Accusations That Really Destroyed Lives

Oct 10, 2018

Several times during Bret Kavanaugh’s path to the Supreme Court, President Trump, Judge Kavanaugh, and others lamented how expressing allegations of sexual misconduct was “tearing down a good man,” a “hit job.” Mr. Trump declared “a man’s life is in tatters,” even though Kavanaugh’s approval was all but sealed.

Well, Mr. Trump, Mr. Kavanaugh, welcome to the wonderful world of being Black in America. Cases in point of a long history: In addition to hundreds of lynchings, in 1913 the Scottsboro Boys were falsely accused and convicted of rape. In 1955 Emmitt Till was killed for whistling at a White woman. Decades later the accuser admitted the story was fabricated.

A 2017 report by the Death Penalty Information Center found African Americans are seven times more likely to be falsely convicted. 85% of all successful exoneration cases over the last 10 years involved a Black defendant and most took over two decades to be overturned. Furthermore, since 90% of all criminal cases are plea bargained, it is challenging to know who of the convicted actually committed their alleged crimes.

And, in 2002, the rape convictions of the Central Park Five were vacated when another man admitted to the 1989 rape, supported by DNA evidence. To this day, Mr. Trump has refused to retract his disparaging public statements against the boys.

When we talk about false accusations and whose lives are being ruined, we need to temper such fever-pitched claims. Maybe if Mr. Trump acknowledged his own proven false allegations, he could carry water on the subject. Until then, these comments simply further confuse the nature of privilege and whose lives are in fact ruined. After all, Judge Kavanaugh became Justice Kavanaugh.

I am Joseph Flynn, and that is my perspective.