Surprise, surprise a group of elite, privileged, major university students are accused of participating in a sexual assault. If anyone thinks that what is playing out at Duke University is out of the ordinary then I would advise you to think again. What is a-typical about this situation however is that it, like most cases involving a clash of class and race, has revealed a tense under-coating of racial tension and economic inequality in a town simply overshadowed by the acre or so of land, which envelopes part of Durham.
In a more surprising twist of an already twisted story, there now seems to be more to the scenario than what has been described initially. First the latest news is that some of the high-powered lawyers for some of the 46 lacrosse players is that they believe an indictment in the case could be coming soon -- as early as next week.
It seems the Durham District Attorney is moving forward despite the highly anticipated DNA test returned inconclusive and if you believe the spin of the defense attorneys proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that no DNA was quote "in the woman, on the woman, on the clothes of the woman" and therefore reveals no assault occurred.
Whoa! that's quite a statement in light there still is a rape kit which shows evidence of a sexual assault, injuries on her body, which show evidence of physical assault and items such as money and broken glue-on fingernails in the bathroom in question.
While it's uncertain a rape actually happened, it is beyond reason to not think something happened.
And something is happening in and around Durham, as well. Durham is 40 percent African-American, double the percentage in all of North Carolina. So the fact that the alleged victim is black who attends a Historically black college down the street from Duke has added a bit of racial overtone.
But the economics -- or the inequality of the economics in Durham is placing a strain on the scandal, as well.
Durham over the past few years; however, this economic boom is not affecting all residents of Durham County, especially minorities and those who do not have professional or technical skills. The number of persons living in poverty is especially high for African Americans - 20,126 African Americans live in poverty -- that is about 10 percent of the entire population and nearly 25 percent of the Black population.
If we couple that with the fact most of these students pay in tuition more than most of the Black community
makes in a year and the accusation that racial slurs were spewed that night of the alleged assault race clearly is center stage or at the very least a major player.
And because of that, the details of the case may be clouded. Some people seem too quick to label the young men guilty while others are just as fast to claim their innocence when any new fact comes to light that seems to swing in their favor.
Whether this case actually ends up with someone on trial --whether its a player or the victim for making a false claim, Durham and Duke would be missing a huge opportunity if the community did not use this opening to break down barriers and build a bridge that brings all of them together in unity.
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