Brother to Brother: An Open Letter to Nate Parker

nate

Dear Brother Nate:

I write to you as my brother because I cannot think of anything else to call you but my brother. When I learned about how you and your friend were tried for raping an intoxicated fellow student at Pennsylvania State University in 1999, the anger, embarrassment, and shame I felt were feelings I would feel for a family member.

We were both nurtured in the ideological womb of the Black male radical tradition that famously birthed the revolting spirit of Nat Turner in 1831, as you chronicle in “The Birth of a Nation.” Although I am quite furious with you right now, I cannot help but see you as my brother.

I have felt these feelings many times during my scholarly gazes into the past at Black male radicals who were as powerfully sexist as they were antiracist—men who felt as threatened by feminism as they were by racism; men who reinforced rape culture as tightly as they reinforced an antiracist (patriarchal) culture.

But I always wished these brothers were not stuck in the graveyard of history. I always wished they were alive—and to truly be alive is to have the ability to change. Of course, some of us are “walking dead,” refusing to self-critique and refusing to change. But at least those who are alive have the possibility to change, to forge a splendid feminist ending after beginning in the wretchedness of patriarchy.

On your recent Facebook post, you admitted that you “still have more learning and growth to do.” That is why I feel hopeful in the midst of my fury. This is an open letter expressing my hopes for you—my hope of what is to come from you—and of you.

In your Facebook post, you finally expressed in public “empathy for the young woman and empathy for the seriousness of the situation I put myself and others in.” But showing empathy is only a start.

I am writing this letter to tell you that in the end you must stop declaring your innocence. That was the problem seventeen years ago. That remains the problem today.

Perhaps you don’t think you raped her. But, actually, you did rape her. And you utilized—and took advantage of—the most popular rape drug on the market: alcohol.

You and I were in college around the same time at the turn of the century. But I acted by a different sexual code of conduct than you did. I refused to engage in sexual intercourse with a woman who was intoxicated or otherwise under the influence. And Nate, having sex one time with the woman the night before, would not have changed that.

In college, I hated those men who sexually preyed on intoxicated women. I despised those men who sexually took advantage of women under the influence. Subconsciously, I viewed both as rape then, and I consciously view both as rape now.

When alcohol is present in sexual decision-making, it is oftentimes impossible to tell whether that woman (or man) is truly giving consent or whether the alcohol is giving the consent.

Nate, I will take you at your word that the three of you engaged in “consensual” sex. But, the question you should be asking yourself is simple: Did the woman give her consent to engaging in intercourse with you and your friend—or did the alcohol give the consent? If the alcohol gave the consent, then you are not innocent of rape. If you don’t know whether the woman or the alcohol gave the consent, then you are not innocent of rape.

What I am ultimately trying to explain to you—brother to brother—is that rape culture actually extends far beyond these narrowed boundaries of hyper-aggressive acts of forcing yourself onto another person—narrowed boundaries that have exonerated so many rapists in the court of law and public opinion, leaving their traumatized or unaware victims feeling like the guilty parties. Rape culture extends to using chemical and social agents that manipulate people into engaging in “consensual” sexual activity that the next day they gloomily regret. In patriarchal societies like the United States, rape culture nearly eclipses sexual culture.

That may come as a surprise to you. But think about it this way: in racist societies like the United States, racist culture nearly eclipses racial culture. Just as American history is saturated with sexists denying the pervasiveness of rape culture and rapists declaring their innocence, American history is saturated with racists denying the pervasiveness of racist culture and racists declaring their innocence.

You sounded like an American racist when you told Variety magazine earlier this month, “Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life.”

You sounded just like those white police officers who keep talking about their own pain and innocence after they lethally assaulted a black man. And here I specify men for a reason. Black men should have received a crash course in rape culture over the last few years. Society blames us, our families blame us, our friends blame us, and we sometimes, if not most times, blame ourselves. Maybe I should have said or done this or that differently, and it would have saved me from the beating, from the gunshot, from the execution. And then all this self-blaming takes an emotional toll on us, and some of us consider—and act on—suicide. All because the police officers—and their racist backers—do not want to take the blame, and instead only want to declare their innocence. Some police shooters of Black people empathize, but hardly any stop declaring their innocence and hardly any stop blaming the dead victim.

No matter what they did, the male and female victims of police brutality are never to blame—just like the victims of rape are never to blame.

Nate, my brother, we need to revolt against rape culture with the same ferociousness that Nat Turner revolted against slavery. You are uniquely positioned to lead the way. But first you must slaughter your master that has enslaved you all these years: your declaration of innocence.


Ibram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, was recently released by Nation Books. Follow him on Twitter @DrIbram.

Copyright © AAIHS. May not be reprinted without permission.

Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation, 2016), won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a New York Times Best Seller. Follow him on Twitter @DrIbram.

Comments on “Brother to Brother: An Open Letter to Nate Parker

  • Wow! Bam! The truth slammed shut!

  • Sorry. I am not falling for it.

    If Nate was making another happy slave movie…no one would have brought this up.

    Rape is wrong.

    However, any time you want to silence or castrate a black man…holler rape.

    I was going…I’m still going.

    And I still don’t hate women

    • Have you read the transcripts for this specific case?

    • When you’re stupid enough to team up with your gang rape buddyy to make a movie, you can’t think that no ones going to ask about your incident from college. Jean Celestin is a co-writer for Birth of a Nation. You think any journalist of any merit was going to not ask about what they did?

    • “If Nate was making a happy slave movie…”

      Was Twelve Years a Slave a “happy slave movie”? Or did it depict the brutality and horrors of slavery? I ask because, would you look at that!, there was no past rape or sexual assault case that came out about Steve McQueen or Chiwitel Ejiofor during the publicity of the movie. Just as The Birth of a Nation has been considered an Oscar-worthy tour de force, Twelve Years a Slave was as well, and yet! no past cases of sexual violence against women surfaced against either men.

      Please be mindful of what you’re intimating–some sort of conspiracy theory that amounts to *they’re trying to keep a Black man down*. The information about Parker’s rape trial has been on his Wiki page well before these rounds of interviews and press junkets, and had been written about in local papers around the time of the trial. Yet that didn’t stop Fox Searchlight from inking a nearly $18M distribution deal. A White-owned corporation signed a deal with a Black man who was accused of rape (a Black man whose writing partner was actually convicted of the rape) to bring the movie he produced and directed to as many screens as possible, but your takeaway is that *they* (the Committee of They) don’t want the movie to be seen.

      Hmmmm.

      • Your logic and comparison of 12yrs to Nat Turner is deeply flawed and completely misses the significance of the movie, its subject, and the meaning it has for today’s community. That you actually used the term ‘conspiracy theory’ as relates to white society’s efforts to supress Black males and their works reveals a tragic naivety. The initial signing of a deal to release the movie has exactly nothing to do with potential efforts to sabotage it…again, revealing a lack of understanding.

        And the ‘commitee of they’ comment? If you don’t know who ‘they’ are and haven’t seen ‘them’ on global display for the past 50yrs…well you should probably be asking more questions and making fewer statements and suggestions.

        Hmmmm is absolutely correct.

      • The disrespect for “not guilty” verdict is troubling. Because it means that you must also hold the same views for “guilty” verdicts that come out of the same courts. How else can you explain a man spending 28-years in prison for rape based on a woman claiming that his face came to her in a dream? That case was mentioned in a blur and disappeared. There was no media onslaught. No one printed the name of the prosecutor who filed the charge. No one contacted the jury to asked how could they return a guilty verdict in such as case. I am getting tired of the cesspool of pathology and self righteous indignation that permeates cases like the Nate Parker case. Either we respect the system or we don’t. We can’t accept guilty verdicts, but excoriate not gulityones because that means we are lynch mobs. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3363227/New-trial-ordered-Denver-man-imprisoned-28-years.html

    • No, If Nate was making another happy slave movie he would STILL be a rapist who should be called out and not supported. Nice try but you can’t have it both ways – declaring that “rape is wrong” yet supporting the rapist. As a mother/sister/daughter/aunt I will not be supporting this movie or anything that he is involved in because rape is, indeed WRONG.

    • I am going as well because it is a true story that should be told. BUT while viewing, please keep in mind that the rape scene in the movie never happened. Why Nate Parker felt it necessary to add that into what was such a powerful story on it’s own is the biggest insult. That is what upset the family so much.

  • Hi Dr. Ibram I dont exactly follow your logic. You end your piece saying Parker should slaughter the “master of rape culture,” by NOT declaring his innocence. What do you mean by this? That he should say that his interactions with this Penn State student was not “consensual”? Do you expect him to pay the settlement to this student’s family a second time? If both he and a court of law clearly stated that what he did, not Celestin, is “consensual,” why place this unrealistic expectation for him to not declare his innocence?

    Should we completely deny that this interaction was consensual because he said he was sorry? Its easy to make parallels between white supremacists and committed rapists, but nowhere is there evidence that Parker is either. You and Roxane Gay made subjective judgments of his public responses to this 1999 case that have exaggerated him as a cold, calculated boogeyman without stating clearly a kind of response that meets your subjective standard of “being against rape culture.” Exactly what response from Parker would prove he is in your view against rape culture??? Unless you make this clear, your expectations of Nate Parker are unrealistic and youre simply blowing smoke.

