Quoted in Best of the Web:
Last week we noted a bizarre op-ed piece from Kathy Rudy, a professor of
"women's studies" at Duke, who described herself as a supporter of
animal rights but proceeded to defend erstwhile NFL player Michael Vick's
involvement in illegal dogfighting on the ground that he is black.
readers wrote to ask us or to tell us that Rudy was one of the infamous
"Duke 88," a group of Duke faculty members who signed an ad that
listed quotes, purporting to come from Duke students, about the rape allegation
against lacrosse players, which turned out to be a hoax. The original ad seems
to have disappeared form the Web, but a copy is here.
more, according to this
page, Rudy was not among the 89 Duke faculty members (which included some
who had been among the 88 and some who hadn't) who signed a "clarifying statement"
which said the ad had not been intended to prejudge the rape case--not a
terribly believable assertion, but at least an implicit acknowledgment of
Johnson--co-author of "Until Proven Innocent," which is reviewed
today by Abigail
Thernstrom and is available from the OpinionJournal
bookstore--has more background on Rudy, a tenured associate professor:
first coming to
Rudy recalled that she "moved quickly into the lesbian community because
there was a growing sentiment in feminist discourse that lesbianism was the
most legitimate way to act out our politics." Within this
"progressive" neighborhood in west Durham, "Many of us thought
that by avoiding men and building a parallel, alternative culture, we were changing
the world . . . I managed to live most of my daily life avoiding men
all together, and spent most of my social time reading, dreaming, planning,
talking, and writing about the beauty of a world run only by women,
. . . free of [men's] patronizing dominance." Rudy and her
fellow radical feminists oriented their activities around "the ideas that
women were superior and that a new world could be built on that
problems soon emerged.
feminists were white and middle-class, but Rudy's social group had two
"Black women." The duo "began to use race as a category of
political analysis, when they declared that they--as Black lesbian women--were
more oppressed than the rest of us." The two women exposed an
uncomfortable truth: "If one identity-based oppression was bad, two or
three or more was worse."
action, Rudy reminisced, challenged the founding principle of radical lesbians
elsewhere: "That we--as women--were oppressed, so much so that
identification as the oppressor then seemed impossible. For us at that point,
the equation was simple; men dominated and oppressed women . . .
Complexifying this equation to include race meant identifying ourselves as
white oppressors; it meant, therefore that our politics were now less absolute,
we ourselves less pure." This development produced uncomfortable
questions, such as "Could we stand to see ourselves as oppressors and
still exist in such an ideologically pure community? Could we purge ourselves
of racism by loving Black women but not Black men?"
has the world's finest system of higher education. If that is true, there are
scores of other systems--perhaps as many as 200--that are worse than the
one that produced Kathy Rudy. This is going to give us nightmares for a long
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