Monday, February 25, 2002

From the USS Clueless:
Man Tried in Brother's Rape Case

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The Associated Press
Sunday, February 24, 2002; 7:28 PM

HOUMA, La. –– A man was expected to stand trial Monday for a rape his brother was wrongly convicted of committing 19 years ago.

DNA testing that cleared Clyde Charles also showed that there was a one-in-71,400 chance that his brother Marlo Charles was the rapist.

To summarize the case for when the AP link is gone: Clyde Charles was convicted of rape in 1981, then cleared of rape by DNA technology. In the course of clearing him, the district attorney apparently found that Clyde’s brother, Marlo, had a 1/71,400 chance of being the rapist. This is AFTER the rape victim had (wrongly) identified Clyde as being the rapist. So, the victim did NOT identify Marlo as the rapist, and DNA happens to indicate that there is a 1/71,400 chance that Marlo committed the rape. Based on this, the DA decided to charge Marlo with rape.

DenBeste is spot-on in his analysis of the racial motivation behind this insane prosecution. I've lived in New Orleans for about one and a half years, and I have good friends there. There is no doubt in my mind: racism in Louisiana is out of control. It's not just that the whites hate the blacks, the blacks hate the whites, and everyone hates the Vietnamese. (in case you didn't know, there's a large contingent of Vietnamese ex-refugees who have settled down on the Gulf of Mexico). It's that so many people allow their hatred of the other groups to obliterate whatever good sense they have when it comes down to evaluating individual members of each group.

New Orleans itself is one of the most integrated cities in the US. There are practically no geographical divisions between the races and socioeconomic groups. When I lived there, I lived across the street from the CEO of one of the largest banks in the state, kitty-corner from a local crack house, and two blocks from a small island of slums. Even so, the races and socioeconomic groups don’t mix. I would bet everything I owned that the banker never went to the crack house, and that the slumdwellers never hung out in the banker’s house, even though they could look into each other’s windows. (the banker had a 12-foot high wall around his place, but you could see into his house from any two-story building around the wall).

By contrast, Chicago, IL is the least integrated city I’ve ever lived in. And it’s just about as racist.

I currently live near Los Angeles, which more integrated than Chicago, but less so than New Orleans. LA hosted the Rodney King riots of 1992.

So what’s the message here? Living in or near the riparian valleys of the heartland makes you racist? Having the races segregated is the best solution? Integration really helps? I don’t know. All I know is that racism is real, and that it interferes with intelligent assessment of each individual. Maybe pointing it out (in case it wasn’t clear what I was doing) will help encourage people to think of each other as individuals when appropriate.

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