    • Dr. Fraser,
      I believe you misinterpreted what Prof. Kendi said. Throughout the piece he told Nate to STOP claiming your innocence because he feels Nate is NOT innocent. He said “But first you must slaughter your master that has enslaved you all these years: your declaration of innocence.” Meaning the declaration of innocence is the master that has enslaved for so many years.

      • I understand the author’s thoughts on the culture of rape and the part alcohol plays. Like the author, I hated drunk women and would NEVER have considered sex with a drunk woman. However, if he was tried and found not guilty then he IS innocent. And he has not only the right to continue to declare his innocence, but he also has the AUTHORITY to do so. I find nothing wrong with him doing so. Why is this coming up now? Because he is making a name for himself. Whomever is pushing this is just trying to tarnish his name and work(s).
        This incident had its day in court almost 20yrs ago. There is NO need to re-open a case that has been prosecuted. The details were played out in front of a group of strangers and both sides had to sit and hear the truth, some of the truth, and out right lies. In the end a judge or jury having heard the evidence, came to a conclusion and gave a verdict. EVEN if he were guilty, the evidence put forth had him declared NOT GUILTY. And while that does not necessarily mean INNOCENT, it does mean that he does not have to be re-tried in court of public opinion.
        Let’s not forget, if the accuser is not bringing this up, then someone is making her and/or her family members relive this most hurtful time in her life all over again. The quest to damage him may just be causing alarm and fear and anger all over again.

      • Nate already had a name for himself. The fact that he added a rape scene that didn’t happen to an amazing true story is what made the sister of the alleged rape victim who committed suicide speak out.

    • Parker did not apologize.

  • thank you. from a woman who has been sexually assaulted more times than I have fingers. this may seem like it is coming only bc he is reaching his most success but that is bc no one would care about the story the 17 years before he became this successful. I am sad to learn another potentially great black male leader is just like many men, sexual predators who don’t know they are. to any man commenting on this subject- STOP. you have zero idea what it feels to be sexually attacked. It is clear he knows what he did was wrong.
    and thank you for your article and your courage to be honest.

    • Sister KBlack, I am sorry for your pain and multiple victimizations. No one should have to endure that. There are many men, however, who have or may comment on this thread who actually DO have a TOTAL understanding of what it feels like to be sexually attacked and share a similar history as you. That presumption that men are all predator and never prey is part of why rape culture persists. We mustn’t cherry pick which parts of whose pain we want to illuminate. We can’t illuminate the wrong of a situation while down playing and throwing shadow on the right of MILLIONS of men who DO know what it is to be raped to comment on this subject. If we’re being honest, that needed to be said. What Nate did was ignoble. But God & he know what happened in that room. He now has to deal with that on a public front for the rest of his life. Hopefully he will do something to heal himself and all of us that are now so very disappointed in him. This is a teachable moment that can bring us together if we handle it right. Please don’t presume to say who can and cannot speak on this. It’s gonna take all of us to fix the culture… Not just women.

      • U. PPL are apart of the apartheid and rape culture that has apprehended the brain of a nation and SOULs of black folks a la w.e.b. As if Woody Allen or Ben rothlisberger aren’t predatory at present!!! You uncle toms can’t even let the story be told to others less fortunate than you before trying to ruin the directors character. This story is bigger than YOUR 2 cents. Go find out how many girls woody Allen rape and Spielberg. Let the movie/story stand on its on! #NATE PARKER IS A HERO… and the American justice system is for locking black ppl up, so if was guilty I’m sure they would have convicted him!

      • Nate Parker is a lying rapist and should be in jail whether he is black, white, pink or blue. This has nothing to do with his stupid movie or the color of his skin. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that he is a scumbag and he raped a woman and Penn State, who is famous for covering up rape,did absolutely nothing to help this woman. Get over yourselves and pray that you or someone you love never gets raped.

      • Thank you

      • Okay, my thank you was not the last comment but for the response before

    • I agree with you.

    • SO you claim you have been sexually assaulted so you flat out say that means Nate like just about all men are rapist? You have no credibility & can not be taken seriously. I stopped reading right there & notice brothers how she put all black men into this category Do they not sound identical to white nationalist? Take notes brothers…

    • this is seriously wrong headed. I’ll be upfront: I have been raped by a woman. There was alcohol involved, and I most definitely said no, before I passed out. But I woke up inside somebody and scrambled out of that place as fast as I could. Did I press charges? No, for my own reasons. But I have told this story to people many times, mostly to women, and the first response is ALWAYS laughter. Rape culture exists, and the perpetrators may mostly be men, but let’s please not be delusional about the facts. I have no interest in demonizing anyone or any group of people, but if healing is going to happen, blunt honesty on this topic needs to happen first.

