Former Cleveland Police Department Sgt. Chad Langdon, who was the lead investigator on the case, also testified that an 11-year-old - due to her emotional immaturity - legally cannot give consent for a sexual encounter. Taylor questioned why the underage girl had not been charged with anything for choosing to violate that rule, indicating that she was "the reason" that the encounters happened.The news media moves from one story to the next with a great deal of speed. There are examples of forced memes--such as Fox News' fixation on the Benghazi non-story--that circulate and hang around for weeks or months (what is an eternity in the era of 24 hour news coverage). But, most stories do no linger for more than a few days.
"Like the spider and the fly. Wasn't she saying, 'Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?' " Taylor asked.
"I wouldn't call her a spider," Langdon replied. "I'd say she was just an 11-year-old girl."
"I hope nothing like this ever happens to your two teenage sons," Taylor snapped back.
Warren asked Langdon what he would do if his own sons had been involved in such a case. "I would not whitewash it or sweep it under the rug," the detective said.
Cruse is the second of 20 male defendants to be tried for allegedly sexually assaulting the girl over the course of four months in 2010 in Cleveland.
The public watches the car accident news pileup in an act of forced spectatorship; they tire of it; the 24 hours news cycle force then feeds the public another issue which they eagerly consume. In all, there is no connection between the importance of a news item and the amount of time the mass media spends on it. Ephemeral nonsense can linger about for days or weeks, while substantial issues which impact our collective life chances disappear almost immediately.
Two years ago an eleven year old girl was gang raped in Texas by a pack of 20 man beasts over the course of several months. These cretins then recorded this evil and shared it with like-minded highwaymen in their local high school. At the time, the story was a blip on the national radar. It was discussed in the alternative press and online. However, the mainstream news media paid little attention to this heinous crime.
The trial has finally begun in earnest. One would think that such a moment would be the subject of a prime time news special and that a media circus would ensue. Alternatively, that coverage of the event would be replayed over and over again on the 24 hours news channels, their executives and on-air personalities long trained in the habit of combusting in orgiastic delight whenever a young white woman goes missing or a white child is put at risk.
Ratings are king; the genre of news reporting known as "missing white woman syndrome" is money in the bank for advertisers and TV networks.
In the news business there is a truism and slogan that guides programming: "if it bleeds it leads." Apparently, this is true unless the story is about a young brown child who has been subject to wanton violence.
America is a rape culture. Women are objectified and sexualized at an early age in this society. The male gaze is real, and used by the market and its dream merchants to drive the engine of a consumer democracy. Because the United States, and the West, more broadly, are societies structured in various inequalities of gender, race, and class, rape culture is deeply, if not inseparably, entangled with the color line. Here, to be female is also to inhabit a particular type of racialized and gendered body.
This tragic case of a young girl who was gang raped by twenty black men also brings to mind another stereotype, one that has a great deal of purchase and power in the American political and cultural subconscious. These thugs are the living embodiment of the black beast rapist, the myth who justified the strange human fruit of the lynching tree, the thousands of black humanity killed by murderous white mobs, for more than 100 years in the South and elsewhere.
But here is the corrective. These accused rapists are real; they are not fictional black bogeyman. They are not black beast rapists, where in its original invention, "blackness" was conflated naturally with "beast" and "rapist" in the White Racial Imagination. In their evil, the child rapists in Texas are simply monstrous beasts, cut throat highwaymen brigands. Such a distinction is critically important.
Regina, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt with a gold cross around her neck, smiled nervously and softly answered questions about several sexual encounters that occurred over a five-month period in 2010. But her demeanor changed, a tear sliding down one cheek, when the prosecutor showed a graphic video of her.Thus I must ask the following. Where is the moral panic for this young child? Where are the pundit class feminists? Where are the protesters? And why is the national news media not fixated on this story?
That was one of the cellphone videos of the alleged assaults that went viral around the Cleveland School District that triggered the investigation. In it, a young man appears to be having anal sex with her.
She identified McGowen as the voice laughing in the background, shouting "beat that ho!"
Regina, now 13, often had difficulty remembering names and how all the assaults occurred, but she did recall having oral sex with McGowen and identified him as the one in another video sexually assaulting her with a beer bottle.
I am possessed by a painful and worrisome truth. If this young girl were white, and her attackers were also of the same race, this would be an epic news happening that would generate "a national conversation" about violence against young girls. If this child was white, and her twenty attackers were African-American or Hispanic, there would be a national panic.
But there is silence when twenty young black men rape an 11 year old Hispanic girl and the defense attorney tries to suggest that she is a seductress.
Irony of ironies. America is so grotesquely post-racial, is it not?
The collective silence about the gang rape of an 11 year old girl is not a case where sexism and misogyny trumps racism. A simple formulation would be erroneous. In this tragic example, racism and sexism are enabling each other as the lives of young black and brown girls would appear to be pretty damn cheap.