The (fake) Hate Crime Epidemic

There are real victims in this world. There are people who have really suffered. There are people who have been preyed upon. There are people who have been hurt. Really hurt. There are people who have been raped, abused, molested, oppressed.

There are victims in this world, and I’m sure they’d agree with me when I say this: you shouldn’t want to be one of them. In America, we’ve turned Victimhood into a billion dollar business. We are apparently so bored and so comfortable that we gaze enviously at the “lucky” souls who have endured the slings and arrows of actual persecution.

Maybe it’s part of our obsession with being noticed. We find admiration too difficult to earn, so we settle for admiration’s whiny cousin: pity. Our grandparent’s generation never wanted pity, even when their situation warranted it. We, on the other hand, find it to be more profitable and less demanding to be pitiful than it is to be successful.

Exhibit A: Linda Tirado.

She wrote a viral blog post a few weeks ago called “Why I Make Terrible Decision.” It was, essentially, one long, eloquent, (deceitful), gut-wrenching laundry list of gripes about her lot in life. She’s “poor,” she insisted, and she’ll never not be poor. Her life is so hard. Everyone feel sorry for her. She has it worse than everyone else on the planet. Oh, you live in a mud hut in Guatemala and your wife just died of dysentery two days ago? Sorry, you’ve never suffered like Linda the Poor Huffington Post Blogger. She, like, has bills. BILLS. And she doesn’t like paying them. This is the stuff of Greek Tragedy, particularly because it was mostly mythological.

The internet rallied to donate her money. Her story was spread all over the web as “proof” that America is unfair to poor people. And then, predictably, it was revealed that Linda, uh, “exaggerated.” Turns out she lives in a nice house (paid for by her parental benefactors), she has a private school education, speaks three languages, she’s a Democratic activist, she worked in politics, and she bills herself as a political consultant.

But, you know, her life is still super hard and she’s a victim of the System. She also consults and works for the System, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t victimized by it.

Do you think your Facebook friends who posted her original essay will bother to post the truth about it?

Sorry, dumb question.

Of course, pretending to be poor isn’t the sexiest form of American Faux-Victimhood. Why tell lies about your financial situation when you could capture even wider fame, earn more sympathy, and make more money by fabricating a hate crime? The Hate Crime Hoax rivals fantasy football as our newest and greatest national pastime. The best thing about a Hate Crime Hoax is that it gives us all the opportunity to play along.

Here’s how it works: some desperate con artist invents a story of racism and/or sexism and/or homophobia and/or transgender discrimination out of whole cloth, and distributes the lie on Facebook and Twitter. Within minutes, national media outlets, with their rigorous ethical standards, take the questionable tale of prejudice and, without verifying anything, or following up with anybody, or questioning anything about any part of the clearly contrived narrative, they report the lie as fact. Immediately, the Mindless Mob carries the lie all the way to the viral promised land.

Then, inevitably, a few days later the truth comes out. The lie was a lie. The lie always sounded like a lie, and smelled like a lie, and looked like a lie, and that’s all because it was, in fact, a lie. But the truth never goes viral, so the lie metastasizes in the public conscience, and we all go about our days further convinced that we live in a country where gays, blacks and women simply can’t catch a break.

I’m not sure why, but over the last few weeks the Fake Hate Crime Fraudsters have stepped their game up considerably. Maybe it’s colder, people are spending more time indoors, so they’re getting bored. Hmmm, what should I do today? I could work on this jigsaw puzzle. Or I could go on Facebook and tell everyone that I’m being persecuted for my sexual orientation. Oh, I know! I’ll do the fake hate crime thing and THEN I’ll finish the puzzle!

Whatever the reason, here’s the rundown:

-A mixed race 8th grader in Massachusetts was upset to find racial slurs spray painted onto the side of his house. His mother tearfully spoke in front of cameras about the horrible hate crime. The community rallied around them and vowed to find the racist hatemongers who would dare do such a thing. Eventually, the police located the perpetrator. She lived nearby. Actually, she lived inside the house. She was the mother.

-You probably heard the story about the lesbian waitress in New Jersey who found an offensive note that a hateful Christian customer had written on a receipt. They couldn’t leave a tip because they disapprove of her “lifestyle,” the note read. She uploaded the image to social media, and the story went viral. There was just one problem: she made the whole thing up. Not only that, she also lied about her military service.

I’m no detective, but I knew her story was bogus from the get-go. How did I figure it out? Because I’m not a fool, and I can recognize horse manure when I see it spewing out of the mouth of a pathological liar. Besides, how in the hell would the customers know about her “sexual orientation” in the first place? Does she regularly work that into conversations with restaurant goers? Hello, I’m Dayna, I’ll be your waitress this evening. I’m a lesbian. What would you like to drink?