      • Rape is never a laughing matter no matter what the gender of the rapist is or that of the victim. The troglodytes who laughed at your pain are a big part of the rape culture because rape culture minimizes or denies the pain of all rape victims. That kind of response is one of the reasons that rape is so grossly underreported,not to mention an extremely low conviction rate for rapists. Given the kind of response you get, I can imagine that rape victims who are men are even more unlikely to report their assaults. It’s a dangerous myth that all men are rapists, but more often than not, rapists happen to be men. With that said, the author’s article is right on time. Nate Parker has yet to truly own up to the fact that he and his partner were victimizers, NOT victims. And being college-age at the time, he was more than old enough to know right from wrong. He even tried to induce yet another young man to take part in assaulting an intoxicated victim, but that young man refused, to his credit. Along with the transcripts, and this young man’s statement, denial of Nate Parker’s guilt is an act of self-deception. I would respect him if he admitted that, yes, he and his friend were wrong and he regrets having harmed someone who once trusted him. But having been acquitted in court does not make him “innocent.”

  • From the official court transcript, the victim admitted that she had multiple drinks at the bar purchased before Parker and crew arrived after midnight. She stated that while they were together she and Parker shared only one shot together at a friend’s house. In Parker and his roommate’s statement, they both say they didn’t see her drink the entire night. In any case, Parker didn’t get her drunk nor did he spend his time monitoring her alcohol consumption. He didn’t contribute to it. In her testimony she described waking on her own and looking around the the apt once she was inside. There’s nothing to lead me to believe that there was some intent around getting her drunk and taking advantage of it. Lets face it, it’s rally not hard to crucify a black man for raping a whites woman.

    • You are just ridiculous

  • I’m so tired of folks playing stupid.
    Whether they contributed to or monitored her alcohol consumption or not is irrelevant. Having sex with an person who is incapacitated by any substance is rape. Consent is not implied. No is implied. But that didn’t stop two obviously very intelligent people from taking advantage of this woman’s state. Nothing is unambiguously consensual about sex with an incapacitated person. Anyone who claims not to know that is willfully ignorant.

    Dr. Ibram is asking Parker to tell the truth. Period. Tell the damn truth. Stop hiding behind the same court of law that so many of us abhor for exonerating the likes of George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson, and others who refuse to tell the truth. Like them, just because you got away with it, it doesn’t make you innocent.

    I admire Parker’s work so very much, and I’m saddened and angry that he has done and is doing such a cowardly thing. There is no double jeopardy attached, and even if it were, the statute of limitations on rape has long expired. Even if you didn’t know it was wrong then, you know it now. Tell the truth.

    Whether Nate Parker, or any person, if you have sex with an inebriated person, whether you contributed to intoxication or not, you’re wrong. It is rape.

    • About the nicest thing that I can say about your post is that it was dumb.

      • And not wanting to be anywhere near as offensive as you and your post, the nicest thing I can say about you and your post is that both are rude and disrespectful.

      • Sylvia,
        Unfortunately, it’s par for the course. People tend to get offensive when the have no viable defense. No worries.

      • Your disagreement doesn’t make my post dumb, but thanks for trying. Maybe if you were genuinely interested in facilitating a useful dialogue rather than offering insults, we’d get somewhere.

      • What makes your post dumb is how you all overlook the fact that she was shown to be lying in court via her own words on the audio recording she tried to make claiming Nate raped her until it was her who admits she had sex willingly but would not have done it if she was not drunk. Her body her right HER RESPONSIBILITY!

      • my issue is simple. If you or I were innocent of ANY charge, would you, because I know without a doubt, that I would NEVER address charges that were found totally false! Everyone speaks of her as a victim, but here he is, INNOCENT OF ALL CHARGES and people are basically trying to FORCE him to feel something other than RAGE for someone who attempted to RUIN your life! THATS INSANE!!!!
        You are the same foolish people who claim the murdered are somehow responsible for their own deaths at the hands of police and LORD KNOWS if it wasn’t a white girl, this would not be news!

    • You know what, you are so on point.

      • A lot of people just don’t know what they don’t know, and others don’t want to know. Those I call just playing at stupid. Sometimes, denial makes it easier to cope, I guess. But whatever. I’m all for useful dialogue, but not for snark and insults, just because folks disagree.

      • no. this is wrong. you. were. not. there! What is this presumption of guilt? Have none of you ever met a freak? And I mean a real one? One who will call you a faggot if you refuse her advances? One who will DEMAND that you do this or that and if not will get real loud about your refusal to anyone who is within ear shot? This is all REMOTE judgement, about something that happened many years ago, to people who are not commenting on this thread. The amount of CERTAINTY of what happened between those people is amazing here. I’m not saying that women don’t go through situations like this all the time, and are the victims. But to pretend that all women everywhere are innocent lambs is delusional at best. If you’ve never been in this situation – good for you. But many of us have and can speak from experience that the victim/perpetrator line is not as bright and clear as you would wish.

