November 25th, 2013

The Duke lacrosse case: the third act

The first act in the Duke lacrosse case were the allegations and the resultant hue and cry and calls for conviction.

The second act was the unraveling of the case and the disbarment of prosecutor and DA Mike Nifong, as well as a civil lawsuit against him that is still going forward in the state of North Carolina, slowly but unsurely.

The third act is this:

A few days ago, Ms. Mangum [the accuser in the Duke rape case] was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend who died from wounds she inflicted with a kitchen knife. That hasn’t made too many headlines, but its is a sad, if ironically apt, coda to the whole sorry story…

The story of this tawdry melodrama at Duke deserved an entire book, and it got a very good one in Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case by KC Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College, and the journalist Stuart Taylor. They show in horrifying detail how “many professors and, to a lesser extent, administrators at one of the nation’s finest universities chose to grind their radical political axes at the expense of both their own students’ well-being and the academy’s traditional fidelity to due process.”

Many of people suffered because of the Duke farce. But what of Professor Bakers and his preening, activist colleagues? What of the Group of 88? Only one member apologized. The rest issued a statement that categorically rejected all “public calls to the authors to retract the ad or apologize for it.”

And who is this Professor Baker, still engaged in molding young minds in academia (he seems to have made a lateral move to Vanderbilt in the ensuing years)?:

During the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case, Baker (among other members of the so-called “Group of 88″) published an open letter calling for Duke to dismiss the team and its players. Baker wrote that “white, male, athletic privilege” was responsible for the alleged rape. Baker suggested that the Duke administration was “sweeping things under the rug.” More generally, Baker’s letter criticized colleges and universities for the “blind-eyeing of male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain.”

Duke Provost Peter Lange responded to Baker’s letter a few days later, criticizing Baker for prejudging the team based on their race and gender, citing this as a classic tactic of racism. Lange maintained that a rush to judgment would do little to remedy the deeper problems and that open letters such as Baker’s do little to further the cause of justice.

In 2007, charges against the players were dropped and the state’s Attorney General took the extraordinary step of declaring the students innocent. Following the exoneration of the players, one of the parents of a Duke lacrosse player emailed Baker and reported that he responded by writing that she was “quite sadly, mother of a ‘farm animal.’”

[NOTE: Many more details on Baker here.]

19 Responses to “The Duke lacrosse case: the third act”

  1. assemblerhead Says:

    I’m afraid to read up on Baker.
    Why? … My rabies vaccination is out of date!

  2. Matt_SE Says:

    No matter what group we’re talking about, lack of accountability breeds corruption. Tenure is self-serving and a refuge for scoundrels.

  3. Don Carlos Says:

    Baker is more, way more horrific than Mangum. Mangum is just a run of the mill low IQ black druggie slut, whose “culture” we are gradually coming to embrace (ugh I hate that word) thanks to the news and entertainment media. But Baker was hired from Duke into an endowed chair by Vanderbilt AFTER his filthy racist bigoted irrational linen had been hung out for all to see. He is still “teaching”, mostly white kids, at a full ride of ~$60K per year each.
    And Vanderbilt seeks my contributions, as Duke also did. Fat chance.

  4. DNW Says:

    I don’t get the persistent expressions of indignation from “our side”. Sure it’s contemptible, but what’s new? This is where we have been living for a generation now. Have we just noticed?

    Baker might be a particularly ignorant and emotionally overwrought example of the phenomenon, but surely philosopher Alex Rosenberg of the 88 better represents at core the smug, smirking, unapologetic, and ultimately homicidal, values nihilism which provides the intellectual, and thus, (shrugging) “moral justification” for such behavior.

    Ultimately these post-postmodernists believe that there is nobody home anyway.

    Kind of funny, that. As I’ve mentioned multiple times before, with them we have same people who as a class believe that both values and the self itself are illusory, getting wrought up over wrongs supposedly done to … well, to what, exactly? An illusion?

  5. George Pal Says:

    Mr. Baker – “one of the most wide-ranging intellectuals in America”.

    The range is so great as to be boundless. A man utterly without scruples, morals, intellect, is blight on humanity and human society… no, more than blight – plague. The fact he was hired by Vanderbilt and given the endorsement quoted says so much more than the original damning contretemps itself. A public educational institution, as presently formulated by pretense, is the surest place to find budding and blossoming tyranny. There’s no fixing it. Hope that it will all collapse under the weight of the student loans and the realization that the professoriate in now no more than a subset of a confederation of autocrats is all we have.

