Do you remember the old television show “To Tell The Truth?” The show featured three contestants including a central character with a remarkable story to tell and two impostors. A panel of stars would ask the contestants a series of questions to see if they could figure out who was telling the truth. The impostors were allowed to lie but the central character was sworn to tell the truth. At the end of the show, the announcer asked the person who was telling the truth to please stand up and be recognized.
Well, I would have liked to see the real Dr. Miller-Young tell the truth, not on a game show, but in court no less. Professor Mireille Miller-Young being the UCSB porn professor who subsequently pled no contest to having committed the crime of theft, vandalism and battery on a 16-year-old teenager named Catherine “Thrin” Short! Notwithstanding her plea, the narrative of this incident is still constantly evolving!
According to the letters to Judge Brian Hill from colleagues and former students across the country pleading for clemency for Ms. Young, Hill was not to believe Miller-Young was the real criminal just because she entered her plea. One letter asserted Miller-Young wasn’t really smiling and laughing it up with her accomplices, while being videotaped mind you, while in the commission of the crime. No, according to fellow UCSB feminist and black studies Professor Eileen Boris, that smile on her face was a mask worn through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery. Another letter suggested her baby made her do it! The narrative by UCSB history professor Paul Spikard indicated Miller-Young was simply the victim of a smear campaign which portrayed her as an “Angry Black Woman” for the purpose of fomenting racial hatred!
For you see, it was Thrin who committed the real crime against all things feminist and against women of color by participating in an anti-abortion rally in a designated free speech zone on the UCSB campus. It was Thrin who ambushed, incited and provoked the poor, pregnant, unsuspecting Dr. Miller-Young to violence. The video in fact captures Miller-Young calling Thrin a terrorist.
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After reading the clemency letters, I for one still can’t tell who is the real Miller-Young because the various perspectives can’t all be true at the same time. Does the real Dr. Miller-Young need to enroll in a cognitive behavioral change workshop in order to address her deep-seated propensity to violence as the letter from the Quakers Alternative to Violence Project suggest? Or, does the always “gentle” professor deserve a medal for defending her students from a “protest of violence” aimed at women of color as other letters suggest? Or, as I would suggest, did Miller-Young simply freak out and jump Thrin because, for the first time in her life, her views on abortion and her maternal instinct clashed in her own soul?
Finally, now that Miller-Young has been sentenced, will UCSB issue a formal apology to Thrin and publicly reprove Miller-Young?
First published in the Santa Barbara News Press.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.