  • Its so funny to me that people NOW think they know everything about this case when much of this case was made known during the time of the case and much of the details back then are somehow NOT surfacing now. There is so much wrong with this damn article that I cant point them all out because I stopped reading once I realized that the author, whoever the hell he is, thinks that he should admit to something that he feels that he did not do and a court of law agreed with him. Further, if the author of this article took his time to do DUE DILIGENCE in his research instead of what they are making available at this time, then he would know that the young lady also at one point admitted that she engaged in sex. Read the entire narrative, not the one that they are giving you. Why should he admit to something that he has been deemed innocent of, that he felt that he did not do and that the court of law felt that he should not do?

    Dear Author, WILL YOU NOW GO FIND THE OTHER PENN STATE ATHLETES THAT WERE ACCUSED OF RAPE DURING THE SAME TIME FRAME THAT WERE NEVER BROUGHT TO COURT BECAUSE IT WAS PUSHED UNDER THE CARPET AND IMPLORE THEM TO ADMIT TO RAPING THEIR ACCUSERS? I mean since you say do this because it is somehow the right thing to do…..WTF?

    To Regina….I also ask that you do your research as well. You obviously jumped on the bandwagon of this situation as most black women have now done without all of the facts. You read what they told you to read and what they allowed you to read and you made a conclusion. And please spare us all the ZIMMERMAN and WILSON defense. We know those people without a doubt committed murder. There is simply NO QUESTION there that they committed the atrocities that you TRIED to so eloquently point out. YOU FAILED MISERABLY in trying to connect the two. And, yes, this is coming from a black woman so dont make this racial. I am not some sympathizer because he has gained celebrity status. I am someone who lived in NY during that time and spent considerable time in PA during that time and was privy to a lot of details being left out of this case now that they are resurfacing it. Nothing that you are finding out now was hidden. If you really wanted to know, you would have known anything about this case back then. Actually, you would have known quite a bit more that what you are being allowed to be told now. Nate Parker never once admitted to rape and he should not do so NOW. He should admit to what most 18, 19, 20, 21 year olds across America should do- having done some dome stuff at that age. He was FOUL to invite someone to engage in sex with her….that much I can agree. But, to say that she didnt consent to sex with him because she was intoxicated and she cannot consent is a far stretch. Not a legal far stretch, but a far stretch. She admitted as much back then. What I personally want Nate Parker to do is to stop feeling that he owes ANY OF US an explanation except his family. Thats it. Thats all.

    • Oh, right. And she was totally into another guy she did not know having sex with her while she was passed out, and into Parker inviting a third guy in as she was passed out. All of which is described in thise court documents you know so much about. But you know secret things that shan’t be revealed, I guess. Well good for you.

      • Uh nope wrong she was not passed out. How do we know that? She flat out admits on a audio tape conversation presented in court & now online that she had sex willingly & contradicted herself. She said on tape “I WAS DRUNK IM SURE I DID THINGS, BUT I DONT REMEMBER, YOU KNOW WHAT IM SAYING? IM NOT GOING TO SAY IT WAS AGAINST MY WILL IM NOT GOING TO SAY THAT” this was after Nate reminds her she was giving oral sex so how could she be passed out? He got off because of this among other reasons. She also refused to testify after cashed that fat check from the University & other witnesses for the DA declined to testify as well. One of her own family members came forward & said the question this entire media witch hunt & its timing & they want no part in it. You just took her word for it eventhough her testimony contradicted her own words on a tape recording SHE MADE!

      • I’m floored that you or anyone could construe that statement as consent. No dialogue is possible if you can’t recognize a person’s humanity.

      • Are you serious?? So her saying that she knows she had sexual relations with him & that she is not saying anything that happened as being against her will not consent??? You are right no further discussion is needed because you are insane!

    • Jay,
      The nicest thing I can say about your comments and your choice to personally address me is thank you, for offering your opinion. Perhaps some dialogue about a very serious problem will be born of this. Or not. In any case, we clearly agree to disagree. However much you’d like it to be so, your disagreeing with the parallels I’ve drawn does not discredit them.

      I am speaking not from a bandwagon, but from the law. Whether you agree or not, incapacitated people cannot legally consent to sex. And whatever the reason you felt it necessary to offer your race gender has nothing to do with anything about which I’ve commented. Your choosing to suggest my comments, although well researched, dumb, is your right. And you’re quite welcome to it. That is all.

