I wish I could take credit for this idea, but one of my blog readers noted and documented similarities between the Scottsboro and Duke rape cases. There are huge and obvious differences between the cases, to be sure, but the similarities are instructive.
Both Scottsboro accusers were considered low-class or “white trash.” In the Duke case the accuser was a stripper, not exactly a high-class profession. In Scottsboro, Price came up with the plan to frame the teens because she feared she’d be charged with violating the Mann Act. The Duke stripper may have accused the men of rape to avoid arrest for a probation violation stemming from a 2002 drunken car chase with the police.
In Scottsboro, both accusers showed signs of recent sexual intercourse but no forcible rape. Price had sex with her married boyfriend, and Bates with her boyfriend two days before the incident. Medical examinations revealed small amounts of non-motile sperm in each woman and no physical trauma, inconsistent with a recent brutal gang-rape.
In the Duke case, semen found in the accuser belonged to her “boyfriend” and not to any of the three indicted lacrosse players. According to a recent defense motion in the Duke case, the accuser’s medical exam showed no signs of rape. The accuser told the examining nurse that she hadn’t been choked and that no condoms, fingers, or foreign objects were used during the alleged rape. The nurse noted that her body appeared normal.
At least one Scottsboro defendant had an alibi but was put on trial anyway. In the Duke case, at least one of the indicted men has an alibi but still may face a trial.
In Scottsboro, Bates changed her story and admitted she’d made it up. In Durham, Kim “Second Stripper” Roberts initially said no rape occurred and called the allegations a “crock” but changed her mind after she decided to financially benefit from the scandal.
In 1931 Scottsboro, politically powerful whites resented blacks. In 2006 Durham, politically powerful blacks resent white Duke elites. The district attorneys in both cases used racial and class resentment to political advantage.
The Scottsboro case was an egregious miscarriage of justice and so is the Duke case. Nine black teens were arrested and charged with rape because they were black; three white men were arrested and charged with rape because they are white. Race relations may have improved in the last 75 years, but when we allow race-fueled hysteria to deny men justice progress is impeded.
And time begins to reverse.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006
The "Scottsboro Boys" were a group of black teenagers who were accused of rape in the 1930s. There was a famous trial fueled by racial hysteria. La Shawn Barber gives us a synopsis of the case and then compares it to the Duke Rape case now under investigation. The similarities are instructive: