More Hate Crime Hoaxes
Jul 15th, 2012 by Unamused
I have updated my list of hate crime hoaxes with many new entries (we’re up to 32 now), including a lovesick lesbian student who threatened herself for attention in March, a lesbian couple that hung a noose and spray-painted “Kill the Gay” at their own home last October, a very imaginative gay student who used a lighter to fake a branding in April 2011, and many race-related stories. Three of those are reproduced below.
Expect more soon.
Oct 2005: “Hippies” Led by Black Studies Major Frame “Typical White Male Bastards” for Assorted Slurs and Swastika (College of Wooster)
Read Joe P. Tone’s take in “Woosteria! When marker-wielding racists rocked the College of Wooster, the hunt for justice was on” (clevescene.com).
They were still in their pajamas, still standing in their fungus-fighting flip-flops, when the girls of Bornhuetter Hall first noticed the words scrawled outside their doors.
Slut, Fuck the hippie bullshit, Vote Goldwater, and other slurs were emblazoned on the walls and doors of the College of Wooster’s brand-new dormitory. Two roommates — one Jewish, one black — woke to find a swastika and I hate minorities written in dry-erase marker on their message board.
Maintenance crews raced to cover the vandalism in time for the dorm’s official dedication ceremony that day in early October. But three weeks later, vandals struck again with scribbled penises and phrases like “oxen scrotum juice” and “eel semen” in Holden Hall, the largest dorm on campus.
And so, the campus-wide hunt was on for the intolerant jerks with the dry-erase markers. An editorial in the school newspaper, The Wooster Voice, called for their expulsion. On October 28, Wooster President Stan Hales sent a blistering school-wide e-mail: “I am dismayed and angered by these incidents,” he wrote. “We cannot and will not tolerate actions… that are intended to intimidate.”
“A typical white male,” freshman Kamilla Fellah remembers thinking. “Those bastards.”
As the semester wore on, the culprits remained unknown. But on December 16, in the middle of finals week, they broke their silence with a school-wide e-mail of their own: They were prepared to reveal their identities at yet another forum. They scheduled it for 8 p.m. that night.
With exams looming, 300 students and professors filed into the student union, eager to glimpse their enemy. And just as they had expected, that enemy was the… treehuggers?
“We are, to some, your campus ‘hippie’ community,” said Megan Mitchell, a senior philosophy and black-studies double-major. She introduced her five fellow thugs to the crowd: men and women, gay and straight, women’s studies and philosophy majors. One of them was Jewish. They were all sorry.
“A lot of people assumed it was that straight white male stereotype… and they wanted to get them off their campus,” says Sarah Core, who covered the story for the Voice. “Finding out that it was students who are normally supposed to be sensitive to issues such as these was a big shock.”
The vandals actually had turned themselves in weeks earlier. One of them says they were told they could expect leniency if they gave themselves up. [...]
“‘I’m a moron’ is like the moral of the story,” says Mitchell, who authored the phrase “oxen scrotum juice.” The moron defense didn’t hold up: Five of the students were expelled. Mitchell, who was suspended for a year, ended the student forum by revealing their punishments.
And at that moment, something changed.
“I really appreciate that you came forward,” one student said in the customary Q&A period that followed.
“If I were in your position, it would take a lot of courage,” another told them.
“I’m pretty sure that you are good people,” still another said.
Just as justice was being served, the Wooster lynch mob wanted to send it back. Even the student paper, which damned the vandals in November, suddenly saw things differently.
“Even though this is a very serious crime, it is important to address it through education, rather than through just outcasting these people,” says Liz Miller, one of the Voice editors who originally called for the students’ expulsion. “A suspension is fine. But readmit these people into the college community and educate them.”
[...] On January 18, one day into the new semester, they received another campus-wide e-mail from President Hales.
“The open forum on December 16… demonstrated that [the vandals] have begun to understand the impact their actions had on the community,” it read. “They have apologized… and they have begun to atone for their actions.”
It was official: The lynching had been postponed due to lack of interest. The efforts of the college and its students, it seemed, would be better served rooting out the jock frat boys.
The expulsions were reduced to suspensions; the students will all be allowed back in 2006.
Apr 2005: Black and Hispanic Students Removed from Campus after Threats by Black Student (Trinity International University)
“Author of ‘Hate Mail’ Caught, Arrested at Trinity University” (christianpost.com):
The author of “hate mail,” who had stirred a racial scare on the campus of Trinity International University (TIU) over the recent weeks, was arrested yesterday, April 26.
The perpetrator of this “hate” crime had turned out to be one of the Deerfield, Ill.-based school’s own students, Alicia Hardin, reported CBS2 Chicago news.
According to Lake County prosecutor George Strickland, this 19-year-old African-American female student has been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and a felony hate crime that could bring up to five years in prison if convicted.
During the past two weeks, Hardin’s racially motivated letters were sent to three minority students at the evangelical Christian university. The third letter, which had included threats of physical violence against a black female student, prompted the school to remove dozens of black and Hispanic students from campus on Thursday upon its finding.
Hardin apparently took such action, said the investigators, in order to convince her parents the school was too dangerous for her to stay, in hopes to stop attending the school.
After the third letter, “[m]ore than 40 students spent the night at a nearby hotel, while the others stayed with family or friends” (mtv.com).
Nov 2002: Black Students Vandalize Dorm with Racial Slurs, Drawing of Noose, and “Vulgar References to Genitalia” (University of Mississippi)
Three black freshmen were accused by the college of scrawling racist graffiti on the doors of two other black students in the Kincannon residence hall on the Oxford campus. Among the hateful epithets: “F–––––g N––––r” and “F–––––g Hoe N––––r.” Also left on walls and doors spanning three floors of the dorm: A tree with a noose and hanging stick figure and vulgar references to genitalia drawn in blue window chalk.
The financial damage was estimated at roughly $600. But the cultural and psychological damage caused by such crude and twisted acts of Tawana Brawleyism is inestimable. The element of racial animus cloaks the hate crime hoax with a false sense of legitimacy. It’s a manipulative attempt to exploit old tensions and deflect suspicion from the actual perpetrators.
At the time the racist vandalism appeared, Ole Miss was commemorating the 40th anniversary of desegregation of its classrooms. Local and national observers immediately assumed the vandals were white.
Black students organized a “Say No to Racism” march and demanded more protection against white-on-black harassment. They blasted the school’s president for not apologizing quickly enough for the racial slurs. The school’s “Minority Affairs” director demanded that the university establish “programs and procedures” to ensure racial sensitivity and prevent hate crimes. The “Institute for Racial Reconciliation” and the “Committee On Sensitivity and Respect” convened meetings. Activists called for criminally prosecuting the perpetrators under state felony laws or federal hate crime statutes.
But now that the race of the suspects has been revealed, some are seeking to minimize the crime as a “prank.” The college will not be bringing criminal charges against the trio. Instead, each suspect faces charges involving five violations of the student code of conduct — not only for the racially explosive vandalism, but also for allegedly making false and misleading statements to investigators.
The Daily Mississippian student newspaper noted that an “irritated Chancellor Robert Khayat said the entire situation was ‘regrettable,’ but it taught the university community that no members ‘should engage in abusive behavior’ and ‘before we jump to conclusions and start condemning groups of people, we should know what happened.’”
All well and good, but why allow a double standard of justice to prevail? If the attackers had been white, they faced possible federal prison time. Because the suspects are black, the most serious consequence they face is expulsion. Welcome to equal treatment under the law, 2002-style.