      • I applaud you Regina…well said, “incapacitated people cannot legally consent to sex” nor can they consent to anything else, like medical attention, etc. The young woman was violated…plain and simple. A truly sad situation all around. And this is not the first time Parker’s past has surfaced, like so many allude. It also came up back when he did The Great Debaters; however, back then he wasn’t plastered all over the media with a controversial project that broke records. But, that’s what comes with the territory. And my biggest concern is not that he hasn’t “genuinely” owned up to the horrific event. I believe he’s remorseful. People grow. People learn. People have regrets. My issue is that he decided to use such an eerily similar “note” or “beat” in his movie as the one he lived in real life back when he was 19. A beat that has no reference to Turner’s legacy; nowhere to be found in any of the history books. In my opinion, it was pure creative license and, frankly, a display of arrogance. Why? And why would you use the “same” friend whom you committed the crime with to pen this project…that’s some sick shit. Sorry. It is what it is.

        I just pray that his Karma doesn’t negatively affect his daughters…ever. I always caution men when I hear them talking about women in a derogatory way, even when the woman may deserve it. If you’re a father or you have sisters, a mother, or a female in your life you care about, keep your fat mouth shut! And don’t chime in. Instead, “check” that “friend” who’s going on and on about a woman. Be A Man!

      • It’s all very distressing. “The Great Debaters” is one of my favorite films. Great work also. And I thoroughly enjoyed “Beyond the Lights,” and some parts of “Red Tails.”

        The fact that the artist and the art are inextricably bound is undeniable for me. I’ve heard great things about “Birth of a Nation.” Surely, it is a formidable work, but I cannot pretend that I’m unaffected by the history of these two young men and this rape incident. Neither of whom, from what I’ve seen, has expressed genuine remorse, or will admit any wrongdoing. I don’t care how long ago it was. Wrong is wrong.

        This whole attitude that it was a “dark period” in his life which he refuses to readdress, is fine for him. Life goes on and that’s it. Such a dark period, yet you collaborate with this person some 17 years later. Maybe not so dark, seeing as how there were no consequences attached. Well, God bless them, and all who support him and his work from here on out, but it’s not that simple for me.

      • Oh by the way do you realize how silly you all sound demanding Nate show remorse for not admitting to a rape she herself admits did not happen on tape? I mean you all sound illogical & irrational for demanding her apologize to someone who tried to ruin his life! INCREDIBLE!

      • Yea regina the law also states that if you are openly on a recording you made admit the sex was consensual & you flat out admit what you did was in no way against your will claiming you just dont remember is not rape. You forgot that inconvenient little detail in that self righteous rant with no facts!

      • Coptic777,
        I believe that your comments resemble rants more than mine. While we are both obviously passionate in our points, only you are typing in all caps, using poorly constructed sentences, and ending with exclamation points.

        As for the transcripts, you are clearly exerpting “details” which support your opinion. And that’s fine.

        Everything I’ve shared about the law is factual. It may seem inconvenient detail to some, but if one has to be reminded of something, then that suggests the reminder knows that the person doesn’t remember. Further, nowhere does the transcript say that she admitted that all of the incidents on that night were consensual. She did say that she didn’t remember of them. Quite convenient that her accused rapist was able to remind her, though, of that consent that she doesn’t remember giving.

        In any case, it matters nothing to me that you choose not to take my words seriously. I doubt that you even bothered to read them. Perhaps someone who actually reads my comments will take time to consider perspective before condemning it.

      • No the audio recording does not support any opinion. She is clearly on tape saying nothing that happened was against her will. This is the main reason why he got off. She also said that would not have done if she was drunk, she also claimed in court that she did not consent to anything yet on tape she is saying she did. That’s a problem but you & people like you actually think these inconvenient details should be ignored & even if you have a audio recording of a woman admitting it was consensual men should be convicted anyways. SHE FLAT OUT SAID “IM NOT GOING TO SAY IT WAS AGAINST MY, NO IM NOT GOING TO SAY”. You saying its not true does not negate that fact. Its online direct from the court records. Wow just wow…

      • Thank you.

      • Just to be clear @Regina, THANK YOU.

      • Regina,
        I also want to say thank you. I can’t begin to dialogue with those in denial who can’t read the court transcripts objectively. Thank you for contributing informatively and eloquently.

  • How often does a black man with no money or fame (and even then) ever go to trial for raping a white woman and not end up in prison? Ever? Maybe you can name the exception, I can’t .

    The end result for all this and the controversy didn’t appear until JUST before it was released. Not when it was at Sundance, not immediately after. It was public record.

    Third eye folks…use your third eye. White supremacy playing chess to your checkers.

