Duke 88 (or Group of 88) = “Duke Heil Hitler”

The “Duke 88” (or Group of 88) are a group of faculty members who effectively joined ex-District Attorney Mike Nifong in prejudging lacrosse players who were falsely accused of raping Crystal Gail Mangum. There has been considerable discussion of the consequences these faculty members should suffer, both professionally and civilly, for their actions.

Unluckily for them, “88″ is white supremacist shorthand for “Heil Hitler” (H being the eighth letter of the alphabet). As an example, if a white supremacist writes “14/88” he means “The Fourteen Words” (a white supremacist slogan) followed by “Heil Hitler.” This can be verified from the Anti-Defamation League’s Web site. We have seen some very nasty material on YouTube by individuals who use “1488” in their identities.

Since Nifonging people is in fact consistent with Nazi ideology and practice–the Nazis held plenty of trials with predetermined verdicts–we therefore recommend that the Duke 88 be referred to as the “Duke Heil Hitler.” This may sound like mere name-calling, but it is well known from anthropology (e.g. LeGuin’s Earthsea Trilogy) that the power to name a thing is the power to control its identity. If you slap a name on somebody or something and it sticks, you have effectively defined that person or object. Since the Duke Heil Hitler were willing to help tag three innocent men as rapists, we are confident that they will not object too strongly to being tagged with the phrase “Heil Hitler.”


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