October 17, 2002


WHEN IDENTITY POLITICS COLLIDE!: A Village Voice classic this week- fascinating yet infuriating at the same time. The weekly's latest piece of unintentional comedy (probably the best since the famous "'A.I.'-is-really-about-lesbianism" article) is by Rivka Gewirtz Little and concerns the case of the Central Park Jogger, the woman who was raped in Central Park by several young black men in 1989, and later testified in the trial of the four accused perpetrators, all of whom were convicted. More recently, however, new DNA evidence and confessions by others have cast doubt on those convictions.
Little's piece takes feminists to task for "backing the wrong horse" in the original trial, by choosing their feminist principles over racial consciousness, as it was apparently unprogressive of them to take the side of the white woman in her accusations against black men, and unfair for them to see that taking the defendents' cause would've been an ideal "leftist cause." The author takes it more or less for granted that any viewpoint that anyone takes about facts (say, whether or not someone is guilty of a crime) should be based entirely on identity politics, and nothing else. A similar political correctness Catch-22 occurred, of course, in the O.J. Simpson trial, when many blacks of course rallied to Simpson's side, but not so many feminists, seeing as how he beat (and killed) a woman. Allegedly.
Shouldn't the most important thing in a legal proceeding be the truth, as opposed to flogging of political agendas? That is, if a rape or murder takes place, shouldn't everybody on all sides be in favor of finding the right perpetrators and bringing them to justice? In the heirarchy of tragedies in the Central Park Jogger case (from the rape itself to the false imprisonment for a decade of four apparently innocent men) I'd say the fact that the feminists took the wrong side ranks pretty low on the list.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 17, 2002 12:42 AM
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