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April 27, 2005

Hate Hoaxes

Remember the hysteria at Trinity International University last week? The Christian school received a great deal of media attention after evacuating dozens of students from the campus in reaction to three anonymous letters, the third of which threatened violence against minorities.

Jesse Jackson was soon on the scene, puffing that students "feel there are targets on their back because they are black."

The author of the letters has been found. Not even Jackson should be surprised to learn that she's black and the letters were a hoax.

Despite all the fantasies propped up by the Left, there just isn't much racism against minorities out there. But there are plenty of opportunists willing to use hysterical political correctness to their own ends.

In the most famous case, Tawana Brawley (now known as Maryam Muhammad) smeared herself with feces, scrawled racial epithets on her skin, and crawled inside a trash bag. Plenty were willing to believe the outlandish stories she told of being raped and abused by racist white cops. Innocent men's lives were ruined by the hoax, but it did prove to be a big boost to Al Sharpton's career.

Ahmad Saad Nasim, a student at Arizona State University, was charged with false reporting to law enforcement, after admitting that he fabricated two incidents of hate crimes in the days following the 9/11 attacks — hoaxes that unsurprisingly generated eager media attention and made for effective pro-terrorist propaganda by undermining attempts to defend against more 9/11-style attacks. Nasim's motives were plain enough: he was an activist for leftist causes and, while at University of Arizona, was president of the Muslim Students Association. He had been involved in various other hoaxes aimed at publicizing his victim status and drawing attention to his nutty political views.

"It created a false atmosphere of paranoia and this sort of guilt-ridden atmosphere that leftists thrive in ," ASU student Oubai Shahbander is quoted as telling the Campus Report. "What's actually really interesting is that no student organizations that had been leading the whole anti-hate campaign on campus went out of their way to denounce this individual. In fact, we had two letters to the editor, published by students, actually supporting him."

Another case involves left-wing academic Kerri Dunn, whose car was vandalized and spray-painted with various highly politically incorrect epithets by some antisocial and unbalanced individual who turned out to be herself.

To finish off with some comic relief, Floyd Elliot of Independence, MO told police that attackers had cut him in the stomach, branded him with a hot knife, and carved the word "Fag" on his forehead. Their first clue that he was lying came when they noticed the word was carved backwards; he had done it to himself while looking in a mirror. He later admitted that his injuries were self-inflicted.

The motives of the hoaxers will vary, but most probably have something to do with unbalanced individuals willing to do anything to get noticed. The motives of people eager to believe them are more disturbing. And there certainly are people eager to believe them — if there weren't, the hoaxers wouldn't be assured such a glut of attention. In Nasim's case, campus Muslims continued to believe in the hoax, even after Nasim had confessed to it. With Tawana Brawley, some adopted a pose that even though she had been proven to be a liar, her stories were true in some abstract symbolic sense.

Well, why not? If people can see the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, I guess they can see white racism prevalent in America. You just need to want to believe it really, really bad.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Posted by Van Helsing at April 27, 2005 12:11 PM


Sharpton has never recanted any of the outlandish things he said during the Brawley case. Nor has he ever publicly admitted the obvious, that she made the whole thing up. In fact he has said he would do the same things over again. His efforts at that time and others did much to spark additional racial tension.


Rich Lowry on Al Sharpton on National Review Online

Posted by: Abe of Lincoln at April 27, 2005 8:47 PM

Thanks Abe — good links. Why even Fox News is willing to pass a lowlife like Sharpton off as some sort of legitimate person is beyond my understanding.

Posted by: Van Helsing at April 27, 2005 9:14 PM