As a white member of the Durham community, I have to comment on the issue of white privilege brought to light by the Duke lacrosse rape situation. The cries of, "reverse racism" and "lynch-mob mentality" by so many white folks, actually speak less to any perceived unfair treatment, and reveal more about the white folks making these allegations. We, as white people, need to stop and think, Why are we responding this way?
Upon closer examination, we can see that, as the privilege and racism of the team gets confronted by protestors and community members, our own privilege and racism is being exposed. And it's making us incredibly uncomfortable. So what do we do? We lash out. We try to think up all the instances in which some athlete of color raped somebody and didn't get the heat the Duke lacrosse team has gotten. This impassioned response reveals just how unwilling we are to acknowledge the existence of racism and our own unearned, white privilege.
Instead of getting defensive and hollering "reverse racism," we should be taking this opportunity to look closely at our own privilege. If it makes us uncomfortable, good, it should. So let us take the next step and do something to change it.