The negative DNA tests in the alleged Duke University lacrosse team rape case raise the specter of yet another possible hate crime hoax. The timing of the case just before a local election for district attorney, racial and class polarization in Durham, North Carolina, and the heavy hand of on-campus feminism have all politicized the issue to an extraordinary degree. Justice has taken a back seat.
The sport of lacrosse does not usually earn front page headlines. But that changed with the racially-charged allegations of a black exotic dancer. The woman, who has not been identified publicly, claims she was gang raped by white lacrosse players at Duke University who had paid her and another stripper to perform at a party. She told police she was pulled into a bathroom, beaten, choked and raped by three white men who yelled racial slurs at her.
The reaction from the media, local politicians, school officials and black race activists was swift and predictable. Duke President Richard Brodhead announced he is canceling the rest of the lacrosse season. The nationally ranked team will forfeit the rest of their games. Coach Mike Pressler resigned. DNA samples were taken from 46 of the 47 team members (the one black player was not required to give a sample).
The Duke “Progressive Alliance” posted mug shots of the white players around campus with the headline “Please Come Forward.” Students held a “Take Back the Night” rally and banged pots and pans outside the house of President Brodhead and the house where the attack allegedly took place. The players moved out of the house out of concern for their safety.
Before the results of the DNA tests came back negative on Monday evening, most of the amateur detectives hyping the case had already convicted the whites. The general theme was that the alleged rapes represent “white skin privilege.”
“The issues here,” said Chandra Y. Guinn, director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, “go far deeper than a single incident. There are pockets of white privilege on this campus . . .”
“There’s an embedded white supremacy here,” said Travis Simons, a Duke divinity student.
Though not mentioned by the media, hate crime hoaxes are quite common in America, especially on college campuses. The Los Angeles Times claims there have been over 20 phony hate crimes on college campuses from 1997-2005, but even that number seems low.
The first and only serious study of hoax crimes was conducted in1995 by independent scholar Laird Wilcox. In a self-published booklet titled, Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America, Wilcox documented hundreds of hoax crimes and analyzed who commits them and why. Wilcox found that blacks are the worst offenders when it comes to staging phony hate crimes. While some perpetrate hoaxes to get insurance money or to cover their own misdeeds, many, particularly on college campuses, stage them to generate sympathy for their racial agenda.
As someone who follows hate crime hoaxes, the Duke incident—and the response—is strikingly similar to recent hoaxes at other universities. The following are just a few example:
• During the 40th anniversary of the integration at Ole Miss, two black students found racial insults scrawled on the doors of their dorm rooms: “F**g Nigger” and “F**g Hoe [sic] Nigger.” Similar messages turned up in other locations across the campus. Students organized a “Say No to Racism” march, and race activists demanded “programs and procedures” to instill racial sensitivity. A spate of national news coverage commented on how little Ole Miss had changed in 40 years.
When the perpetrators were found to be black students, Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat made it clear there would be no criminal charges, even though the students caused over $600 worth of damage and harmed race relations at the school.
• When a hate crime was reported last year at Trinity International University near Chicago there was a flood of indignation on campus. Students at the mostly white school wore yellow shirts to symbolize solidarity with blacks who had received a stream of hate mail. Jesse Jackson spoke on campus. Over 40 students were evacuated to an unnamed hotel for their own safety and security was beefed up at the college. Counselors were made available and students held prayer vigils.
But when the culprit turned out to be Alicia Hardin, a black student who wanted to transfer out of Trinity to be closer to her friends, the story-and the campus outrage-faded away. University president Greg Waybright even announced that he felt “a sense of relief” because the incident was “resolved.” He warned that the hoax should not reflect on any particular ethnic group.($link)