Duke Rape Case: Why Mike Nifong Deserves Your Pity

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Duke Rape Case: Why Mike Nifong Deserves Your Pity

We're all victims, when you really get down to it.

It's easy to cast the Duke rape case as a morality tale: the pure and innocent players against the lying dancer and the scheming DA. But let's be serious. There are no good guys in this one, and really no bad guys either, if you see the thing in any kind of inclusive context.

Is it a stretch to call Mike Nifong a victim of history? Maybe. But consider this: If it weren't for history, for slavery, Jim Crow, and everything else, there would be no endemic black underclass in Durham. There would be no rigged socioeconomic system within which poor black women were obliged to dance naked for rich white men. There would be none of the atavistic loathing that fueled the rush to judgment against the lacrosse players. And there would be none of the local popular pressure that induced Nifong to pursue the case on dubious evidentiary grounds.

For the record, I'm not trying to excuse Mike Nifong here, I'm just pointing out that he might-maybe not be the Great Satan we all believe him to be. So send him to the gallows, if you must...but be damn sure not to do it with a smile on your face. 

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