There is an inverse relationship between the demand for and the supply of hate in America. The former casts a bloated shadow that dwarfs the latter, and the current political climate – in particular how the media frames it – has conditioned the public, prior to Election Day and in this shaky post-election aftermath, to brace for a nationwide surge of nasty, resentful, Trump-induced backlash by white people against minorities.
But when expectations fail to match reality, we are left with the curious phenomenon of hate crime hoaxes. The scores of alleged assaults, verbal and physical, and the destruction of property, private and public, are designed to contribute to manufactured outrage, a practice so ingrained among many on the left that it has become almost second nature.
Regarding these particular manifestations of outrage culture, the consequences are multifaceted, ranging from the desensitization toward real hate crimes to harming one’s own community or family to get attention.
-One recent headline read: ‘Florida man faked a pro-Trump KKK hate crime, set his ex’s car on fire, then staged his own kidnapping in ransom note covered with his blood.’ That speaks for itself.
-A Muslim college student lied about being attacked on the subway by three Trump supporters. Despite claiming, “Trump America is real and I witnessed it first hand last night!” she apparently only witnessed a long night of drinking – and had to think of an excuse to justify coming home late to her parents.
-A North Park University student faked hate-filled notes and emails containing homophobic slurs and Trump references. “This is a countrywide epidemic all of a sudden,” she whined. Not long after, University President David Parklyn announced: “Sadly, we discovered that the incident and related messages were fabricated; the individual responsible for the incident is not continuing as a student…” In reality, the only sad thing about this was the student’s pitiful call for attention – and the fact that Parklyn seemed disappointed that a real hate crime had not taken place.
-An African American member of a black church in Mississippi was arrested for spray painting the walls of the church with “Vote Trump” and setting the building on fire.
-A white husband and father of four in Texas wrote “N***** Lovers” on his garage door and set his own truck and motorcycle on fire. He, like other perpetrators, is currently receiving a mental health evaluation.
What to make of hoaxes like these?
First, many media outlets stumbled blindly and belligerently into the fray, shedding the journalistic decency to wait for the facts to come out before prematurely pinning the blame on the “culture of hate” surrounding Trump and those who support him.
Regarding the black church fire in Mississippi in November, there were articles like, “A Burned Down Black Church Shows President Trump Wouldn’t Condemn His Own Terrorists” and “A Black Church Burned in the Name Of Trump.”
The Muslim student’s “traumatizing” ordeal was top notch page view bait. Buzzfeed published, “Drunk Men Yelling ‘Donald Trump’ Attempt To Remove Woman’s Hijab On NYC Subway.” CBS News went with, “Muslim teen verbally attacked on NYC subway.” And Slate widened the blame to include onlookers with the headline, “NY Subway Riders Stand By as Three Men Verbally Assault Muslim Teenager.
Needless to say, the press had a field day with these alleged hate crimes by treating them as truth and doing all the necessary issue framing to make the audience draw connections that weren’t actually there. But when the narrative took a turn that didn’t fit their agenda, and it became clear that those responsible were not any of the “deplorables” but rather emotionally weak or otherwise unstable people, their preordained themes of Trump-induced hate conveniently faded away.
Secondly, every fake hate crime does a disservice to authentic hate crimes that ought to be taken seriously, like the Charleston church shooting and the recent kidnapping and torture of a white man in Chicago. This is akin to the topic of sexual assaults on college campuses and the dereliction of due process amidst the “campus rape frenzy” wherein guilt is presumed before innocence, as evident most notably in the 2006 Duke Lacrosse rape case and Rolling Stone’s self-described “journalistic failure,” “A Rape On Campus.” In both instances, the precious and limited manpower and resources of law enforcement were needlessly diverted. So too were university initiatives that spent time chasing imaginary monsters under the bed.
Neither should we ignore how these faux crimes fit into our pervading culture of victimhood. Yasmin Seweid, the Muslim student whose inglorious tale is indeed sad (but for an altogether different reason) had written on her Facebook page:
“I was harassed on the subway last night. And it was just so dehumanizing I can’t speak about it without getting emotional… Three white racists ripped the straps off my bag and attempted to yank my hijab off my head. They yelled such disgusting slurs at me, I was so helpless and felt defenseless.”
If one decides to be a victim, there must be a perpetrator. And what group of people gets blamed the most these days? White men who are Trump supporters.
Don’t bat an eye, then, at how the politically correct climate of making mountains out of anthills when it comes to the perceived evils of “systemic” discrimination and “white privilege” go hand in hand with media-driven witch-hunts of someone to take the fall. Together they have helped create an industry out of anti-racism on which many in academia and journalism base their careers.
Social media in no small part perpetuates this trend. False claims can morph overnight into something bigger than the initiator ever anticipated – or exactly into what they hoped.
A few weeks ago the YouTube “prankster” Adam Saleh uploaded a video claiming he got kicked off a flight for speaking Arabic. Luckily, it did not take long for the truth to come out: he was really just being an ass. His track record of obnoxious behavior that he calls “pranks” is designed to rack up YouTube views and also probably some feeling of significance. His case represents the many sad attempts to create evils out of thin air in order to vindicate one’s mindset – or, just as worse, solely for the attention with zero regard for the truth.
An intriguing factor that unites many fake hate crimes is the paradox of racism in the name of anti-racism. Of prejudice and generalizations in the name of a bias-free society. Corrective hate, if you will, in the name of forced tolerance dictated by arbitrary standards.
Remember what happened to the homeless, black, female, elderly Trump supporter who protected Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from vandals and held a sign that read, “20 Million Illegals and Americans sleep on the streets in tents. Vote Trump”? She got pushed around – apparently because her words were deemed as hate.
There’s a sad irony when we see an act of ‘good’ hate and counter-bigotry committed – and tolerated – under the banner of “love trumps hate.” It’s clear that there is no such thing. That woman’s thought-crime had spawned “violence in the name of compassion,” which apparently is justified in the “twisted ethical constellation in the modern progressive hivemind,” as Jim Goad wrote on the matter.
It’s a similar strain of degenerative thinking that goes into faking a hate crime. Interestingly, it seems to be the case that intent can determine the punishment. But why not make the consequences of spray painting swastikas or ‘White Power’ on someone’s garage door be uniform regardless of whether or not the perpetrator meant it? To the homeowner, there is zero discernable difference. The crime should not be handled as if there is.
Hence the dilemma that both hate hoaxers and violent progressives face: by continuing to try to portray Trump and his supporters negatively through these acts, they themselves are becoming very real aggressors. Their desire to eliminate hate has only bred more of it – a classic cultural overcorrection for which those responsible need to step back from and acknowledge.