    Down with privileged education! Power to the proletariat! Read a damn book and connect the dots as best you can. You may not end up smart but at least you’ll remain free – and unindicted.

  6. Don Carlos Says:

    A modest postscript on KC Johnson, who meticulously detailed the travesty of “Duke lacrosse” and is a (tenured) American history professor: He was an ardent supporter of Obama the candidate and O the President, maybe still is; I have stopped caring.

  7. Mac Says:

    If you didn’t follow one of Neo’s links to find out more about Baker, take a guess as to what department he’s in. See here for answer.

    I got it right.

  8. Charles Says:

    There is no accountability in academia except for toeing the party line – step out of the groupthink and then you will be tarred and feathered.

    I had wished that those players would sue the school and the professors who so slandered them; but, I’m sure that they wanted their nightmare to be over with.

  9. n.n Says:

    Once you are corrupted, you are rarely rehabilitated.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The injury to one’s good name or reputation is affected through written or spoken words or visual images. The laws governing these torts are identical.

    To recover in a libel or slander suit, the plaintiff must show evidence of four elements: that the defendant conveyed a defamatory message; that the material was published, meaning that it was conveyed to someone other than the plaintiff; that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the communication.

    To prove that the material was defamatory, the plaintiff must show that at least one other person who saw or heard it understood it as having defamatory meaning. It is necessary to show not that all who heard or read the statement understood it to be defamatory, but only that one person other than the plaintiff did so. Therefore, even if the defendant contends that the communication was a joke, if one person other than the plaintiff took it seriously, the communication is considered defamatory.”

    All of the above would appear to apply.

    Consequence is what changes behavior. Lack of consequence is a green light for the behavior to continue.

  11. Ray Says:

    When I saw the picture of professor Baker my first thought was affirmative action professor.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    Zombie brainwashing Nazi scientists experimenting on humans, basically.

  13. W.C. Taqiyya Says:

    And nobody mentions the pile of steaming political reality still sitting, undisturbed and unchanged, that was the prime enabler of this case. But for the social imperative for everyone in any position of authority to accept the accusations, however unsupported by facts, of any female against any male, this case would not have been the destructive charade it was and is. And that is OK. When a society can’t tell or doesn’t care about the difference between equal rights under the law and the supremacy of some based on class differences, the games will continue. Now, where did I put my popcorn and salted nuts?

  14. susan Says:

    My husband is an honors graduate of Vanderbilt and he gets multiple fundraising requests a year from them. He will politely listen to the pitch and once he is asked for a gift will ask if Houston Baker is still employed by Vanderbilt. When given the affirmative (and everyone seems to know exactly who Baker is) he responds that he cannot support his alma matter as long as Baker is on staff and to feel free to call him when Baker is gone.

    He does this two or three times a year. On a couple of occasions he has engaged the VU representative in a conversation that reveals that he is by no means the only former donor with this stipulation.

  15. parker Says:


    Good for your hubby… give them a flashlight & a mirror and invite them to find the place where the sun does not shine.

  16. parker Says:

    In the face of the wind that blows against us there is still magic that sustaines us:




    Joh Lee:

    The ultimate advice from Hank:

  17. Matt_SE Says:


    I applaud your husband’s actions but I wonder if it’s enough. At the risk of sounding like a leftist, what we need is “collective action.” We need an uprising and a coordination of alumni to drive the point home. Publicly embarrass the ivy league schools and bleed them dry of funds.

  18. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    I just read a blurb about Prof. Houston A. Baker at
    “December 22, 2006
    Duke case: Professor Baker still unrepentant”

    As I see it, we have TWO “religions of the perpetually offended” — the first, of course, being Islam; the other being Eternally Aggrieved Blacks.

    God help us, there are so MANY of that second group in our schools and in “public service” (like the raving lunatics of the Congressional Black Caucus, for instance).

    How will we ever have a united country when so many hateful men make it their life’s work to sow division and discord?

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    the first, of course, being Islam; the other being Eternally Aggrieved Blacks.

    If you go back to the Nation of Islam history with Malcom X, and Louis Farrakhan, you’ll notice that blacks + Islam = equality more or less.

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