A post-Duke Lacrosse justice coma

By Malena Amusa Sep 19, 2007

A friend warned me this news would be more disturbing than Jena 6– the sad tale of six Black boys unethically charged in Louisiana after beating up a white student behind a noose-hanging. This story is about the group of six white men and women in West Virginia who held a 20-year-old Black woman captive, and for a week, subjected her to gang rape, stabbings, torture and psychological abuse. Watch this. As if the case isn’t shocking enough, what’s also stunning is the authorities won’t pursue hate crime charges in the case. Despite strong evidence suggesting just the opposite. Seems like a post-Duke Lacrosse justice coma is setting in. Too many seem afraid to indict the crimes of whites on behalf of poor Black women, especially after seeing Duke prosecutor Mike Nifong’s case and his life crumble to pieces. This isn’t to say courts have ever been on the side of Black women, but rather, the Duke Case set the latest dramatic precedent justifying the skeptical treatment of sexual hate crimes against Black women. The fact remains, had the victim been a young white woman and the perpetrators a group of Black men and women, a backlash of coverage will still be flooding international headlines until the violators were executed. Earl Ofari Hutchison offers some possible reasons.

The Williams case is a near textbook example of how prosecutors deal with crimes, even possibly racially motivated crimes. They may be horrific, but they are seen as common crimes and are treated as such. Few state prosecutor will chance inflaming racial passions and hatreds by slapping a hate crime tag on a case.

Fearing the realities, the coma gains ground.