13 April 2006
Burden of Proof...
This is not about Enron, but it could be. Enron is a member of a select club. As a VLC (very large corporation) it is a member of the guilty class.
Are you a member of a guilty class? You are if you are a white male in the United States. The recent events at Duke University revolving around their lacrosse team and allegations of rape underscore some of the perils of being a member of the guilty class. Members of the guilty class have earned their status by being part of a group who, typically in the past, represent normative behaviors which are now considered immoral, incorrect or inconvenient.
The law recognizes the guilty class and seeks to protect the innocent classes. Parents are a member of the guilty class when it comes to children in matters of abuse, neglect and other pertinent matters. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The law does itself no favors to ignore a group which may have no means to protect or represent itself.
In the case at Duke, young, white males (behaving questionably) have run afoul of a member of the innocent class. In this case, the member of the innocent class is a woman. And rightly so, women are predominantly the victims of sexual assault and have been ill served in the past by a previously lopsided legal system. Now, however, the system has been corrected to the point that the potential accused is forced to start from a position of guilt and move to either being “really” guilty or simply “not quite guilty, but forever marked”.
Sexual assault and predation is real. It is shameful and we men do bear a burden to ensure that it never occurs (no is the simplest and most common word in any language). However, we are perpetually at risk for accusations and unfair characterizations by a society which has become dominated by the innocent classes, it is the guilty (or mostly guilty) who must tread with care. These guilty classes fall amongst theology (Islam and Christianity both suspects), ideology (most of the media view of conservatives and most conservatives view of liberals), nationality (poor UAE…), gender (obviously) and the list goes on as infinitum.
What is tragic is that our view of each class so clouds almost any discussion that rarely are facts allowed to surface to refine our opinions. Those with a lower level of scruples exploit this to their own advantage and both sides detriment (think Jesse Jackson or Jerry Lewis of California – not the comedian, the congressman [but are they the same?]).
After all, we are all guilty, only some are more guilty than others.