There are all kinds of injustices in the world—unwarranted punishments and deprivations of liberty as well as undeserved material, psychological, and emotional injuries, inequities, and wrongs. False accusations provide the basis for one of the most poignant narratives of injustice because we have the sense that someone punished for a specific, discrete act that they did not commit is entirely innocent, not only of that discrete act but in some sort of existential sense of the word. ...Tragic irony is always compelling in a narrative, but, if one can identify with that falsely accused person, either because one shares similar background, circumstances, personal characteristics or because one has experienced a similar situation—or feels vulnerable to the same forces— the injustice seems to outweigh other wrongs, takes on greater importance than other inequities. The suffering rendered in such cases can seem more monstrous than other unwarranted deprivations that also arise from imperfect systems, and the institutional defects appear more glaring. Professor Subotnik’s tale of flawed institutions giving rise to the charges of rape against Duke student athletes is such a case in point, but that depends on the point of identification. By identifying so completely with the white male student athletes, Professor Subotnik loses himself in a story that is only a small subset of the many stories that can be told about our justice system and, in so doing, loses his sense of proportion.

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