Attention internet: it’s called “critical thinking.” Try it some time.

-Vassar college has a thing called the Biased Incident Response Team. Side note: if you send your kid to a school with something called a Biased Incident Response Team, you obviously aren’t interested in making sure he gets a real education. But who am I to judge? The BIRT has been especially busy this year. Biased messages have been showing up all over campus. Horrible things like: “Avoid Being B*tches,” “F**k N*ggers,” and “Hey Tranny. Know Your Place.”

And guess who was found to be responsible for these acts of bias? That’s right: a member of the Biased Incident Response Team. The college reported that the BIRT had discovered the perpetrator, forgetting to mention that the BIRT was the perpetrator. Talk about finding the silver lining: yeah, a member of the Biased Incident Response Team is responsible for the Biased Incidents, but at least they’re the ones who found out that they’re responsible!

The transsexual Biased Incident Avenger/Biased Incident perpetrator has fled from the college in disgrace. Hopefully, the BIRT will be disbanded, which will leave them more time to write nasty messages to themselves.

Who could have predicted such lunacy on the campus of the college that employs a ragtag gang of Hate Crime Ghostbusters?

-Some more racist graffiti showed up on the side of a home owned by a black Baptist minister in Virginia. Do I even have to tell you about the next part?

I’m not sure if these incidents can rival some of Fake Hate Crime Inc’s greatest hits, like the gay college student who beat himself up, branded his own wrist, then reported it as a hate crime. Or the lesbian couple in Colorado that spray painted “Kill the Gay” on their own garage door.

Those are two of my all time favorites, but you can check out an abridged, incomplete list of recent Fake Hate Crimes and pick out your own.

I’m thinking we can invite this one to the party: a Red Lobster employee claims that a customer wrote the phrase “None N*gger” on the tip line of their receipt. In the following weeks, two separate forensics handwriting analysts have concluded that whoever wrote the word “N*gger” is not the same person who wrote “None.”

Did the young lady write it herself to get attention? There’s no reason to think such a thing. No reason, other than the fact that, yeah, that’s probably what happened.

I bring this all to your attention for three reasons: 1) These scam artists need to be publicly shamed. I don’t want to hear about how they must be “troubled,” or they are trying to “call attention to a real problem.” I don’t want to hear excuses for them. They want attention. They want money. They tell lies. They’re liars. No further analysis required.

2) If you posted the initial reports about any of these stories, you have a responsibility to post the follow up. You spread a lie, albeit inadvertently, and now you must spread the truth. It’s called integrity.

3) The neo-liberal social agenda is fueled by myths and fabrications like these. New policies, regulations and laws will often be passed on the heels of such stories, and the policies, regulation and laws don’t go away just because the stories are proven false. If we are going to beat these Orwellian ogres, we need to be diligent in defeating their lies.

People who fake hate crimes ought to be charged with hate crimes. They have literally committed a crime with the sole intention of spreading hatred. They are the worst sort of hatemongers. They are calculated, manipulative and exploitative. They peddle hatred for the sake of hatred; they try to reopen wounds and inflame old hostilities. If you can be charged with a federal crime for leaving a racist note on someone’s doorstep, they ought to be charged with a federal crime for pretending that you left a racist note on their doorstep.

Hateful bigots do exist in this nation. These people are proof of that.

 

*****

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@MattWalshRadio

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118 Responses to The (fake) Hate Crime Epidemic

  1. Theranter says:

    “Horrible things like: “Avoid Being B*tches,” “F**k N*ggers,” and “Hey Tranny. Know Your Place.” And guess who was found to be responsible…That’s right: a member of the Biased Incident Response Team”

    Dude, talk about projection.

    All of these- the mom that hate-wrote about her own child, and the others. They are all psychological projection, not just victimhood or trying to get attention. The most disturbingly latent-prejudice filled people I know are lefties–it’s almost a secret requirement to belong to the upper-progressive cabal. And it’s really creepy when you see it first hand from otherwise very intelligent people.

  2. centavita says:

    This is why I never post ANYTHING personal on FB ( I hate Twitter). I’ve had some rough things happen in my life, but I was an unfortunate participant in these things. When will people stop dumping personal -even fake- things about themselves for the whole world to see? Get a therapist or Pastor to talk to. Our world spends a lot of time “re-posting” other people’s made-up misery. Whatever mine may have been . . . it’s private.