    • Mackindal,
      Not disagreeing that the timing of the resurfacing of this incident and the case is obviously calculated by those with nefarious intent to sabotage this film effort. I agree that it is clearly a red herring, which has proven an awful distraction for many from what I’ve heard is a great piece of work. Great would not surprise me, since I’ve long been an admirer of Parker’s work.

      I’m also still certain that justice was not served, if in fact, as information available has suggested, this woman was heavily intoxicated and too incompacitated to give consent at the time when these two men had sex with her.

      If this is true, then these are another two rapes for which there has been/is no accountability.

      • Nope wrong! She flat out admits the sex was consensual on a audio tape she recorded! The transcript is online for all to see. Somehow women think they can call rape after they have druken sex. She also flat out said she would not have done what she did if she was not drunk. Its not working ladies. He is accountable but she is not when she is drunk giving two men oral sex & recalls everything else but when she the train ran on her? Take notes brothers. Most women like Regina here are women first black second & can not be taken seriously. Like children the want you to be accountable for their actions…

    • It did come up earlier…when he did The Great Debaters. Fortunately (or unfortunately), that project didn’t break records or put him in front of the world as an example.

    • Lol

    • If you think no black man has ever gotten away with raping a white woman, then you need to read Eldridge Cleaver’s autobiography. In it, he admits to having started out raping black women and then going on to raping white women as well. He got away with it for a very long time before going to prison. He was released after about 8 years and went on to become a Black Panther. Later in his life, he became a rightwing nutjob and he obviously lived to become an old man.

  • Stupid article that neglects to mention the fact that Nate got off primarily due to the audio recording that was released that showed the “victim” admits the sex was consensual in her own words. In the tape recording she says “I WAS DRUNK IM SURE I DID THINGS, BUT I DONT REMEMBER, YOU KNOW WHAT IM SAYING? IM NOT GOING TO SAY IT WAS AGAINST MY WILL IM NOT GOING TO SAY THAT” This is after Nate reminds her that she was into it & was giving them oral sex etc. Somehow she recalled everything else except the sex part. Her excuse was “I WOULD NOT HAVE DONE THAT IF I WERE NOT DRUNK”. By the way you also neglect to mention that she refused to testify in the second trail against his friend after he won on appeal right after she cashed that fat check she got from the University AND one of her family members came forward saying they question this entire media frenzy & that they wanted no part of it! The official court transcript is online. She admits it was consensual thus he got off CASE CLOSED! You have no credibility with this article “brother”…

  • Title IX is pretty clear on what consent is and what it isn’t. The conversation around how use of any substance including alcohol (voluntary or involuntary) can negate consent is happening on campuses around the country. https://titleix.unca.edu/consent

  • Excellent article. In the comments section the. Level of vitriol, the insults to a woman for expressing an opinion, the name calling and attempts to demean anyone who does not agree are unwittingly giving us a glimpse into the harassment this young woman experienced which forced her from the school Now imagine what that would be like to n real time from people who know where to find you.

    • the name calling and cherry picking are going in both directions by my read. There is an agenda at work in both the main article and in the comments supporting it. It’s funny that some of those in support of this article like Regina constantly reference the law, when in fact, the law cleared Parker. Regardless, none of us was there, and this whole push to get a man to admit to something he has consistently denied, and who even the “victim” denied with her own words, is disgusting. There are real, serial monsters in the world. Go find better targets.

  • It wasn’t just a night of heavy drinking that got out of hand. It was Nate Parker inviting his friends to share a basically unconscious woman’s body. They said she was awake and she said she wasn’t. The taped phone call where he tries to convince her he’s the only one in the room leads me to suspect she was unconscious. But no matter how that night went down, he and Celestin then spent months harassing her. Then Celestin helped him pen Birth of A Nation. Then they put in a non historically accurate gang rape scene of an innocent married woman. Was this to juxtapose what a true victim of gang rape looks like, and not the drunk girl they had their way with? I recognize the history of slave owners raping their slaves, so the scene works from that point of view. But with both men’s experience of gang rape, I have to wonder if they were sending a covert message that this is how they viewed rape.

    This wan’t one night of drinking. This was months of hurtful behavior. This was a thousand moments of bad decisions. This was Celestin being convicted and arguing he had a bad attorney. The case was never retried. He was never exonerated. She even attempted suicide twice during the period of harassment and Nate Parker and Celestin did not stop. The fact that Parker thought he could be a figure head in a social justice movement with a history of such incredible and repeated choices to perpetuate injustice speaks to the culture of toxic masculinity that is rampant in so many male dominated social justice movements. I applaud the author of this article. I know it took courage to write it and I like how he never abandoned Nate Parker, the human being. I love the Black Lives Matter movement. I love that in 2016 America is (or was) ready to embrace this movie. But it’s time that conversations of racism include conversations of misogyny. You can’t prioritize one over the other. Because if you do, the net result is BOAN.

