Stanford swimmer with Olympic dreams, the happy privileged face of a white college kid named Brock Turner. Another picture of him smiling, please.

Because this is what a campus sexual predator looks like. And that's the truth too many people refuse to acknowledge. It's the most difficult part of the campus rape culture destroying the lives of so many young women: acknowledging who their rapists are.


Because virtually all rapists are men, and because the great majority of Americans (and thus American college students) are white, it's doubtless true that, purely as a statistical matter, a "campus sexual predator" is a white man.  But this "news story" is not about truth, statistical or otherwise.  Its about collective guilt.  And it's racist.


If a newspaper were to print a photograph of a black man with the caption, "Bring it on  -- the snickering smile of a ghetto dweller selling crack cocaine, destroying the lives of so many young women," it would be out of business the next day.  The racist smear behind the statistical truth is too obvious for words.


It is no less obvious here, and no less appalling.  The problem with rape is not whiteness, any more than the problem with crack is blackness.  The problem is with parenting that fails to instill respect for other people's lives, property and humanity.


When we fix that problem, the prison population will wither to nothing.  Until we do, prisons will help keep us safe.  It has zip to do with race.  It has everything to do with taking responsibility for your actions and requiring your kids to do the same.


This, incidentally, is Brock Turner.  It's a tragedy that someone with this much going for him chose to treat a woman as chattel. His wretched parenting bears a share of the blame.  But he's an adult, and chose to ignore the most basic rules of civilized life. Now, with all respect to his anything-goes lawyer and his "20 minutes of action" father, it's on him.






  

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