  3. Millie says:

    Finally, someone said it. Not everything you read on the internet is true! Wow! Who’d have thought? Outrageous! Ugh. Especially the people my age. (I’m 16.) They believe anything and everything. They question nothing. Did you ever stop and think that maybe that Instagram post isn’t necessarily reliable? Come on, guys. Don’t be stupid.

  4. Salty Bear says:

    “People who fake hate crimes ought to be charged with hate crimes.”

    Imagine how many life sentences Al Sharpton would have.

  5. Paul says:

    Eight instances in a nation of 350 million people. I guess that’s an “epidemic,” nowadays.

    • Dennis says:

      Paul, Yes when the “news” pushes these stories as attacks on poor LGBT people. That is what they want us to think. The epidemic is the mistreatment of these poor, poor souls, who want nothing more than to just live their lives. When the truth is they are pushing an agenda, and trying to turn the table, so that it’s those darn hateful Christians. Who could really care less that they are LGBT. The other point is they never make it a headline that the story is false! It’s always buried.

    • KT says:

      Apparently you didn’t even bother to click on the “abridged, incomplete list” that shows 185. Of course there are many more that are not in the list, and many more that don’t make national news.

    • Paul says:

      So, it’s 185 instead of 8…we’re still talking about a nation of 350 million people.

      White people have their pet bogeymen too…like Ronald Reagan’s fictitious “welfare queen,” who was proven to not exist, or every time I hear someone huff about someone in front of them at the checkout stand buying “lobster and steak and cigarettes and alcohol and cigarettes,” despite the fact the system is computerized now and you can’t buy any of those things with EBT cards.

      Now, if you want a REAL example of a “hate crime,” the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and within hours, states like Texas moved to enact voter-ID laws even though in the past, in-person voter-ID fraud had been as rampant as…well, fake hate-crimes.

      “White people are the real victims of racism”…

      • Dennis says:

        Paul, you are pathetic!

        • mae says:

          Hey why do people need to get mean. If you were talking to paul face to face would you still speak that way? I hope not. No ones minds are going to be changed if when we debate, we refuse to listen and discus the other’s view without getting upset or calling names. Don’t forget that text has no voice inflection and its difficult to tell sometimes how people intended aomething to be read. To Paul: ok so 185 people is not an epidemic, per se, but this does happen more than it used to and the question to ask is not whether its an epidemic, but why is it happening more than in the past?Not sure how old you are but I’m in my 30’s. When I was yoing this sort of thing rarely happened. Of course, the internet changed everything! Just somethin to think about. I think we could all learn to be more careful of what we read AND how we speak to one another.

      • bradenbost says:

        I fail to see how “white people hav(ing) their pet bogeymen too” negates anything Matt has said here. If your response is limited to only “tu quoque,” please keep it to yourself, because you’re not adding anything.

        Secondarily, perhaps the issue of the epidemic is not how many cases there are but how they’re marketed to support a certain worldview, and therefore how many people see, believe, and react accordingly to the lie.

        • mae says:

          I like the way you explain this, that that stories are marketed to support a certain world view or push an agenda. It’s clear that people like to voice their opinions and the Internet is it easy place to do this, which contributes to these stories, spreading like wildfire because everyone wants to jump on board with their two cents.

    • Mark says:

      Paul – you are “measuring” the wrong thing. Its not 8 or 168 or 1000 “instances”. The reality is..that the race baiters, homophobe propagators and self indulgent “victims” – leverage social media to WAY over play a lie and permeate a public conscious where NOTHING has occurred. Its immoral … and branding a society that has wholesale far less “hate” then these villains and self indulgent …”need an excuse for being pathetic”…victims deserve. The measurement should be how many eyeballs or ears heard these lies…responded with justifiable outrage and conscience to say “we have more to do”…and when the “tide of the lie” heads back to sea…THATS the damage. It destroys our democracy…overplaying, amplifying things that are simply lies…and the left, victim wanting press, mono issued special interest groups (NAACP< GLADD< NOW et. al) should be the first to NOT to pile on…but they don't. The best analogy is a fireman starting fires in his town because there may be layoffs…or they are bored….the victims are the people, his community…now instilled with fear and then with distrust in their system of government. This is a great article and spot on. Your argument is "it only happened 8 or 138 times" is like saying "this group only killed 8 to 138 people out of 300 million..big deal"…..its black and white…not gray..ANY incidents of this stuff should be persecuted with full force of the law.