    • Unfortunately, the comment sections of these articles reveals the pervasive misogynistic culture living and thriving today. Let’s teach our daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins how to protect themselves. These attitudes make me fearful for vulnerable females who don’t recognize the danger.

    • The denial and self-deception on the part of those who wish to minimize or deny Nate Parker’s painfully obvious culpability are dangerous. The fact that he and his friend harassed this young woman on top of violating her makes their overall conduct even more egregious. I applaud the author, who I feel expressed exactly the right amount of love for a fellow black man while holding him accountable for what he did and demanding that he finally accept responsibility for his actions back then and stop pretending he is “innocent.” He was acquitted because there are folks who have this dumb and backward view that consent one time equals consent all the time. Then there are those who have no sympathy for women who get raped because they are intoxicated beyond the point of ability to give unambiguous consent. That attitude has undoubtedly played a part in getting rapists acquitted in courts, and it stems directly from the warped view that rape victims have to be “perfect.” Nate Parker has daughters of his own, and I can only imagine what a scorching reality check he would receive if anyone did to one of them what he did to someone else’s daughter.

  • I could not even read this letter in its entirety. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a display of saintimonious furor. Just like an academic to toot your own horn, an attempt to mascerade this peice of garbage as activitism. However, I see it for what it is – self promotion.

  • 1. Nate Parker is innocent because he was found not guilty. So calling him a rapist or saying that is actions constituted rape is incorrect. No was there insufficient evidence to convict him. In fact NP made an affirmative defense that the sexual act was consensual and the 12 panel jury consisting of 11 white ppl and one black person agreed with him based on the evidence presented.

    2. The transcripts released shows that the accuser admits to having sex with people when she gets drunk.

    Also the transcripts shows that during a prior sexual encounter, the accuser did not want to have intercourse w/ NP and he complied with her request. Instead of having intercourse with NP, she performed oral on him. This shows that NP understood consent.

    3. The accuser lied about being pregnant to get Nate Parker to confess that he sexually assaulted her. NP testimony was consistent throughout the trial.

    4. The accuser recorded conversations between herself and Nate Parker illegally hoping to get NP to confess.

    5. The partial transcript floating around was obtained via cooperation of the police and the accuser. That’s why it was permissible to introduce into evidence.

    6. There was a stringent order of protection issued against NP & Celestine which subjected them to immediate arrest if they came around or about the accuser. So the accuser’s accusation of harassment by the two is w/o merit.

    7. Investigators threatened witness with imprisonment if they did not give statements that they desired. This includes the prosecution’s star witness Kangas who became a lieutenant at the time of the trial.

    8. Celestine prior conviction was overturned by ineffective counsel. The court ruled that previous testimony couldn’t be used at the second trial. Although the accuser was determined to testify again, the prosecution didn’t want to go through the trouble of retrying the case. One reason was that their witnesses from the previous trial were scattered across the world. That’s why Celestine was let go.

    9. NP was acquitted by a 12 panel jury 11 white 1 black in the most conservative jurisdictions in PA. Plus throughout the hearing and investigation the racial undertones were very apparent.

  • WOW!!!

    THANK YOU FOR PENNING THIS PERFECT LETTER!!!!

    TEACH BRAZEN CALLOUS RABID CAMPUS JOCK RAPIST NATE PARKER!!!!!

    EACH TIME NP “ADDRESSES” HIS RAPE, IT FEELS LIKE HE IS RAPING HIS DEAD VICTIM ANEW.

    SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://rebeleden.tumblr.com/

  • Being found not guilty in court does NOT equal innocence. While he and his friend can’t be retried due to the rule about double jeopardy, his referring to himself as a victim of events that HE made a decision to set in motion is troubling. At 19 or 20, he was old enough to know right from wrong and the fact that he tried to induce yet another young man to join in shows how callous he was toward someone who initially trusted him. If we are going to apply the “innocent because of being found not guilty in a court of law” to him, we might as well apply it to murderers like George Zimmerman, the ghouls who murdered Emmit Till, the police officers who get off for abusing and murdering black men, women, and children, or even the likes of rapists like R. Kelly. Issues like this one illustrate that misogyny and the rape culture that stems from it are alive and well, even in black communities. If he had expressed some level of remorse and acknowledged that both the violation and the subsequent harassment he and his friend visited on this woman were wrong, he most likely wouldn’t be getting the flak he is getting 17 years later.

  • 19,………………

  • This was an excellent piece man to man! I hope he was able to read this and revisit the emotional pains this has caused. Thank you again!

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