An Open Letter to Matthew Noles and Duke’s Young Men

I figured that your comment section would be full of angry rhetoric and the Chronicle’s quotation would draw insurmountable attention to your article. Only the latter seemed to stand true, with the former being vehemently disproved by the few praises I noted. From a newspaper written by a school with over a thousand Brett Kavanaughs (that is, privileged white men), I would expect nothing less than the free expression of support for him and the sidenote applause for Ford’s bravery. I read your article, with bitterness on my tongue, because the distaste I had for your opinion was plentiful.

In the same breath that you believed Ford, you condemned the image of Judge Kavanaugh that was born from her truth. What I feel must be repeated time and again, an argument that seems to fall on closed minds and unwilling ears, is that humanity is not a partisan issue. I am writing a letter to defend the fact that a woman’s body is her own because it is hard for white men to believe that although the world has been fed to them with a silver spoon, not everything belongs to them.

I have no shame in saying that I do not believe Brett Kavanaugh. My heart, my womanhood, and my humanity stand firmly with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I will not, with cowardice, feign sympathy for Brett Kavanaugh’s situation.

I went to school a short fifteen minute drive from Georgetown Prep. Privilege drips down from the black gates of the boarding school and the greenery that paints their expanse of land. Wealth and its ability to create passages for law-breaking and indecency are common abuses of power in Montgomery County. The students who roll in money illicit a senseless amount of dangerous illegal drugs from the less-privileged minority students living in group homes and section 8 housing. The parties that play local DMV artists and Travis Scott get shut down faster than the parties in North Bethesda full of cocaine and Shooters’ style tunes. Your first lesson on privilege will explain to you race, gender, and wealth will dominate how society treats you. It’s not a lesson that most white men need for survival, especially not white men in Montgomery County.

The same students that drink senselessly and smoke a cocktail of illegal substances have parents that use money and the elite network around Montgomery County to secure internships for their “well-raised, proper children”. What I mean by this is “outstanding character and achievement” doesn’t hold much value when the skeletons in your closet bathe you in filth. We all know the practice of representing ourselves as angels to our parents and the general public while being nothing short of a rebel with our friends. Kavanaugh put on a façade, you bought it. I get it.

What I fail to understand is how you use the same breath to welcome Kavanaugh and state that you believe Ford. There’s something not right about that sentence and it’s hard to believe that you fail to see the problem. How do you support women whose trust has been stolen and privacy impeded upon, while also opening your arms to pat the backs and soothe the guilt of men who (even if society has deemed them not guilty) made a woman feel like her body is not her own, that it is only a stepping stool in the number of people he will crush while claiming his way to the very top of our political ladder? The Supreme Court is made up of 9 judges, meaning there are a number of people fully capable of filling the position. Knowing the circumstances, for the sake of “fairness”, which you adamantly promote, would it not make sense to simply find someone else?

The rage on Brett Kavanaugh’s face has been compared to Serena William’s anger when defending her innocence at the US Open. But, to me, this is an unjust comparison. Instead, put his face beside an image of BBQ Becky, the woman who called the police on a number of black people enjoying a cookout in an open park. Picture her face when she cried to the police as she flipped the story and made herself the victim of someone else’s innocence. This is Brett Kavanaugh. He did not sympathize with Ford’s painful and unforgettable experience. He mocked the Senators who asked him about drinking, by returning the question to them and failing to grasp the gravity of this situation. He turned away from the parent of a victim of a mass shooting (possibly prompted by his backing from the NRA). In your own words, “It takes a special kind of naivete and ideological entrenchment to ignore these components of Kavanaugh’s character.”

Fairness would be seeing Brett Kavanaugh for all that he is. Patriotism is not an argument that you can make in this heated climate where an immigrant-hating, racist President who doesn’t believe in war heroes decides what being an American looks like. So, Kavanaugh “[serving] his country dutifully” is a minor and imprecise detail to focus on. It does not take a champion of women to fill a diversity program and paint a better image of themselves by hiring women who are more than capable of filling positions that men greedily occupy. It should be the bare minimum requirement that a man who gets married and has children should be “a thoughtful husband and a caring father”. Fairness is noting that we now have a Justice who represents a small portion of the population that was able to grow up with a silver spoon in their mouths. We have yet another white man from a very easy economic background trying to level “justice” and “equality” to people from all walks of life. Fairness is noting that the amount of men who are falsely accused is largely overrated in comparison to the amount of men who actually serve a fair sentence for the war that they wage on other people’s bodies. Fairness is noting that a judge allowed Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner to only serve 3 months for violating an unconscious woman to avoid tarnishing his future. Fairness is noticing a trend that you encourage with an apologist attitude that comforts those who feel “attacked” in the way Kavanaugh does.

And to all the young men at Duke, who have been encouraged to aspire to be like him: don’t.

Dara Sontan