  6. Braden says:

    A few weeks ago I saw a certain advice column making the rounds. The letter was from a parent of a homosexual teenage son who wanted the columnist to tell their son to “stop being gay” because they were part of a church group that would “make fun” of them for having a gay child, and they’re sure the son is being gay just because they “forgot his birthday three years in a row,” but him being angry about that was unreasonable because “they’re busy.” The columnist of course had a masterfully crafted and snarky lecture for this “parent” about what people can and cannot choose and about acceptance and “love.”

    It was posted all over Facebook by big names like George Takei and by sites like Cheezburger.com I scrolled through hundreds of comments looking for anyone else that saw through the clear fraud of the letter and either fraud or gullibility of the columnist. I found three. Everyone else was grabbing their soap boxes to complain about how they can’t believe people like that exist. Well folks, the good news is at this time around, they don’t.

  7. April K says:

    I never see a reason to share “news” stories like this anyway. Oh, someone was a jerk to their waitress? Vandalized a garage? I’m pretty sure I don’t need to know about it. What’s the lesson for me: don’t be a racist, homophobic criminal d-bag? I already knew that. It’s called home training. Stories like these are just spread around for entertainment and gossip–and the kind of people who get their kicks out of other people’s rudeness and misery ought to find a mirror before they look down at anyone else.

  8. Becca Kronlund says:

    Misinformation and social media = the mafia of the Internet age. Now you’ve got me all riled up!

  9. Roy says:

    “Attention internet: it’s called “critical thinking.” Try it some time.”

    That statement goes right alongside “Do the math.”

  10. Angela says:

    Amen!

  11. Clint says:

    I am surprised this one was not on the list. It was huge.

  12. Archer says:

    And as for Dayna Morales, we’re now finding out that the influx of donations she received that she promised – promised! – to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project … may not have made it to the WWP.

    Also, her departure from the U.S. Marine Corps reportedly (same link) was under “less than honorable conditions.”

    If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, and acts like a rat….

  13. Jeanette says:

    As a leader in organized Nationwide infertility group I loved this article. Until you excluded infertile women and men from both sides of the issue. Imagine how horrible the questions are then? Imagine how awful it is to be surrounded by women that do it so easily when, me and those is my groups do not? Its not what they want. Imagine a man saying hes infertile. Embarrassing at best. women no one seem to have a problem with but its humiliating to her as well.

    Again I loved this article it shines a light on us all, but for those of us whowish fpr nothing more than 1 single baby, its horrifying. Because if all we get is one we are grateful.

    Thanks for this article and thanks for being so candid. I am sure as a husband you pretty much rule.

  14. Kerry says:

    I’m in all agreement!

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  16. atd says:

    Don’t disagree with Matt’s opinion—when the media strings a few of these together it does not make it an epidemic. However, it’s also not necessarily an epidemic that tons of people are faking these things, and it’s not always so-called minorities manufacturing these things.
    I recall this extreme example from the Pacific N.W. a few years ago: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/acid-attack-hoax-why-did-she-say-attacker-was-black/
    Happened to watching the news then with a shirt-tail relative from out of the country, who wondered out loud why someone, the alleged attacker, would be so “jealous,” to throw acid at someone. Unfortunately the relative went back home and never saw the follow-up story several weeks later where the young woman’s story fell apart and she admitted to police she did it to herself, and the black female assailant did not exist.
    Since Matt’s point of view is conservative and because this is blog not an actual investigative report or academic study on the issue, he selected certain examples to fit his argument. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I could restart my own blog and do a post and find examples to support the point that white people blame minorities on occasion because of their own issues, psychological problems, and so on.
    However, I’m not sure what that would solve.
    The real point though is that journalists especially, and all of us, really, need to try to check our facts whenever possible, and try to be skeptical enough about being fooled by the con artists of all shades who are out there.

    • mae says:

      Thise are probably just the stories he could thinkof at the time. Guess i cant speak to his intentions tho. You are right, . It definitely goes both ways.don’t think it matters your race or orientation. And we do need to make sure we don’t just believe whatever we read.

    • Jay Knott says:

      It may be true that “Matt’s point of view is conservative”, but the selection of fake hate crimes he reports are not because “he selected certain examples to fit his argument”. Most fake hate crimes are committed by members of minorities, and manipulate liberal sympathies. Far fewer fake hate crimes are invented attacks BY minorities, but these have been honestly reported on by conservatives like Michelle Malkin. Conversely, the SPLC complain that minority hate hoaxes ‘feed into rightwing propaganda’ – what they mean is, they feed into propaganda if they get found out! Otherwise, they feed into SPLC propaganda: http://www.salon.com/2012/10/24/bogus_hate_crimes_all_the_rage/

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