The story of the Central Park Jogger was part of my childhood- the media spin, the NYPD's bluster, the constant refrain of black-man-on-white-woman-crime. It somehow rang.. wrong. Even as a kid. False and damaging and wrong.
I know now that it's called fearmongering, or rape mythology, or corporate- created Super Predator narratives. Santana was one of five young men of color indicted and jailed for the rape and brutal assault of a white woman in New York City in 1989. Which, when I'd visit with my dad, seemed magical, but dirty, and too big, but magical. Their story is part of the city's mythology, and it was completely fake. The men were freed only recently, their whole lives taken from them until DNA testing exonerated them. Their entire lives.
Read my interview with the filmmaker and biographer Sarah Burns, and Santana. I was humbled.