I’m about to shut up, but before I do, I need to tell you to shut up. So, shut up! I mean you, you white Jordan High School lacrosse players. (But I don’t just mean you; I really mean all privileged, young, white males.) Shut up and listen. I’ve had enough of your ignorant “She was a stripper, what did she expect?” remarks. I’ve had enough of your defense of a culture of crime, drug use and machismo. And if you think that misogynistic e-mail exonerates anyone (as I recall some of you saying), then you obviously know nothing about rape.
So shut up and listen to the women around you. Hear what they say about how they feel, and what they think. After all, your dignity as a male has not been assaulted with an accusation against your fellow lacrosse players. The sanctity of your body and will has not been attacked (as all women’s has when one woman is raped). So why are you so defensive? Why won’t you just admit that there is something wrong when so many people on the Duke lacrosse team have criminal records? Why won’t you just admit there is something wrong with assaulting someone when he tells you to stop calling him gay? Why won’t you just admit there is something wrong with screaming racist remarks at someone? Why won’t you just recognize that misogyny, racism, homophobia and all other forms of hatred are a part of a continuum of ignorance?
I’m going to shut up and listen. But not to you privileged, white, Jordan lacrosse players. I’m going to listen to women, to black women, white women, Asian women, all women. It’s their turn to talk. It’s our time, our job, our duty as men to shut up and listen. It’s not just that I want to quit hearing your regurgitated blabber about Nifong’s reelection scheme, or how “no DNA means no rape” (though I would love to quit hearing that). I want you to listen to the sisters in your classes, in your neighborhoods and in front of that now-infamous house on Buchanan Boulevard. I want you to shut up, because you can’t hear when you’re talking so loud. But don’t feel bad or insulted, because I’m going to shut up, too. This is one of those chances for us to learn by listening and to grow by being taught by those who have the most right to talk about something like rape: women. So we can be quiet and learn together.
Here it goes. Time for me to shut up. Time for us to listen.