Emily Yoffe On Campus Rape: “You Type In The Name And It’s A Black Guy, It’s A Black Guy, It’s A Black Guy.”
Emily Yoffe has been writing about the false accusations of rape on campus, and in an interview with Robby Soave of Reason Magazine brings up the issue of “disparate impact” (boldface is Soave, non-bold is Yoffe, and boldface italics is emphasis added)
The third part of your series focuses on the fact that we don’t know what the exact numbers are, but it certainly seems like there’s a disproportionate number of students of color and immigrant men who are being accused of these issues.
No one’s talking about race, but in the cases where the name comes out, you type in the name and it‘s a black guy, it’s a black guy, it’s a black guy. The way you get hard numbers is the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights demands that institutions of higher education report the race of students being punished, the way they do in the K–12 realm. But they don’t. I think they don’t want to know.
Let me put one little caveat on that. There’s a danger. When you say we’re going to collect information that could change behavior, it’s not a neutral thing. So are schools going to say, “We’ve got to make sure we’re accusing more white guys, because we could get in trouble otherwise”? That’s not the outcome you’re looking for.
But I talk about Colgate University, which was one of the few places you could actually get numbers because there was a race discrimination complaint brought. Colgate has about 4 percent black student enrollment, which means 2 percent black male. That year, 50 percent of the accused were black. And I had another example where the numbers were almost precisely the same at a large state school—about 2 percent black male enrollment, and the semester I was looking at, at least 50 percent of the accused were black.
In any other context, you would have people on the left saying this is a fundamental civil rights problem. We have this long history of good liberal jurisprudence fighting against the trope that aggressive black men are raping women because they can’t help themselves.
That is one of the ugliest parts of American history. The majority of lynchings—Emmett Till—were because of accusations that a black man did something, whistled, walked, touched a white woman.
And obviously the situation on campus is not remotely the same as being lynched, but the people who are put through these accusations unjustly are losing thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Their job prospects drop substantially.
In the state school case I’m talking about, kind of miraculously, a very good lawyer came in at an extremely reduced rate and represented the kids who had initially been found responsible [for sexual misconduct] and got that reversed. I talked to the mother of one of the young men, and it was such a wrenching interview. She said, “I really feel I failed my son. He grew up in a mostly white community, his high school girlfriend was white, his best friends were white, and I just felt he was operating in this world, and I didn’t teach him about racism.” After his adjudication she said, “This was the most racist experience I’ve ever had in my life.” Everyone adjudicating was white. She said, “I was shaken to my core.”
Former Slate advice columnist and Atlantic essayist Emily Yoffe takes on the campus rape crisis.
Robby Soave, Reason, December 2017
There are a number of things wrong about this. For example, Emmett Till wasn’t lynched, he was murdered by two men–the husband and brother of the woman he “whistled” at. (See Wolf Whistle by William Bradford Huie for details.) Lynchings were carefully studied by the Tuskegee Institute and the figures are online. The largest number of actual lynchings between 1898 and 1968 were for murder, rape and felonious assault. Less than 2 percent were for what the Tuskegee Institute called “insult to a white person”, and 6 percent for attempted rape. (Also, more than a quarter of all lynching victims were white.)
I mention all this, because it shows that when she gets away from the hard facts of campus rape and false accusations, Ms. Yoffe is just as vulnerable to believing what she sees on Lifetime TV as anyone.
I don’t know that these modern campus rape accusations against black are actually disproportionate to the black crime rate. What I do know, and Ms. Yoffe may not know, is that in many cases of publicly reported crime, no one is talking about race, but you type in the name and “it’s a black guy, it’s a black guy, it’s a black guy. ”