Posted on June 27, 2019

Hate Crime Hoaxes Are More Common Than You Think

Jason L. Riley, Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2019

{snip}

[Wilfred] Reilly is a professor of political science at Kentucky State University, and his interest in hate crimes dates to his graduate-school days, when he became aware of several widely reported incidents in the vicinity of his hometown that turned out to be fake. {snip}

More incidents followed, and Mr. Reilly’s skepticism grew. “This phenomenon of fake hate crimes did not appear to be small-scale or regionally based,” he writes. A gay pastor in Texas accused a Whole Foods store of selling him a cake with a slur written in icing. The store produced video evidence that the pastor was lying. A white woman in Oregon disfigured her own face with acid and claimed a black man had attacked her. Later, she admitted fabricating the entire story. After signs that read “blacks only” and “whites only” were found at bathroom entrances on the University at Buffalo campus in upstate New York, a black graduate student confessed to posting them.

Mr. Reilly eventually compiled a database of 346 hate-crime allegations and determined that less than a third were genuine. Turning his attention to the hoaxes, he put together a data set of more than 400 confirmed cases of fake allegations that were reported to authorities between 2010 and 2017. He allows that the exact number of false reports is probably unknowable, but what can be said “with absolute confidence is that the actual number of hate crime hoaxes is indisputably large,” he writes. “We are not speaking here of just a few bad apples.”

{snip} The sad reality is that there is no shortage of individuals and entities with a vested interest in exaggerating racial tensions in the U.S.—from civil-rights organizations to corporate diversity officers to professors of race and gender studies.

These alleged incidents are invariably seized upon by politicians and activists looking to feed a sacrosanct belief among liberals that discrimination and oppression are the main drivers of inequality. “In the mainstream media we hear almost constant talk about scary new forms of racism: ‘white privilege,’ ‘cultural appropriation,’ and ‘subtle bigotry,’ ” Mr. Reilly writes, yet “a huge percentage of the horrific hate crimes cited as evidence of contemporary bigotry are fakes.”

{snip} The Smollett case isn’t an outlier. Increasingly, it’s the norm. {snip}