When I was living in Cambridge--a few blocks away from Harvard--a young man stabbed another young man. One man was a white Harvard Grad Student, the other was a hispanic high-school dropout short-order cook. One was heavier, taller, and armed with a knife, and he stabbed his opponent to death--not too far away from my apartment.
We often stereotype criminals as hispanics with low levels of education, so it came as some surprise to me that the attacker was actually the Harvard Grad Student. Alexander Pring-Wilson was convicted of manslaughter, a conviction that was later thrown out and is currently tied up in the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
I remember reading a comment by a leader in the African-American community at the time that went something like this: "One can almost imagine that the defense will be 'white upper-class Harvard Graduate Students don't murder people in dark alleyways."
Of course, that's not true. Men are the most likely to commit violent acts of all types, and this is a dramatically stronger causal relationship than any ethnicity.
When paired with the Duke Rape Case Accusations, we see a series of similarities that tell us about violent crimes that are perpetrated by a dominant group member against a non-dominant group member:
The aggressor feels strongly that the other group is "beneath" him". See above.
The attacker is motivated by a perverse sense of masculinity. In the Duke Case, they had hired a stripper and actually threatened to sodomize both strippers. In the Pring-Wilson case, it was because some people had dared laugh at him.
The initial reaction to both are that "these are good kids". In Pring-Wilson's case, there's actually an entire website devoted to establishing his humanity and how he fits our image of a young man who can do no harm. In the Duke Case, you can see the favorable coverage given to the attackers by 60 Minutes. After all, the model of our society is a white man who goes to a prestigious college and participates in extra-curriculars.
Both times, the attackers are turned into "victims". In the Duke Rape Case, there is a great deal of time devoted to showing how the lacrosse players were supposedly unfairly targeted because of their sex, class, ethnicity, etc. And you can see the same thing in Pring-Wilson, this time stating that he is the victim of a "politically correct society" and "judicial mismanagement."
It is almost as though the media screams, "wait, the justice system is supposed to reinforce patterns of dominance, not break them!"