Brett Kavanaugh, whose scandal-plagued nomination to the Supreme Court was further roiled yesterday by new accusations of rape, doesn’t fit society’s image of a rapist, writes Jason Nichols, a lecturer in the Department of African American Studies. In a new essay, Nichols argues that how we handle such accusations is too often dependent on deeply embedded societal power dynamics built around race, sexuality and gender.Jason Nichols

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As multiple accusers have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, his defenders are taking predictable steps to defend him. They have tried trotting out conservative talking heads to smear Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s initial accuser, as a “troubled” liar (though she first made the allegations to a therapist in 2012 and has since passed a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent) and a Democratic political operative. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has called newer allegations by Deborah Ramirez, simply “phony.”