Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An Interesting Contrast

Mary Katharine Ham makes some intriguing comparisons to the reaction to the story of the man who rented and then drove an SUV into the midst of UNC students and the reaction to the Duke lacrosse story.
Within days of Taheri-azar’s attack, students were reclaiming The Pit, having interfaith prayer vigils and "dialogues" for religious tolerance on campus, implying of course that it was the campus’ religious tolerance that needed improvement, not the guy who wanted nothing more than to paint his white walls red with some American, non-Muslim blood.

There was one, small anti-terrorism rally put on by a group of conservative students, who wanted the administration to call the incident an act of terrorism. Those students were pilloried by the skittish campus and the administration for "inflaming" the situation and not being "understanding" enough.

In Durham, a poster featuring about 40 members of the Duke lacrosse team, none of whom had yet been charged, was plastered all over campus by citizens and students, associating all 40 of them with the alleged rape.

There is still, months later, a candlelight vigil outside the house where the alleged attack took place, every Sunday night, bemoaning the sexual violence and racial insults which may or may not have happened there.

The New Black Panthers have been to town to protest on behalf of the accuser. Jesse Jackson has offered her tuition for the rest of her college education, regardless of the truth of her allegations.

The lacrosse team’s season was canceled. Its coach resigned. Its recruits are transferring to other schools. The university had a panel investigate whether or not the lacrosse program should even be reinstated.
And, of course, if we switched the stories around and imagined a Christian driving an SUV into a crowd of Muslim students or a group of black athletes accused of raping a white woman, I think we would have reversed reactions from the media and many in the public.