Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Growing Trend of Hate Crime Hoaxes

Perhaps it started way back with Tawana Brawley. When it was reported that "KKK" and "N*gger" were written on her body in human feces, I remember thinking that it just didn't sound right. Not that bad things, including hate crimes, don't happen, but this just sounded like a cliche, or someone's fantasy of a hate crime. And it was, of course. It was a 15-year old's attempt to get out of trouble for being late.

Later, motivations would change. Maybe a decade after Brawley, a black student at my very own high school, Milton Academy, had a nasty note thrust under his door. Lots of n-words, of course, and this: You don't belong here in our world. I remember thinking, people just don't speak like that, or even think like that, any more. This is a liberal Massachusetts prep school we're talking about. I smelled a hoax, and I suggested as much to the school. Of course, it was, but they didn't figure that out until after hand-wringing town halls and the involvement of the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Lately, the trend has accelerated. Just this month, someone posted "Whites Only" and "Coloreds" signs over water fountains at Sweet Briar College. They also made threatening phone calls, saying things like, "First Ferguson, now this!" The school president was prepared to come down hard, until it turned out that the perpetrator was black. Then it became a teachable moment about hate and bigotry, and perhaps we should we should even thank the young woman for raising our consciousnesses.

Last year, two students perpetrated a series of stunts at Oberlin, including flying Nazi flags and painting swastikas on classroom walls. The very liberal school was not-so-secretly excited to have perpetrators of right-wing hatred so palpably in their midst, and classes were abruptly cancelled for a "Day of Solidarity," during which everyone got to express their feelings. It turned out that the bandits were two Occupy types frustrated by the lack of anything evil and right-wing to rail against. Oops, this didn't fit the school's narrative at all.

The solution? The school president, who I am embarrassed to say is a college classmate of mine, tried to cover it up. He failed, and was fired. 

(Hahahahaha. That last part was a joke. He's still there, and probably got a big raise.)

There have been many other incidents. There was the (black) Columbia professor who hung a noose outside her office door to deflect attention from the fact the school was about to fire her. There was the University of Wyoming woman who posted fake rape threats to herself on Facebook and the two lesbians who spray-painted "Kill the Gays" on their garage door. There was the Central Connecticut State University woman who put fake, anti-gay hate messages to herself under her door, prompting an anti-hate rally at which, conveniently, she spoke. And who can forget the Duke lacrosse incident.

There are many, many more. Perhaps my favorite was at Vassar college last year when someone spray-painted things like, "F*ck N*ggers," and "Hey, Tranny, you know your place" on walls around campus. The offending writings were discovered by the college's Bias Incident Response Team. The ensuing investigation revealed that the incidents were actually committed by...wait for it...the Bias Incident Response Team.

It seems that we conservatives just aren't mean and hateful enough. There are college freshman out there who are in danger of not having properly raised consciousnesses, and if we're not going to play our part, the left will just have to do it for us.

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