Saunders

Child's race not the issue

Staff WriterJune 30, 2009 

It's the gays, no doubt about it.

No, wait. It's those darned communal-living enclaves.

Scratch that. It's Duke University and President Obama. That's who done it.

Predictably irrational responses from the usual Internet riffraff.

Those braying, brave bloggers -- brave, that is, as long as they're hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet -- would have us believe that those groups and others are responsible for the alleged sexual assault of a 5-year-old boy by the Duke University administrator who adopted him and is accused of trying to pimp him out so that others could abuse him.

Frank Lombard, associate director of Duke's Center for Health Policy, has been charged with the crime against nature, against decency, and most important, against a child. If guilty, he alone is responsible for what he did, unless it turns out that someone was derelict in approving his adoption request and overlooked red flags showing Lombard shouldn't be allowed within 72.5 miles of an unchaperoned child.

Unencumbered by either facts or sympathy, some mouth-breathers -- seemingly vying with Lombard in the degeneracy sweepstakes -- blame the news media for not focusing on the fact that the adopted child is black.

Doing so, in their diseased, hate-filled minds, might fracture some supposed media-backed political coalition between blacks and gays. (It's unlikely gays in California would agree that any such coalition exists, since some feel that blacks helped defeat the gay marriage bill there.)

But hey, what are facts when you've got a political agenda to push, stereotypes to reinforce?

For any normal person, could the allegations against Lombard be any more heinous regardless of the child's race?

One of our reporters on the story said it never entered his mind to mention the child's race. The story wasn't about race, he said, but about a child.

Paul Colford of The Associated Press in New York, responding to criticism I relayed to him that the news service omitted the child's race, said, "We've only had one story. ... Without reading anybody's mind, I can only speculate that the issue of the child's race could very easily have come down to privacy issues."

Neither of those explanations, although common-sensical, is likely to appease the black-helicopter crowd that sees a liberal conspiracy behind every event. A black caller posited the unprovable theory that Lombard adopted and abused a black child precisely because the child was black and thus, he knew, no one would care.

They all ought to be ashamed, but of course they won't be.

"Please, please, please," one person wrote on the N&O's Web site, let the accused administrator be a member of President Obama's inner circle.

Oy. On Sunday, my cousin told me of taking his 5-year-old daughter to one of those McDonald's Playlands filled with plastic balls of all colors. It was also filled, he said, with children of all colors and ethnicities.

He marveled that the race of their newfound playmates was the last thing on their minds.

It's unfortunate that by the time they're old enough to crawl behind a computer keyboard, race may be the only thing on their minds. That's especially true if their parents are the type who view the race -- no, make that the withholding of the race -- of a 5-year-old possible rape victim as more important than the crime itself.

barry.saunders@newsobserver.com or 919-836-2811

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