One more story to file under: For real…?

As it appears, disgraced stripper/prostitute Crystal Mangum, the center of the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal is planning to write her memoirs. Sigh. Where should I start with this one?

For one, as critical as I am of spoiled rich kids who think they can get away with everything, I am even more critical of women who cry rape. They use the unimaginable as some sort of ploy to either garner attention, cover their tracks because of their own indiscretions, or to get even with somebody if they have been spited. What I hate worse is that we can’t touch them when they make such claims. What I hate MOST OF ALL is that people who cry rape delegitimize cases involving people who actually are raped.

All that said, when it was revealed that Mangum made up the story of being raped and brutalized, my faced was egged for ever giving her the benefit of the doubt. The one time that I decided in my mind that the woman really was raped and that a group of privileged white kids tried to use their affluence to make this story go away, she made me eat my own words. And now she has the nerve to write a book about it?! Mind you, this book is about her “struggles” growing up (as if we all didn’t have our own). And she certainly is not personally beholden to me. I get that. But even in this one instance where I was willing to empathetically believe that the “victim” truly was a victim, there are many other activists and supporters who always see people like her as a victim first. They were the people most bruised by this slap in the face.

I hate to admit this – for fear of sounding crass and demented — but I was pretty disappointed to find out that her story of rape wasn’t true. Granted, I wouldn’t wish this on anybody but it would have provided another solid opportunity for this country to engage in critical dialogue about how race and social status play into the legal system. I mean, the last true case that opened Pandora’s Box of Race and Society was the OJ Simpson case; and -let’s face it- that brotha was actually guilty as all outdoors. This case could have truly validated claims of how sexism, racism, and classism are often wrapped into the notions of guilt and innocence in this country.

But, ooooh no. This so-and-so ruined those chances. And now she’s writing a book about it.

I don’t know what she’s looking to accomplish with this book. The publisher claims that it’s some sort of catharsis. Whatever. Frankly, I think she’s a fool for even deciding to move forward with this project. For that matter, Ed and Vincent Clark (the publisher and ‘co-writer’ respectively) are even bigger fools for not advising against this. I can’t see anybody being foolish enough to buy a book from a lying stripper who has no credibility (though Paris Hilton’s book managed to sell a few copies; if you can believe that mess). People no longer see her as a victim. If anything, they see her as an opportunist who did the unforgivable by playing on people’s emotions using something as horrible as rape and then righting a book that includes the story.

On top of all that, I’m left to question their lack of common sense here. Unless this book is strictly used as some kind of redemption, the families of the Duke players will feast on her in court if this book has any hint of slander against their children. We’ve seen what can happen when a group of affluent families decide to flex their legal muscles. While she’s saying she’ll donate one dollar for every book sold, I suspect that the remainder of her book sales are going into paying for the team of defense lawyers she’ll need.

But if it is true that this book is merely her way of purging herself, all power to her. I hope she releases the book, takes care of her children with her earnings, and disappears from the public light forever. We don’t need any more black women setting the entire race back just for their own personal gain. We have enough of that already.

– ACL

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