Long before the Jussie Smollett and Covington Catholic outrages were outed as hoaxes, the trend of exposing alleged hate crimes as frauds was in full swing.
Here at The College Fix, we’ve chronicled more than 50 campus-related hate-crime hoaxes over the last seven years, for example. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A new book by Wilfred Reilly, an associate professor of political science at Kentucky State University, details 409 confirmed hate hoaxes. In “Hate Crime Hoax: How the Left is Selling a Fake Race War,” Reilly highlights in particular more than 100 “widely publicized incidents of so-called hate crimes that never actually happened.”
The question of why someone would pretend to be the victim of heinous and vile acts perpetrated under the guise of racism and bigotry is now under serious consideration.
The answer is complex and multifaceted. Here are four motivations most agree on.
Victims are celebrated martyrs
If you want to go from zero to hero in a flash, become the victim of a hate crime. Today’s society worships victimhood. For the last several years, two sociologists have chronicled the phenomenon of how being a victim has become a badge of honor. “Victims” are given prominence, popularity, attention, accolades. They are celebrated as heroic and courageous for standing strong against adversity. It’s no wonder people have a strong desire to become a “victim,” it promises instant gratification and celebrity status.
It advances a narrative
The constant drumbeat from the Left is that America is a racist, bigoted nation. That it suffers from white privilege and institutional oppression. That many of its citizens (like the ones who voted for Donald Trump) are deeply racist and filled with hate. To try to prove it, the Left engages in faux hate crimes, so they can say, “See, I told you so.” Certainly real hate crimes do occur, but at this point they’re lost in the haze of this hate-crime hoax trend sweeping the nation. Professor Reilly, in an interview with Fox News, pointed out that “virtually all of the high-profile, widely reported hate crimes over the past two to three years have been hoaxes.” The scholar added that the phenomenon is primarily coming from the Left. The subhead of his book is “How the Left is Selling a Fake Race War.” It seems fitting. As sociologist Jason Manning has pointed out, the Left has weaponized their self-perceived plight in order to force conservatives into bowing to their worldview.
It’s done for gain
The truth is — hate-crime hoaxes can pay. Reilly pointed out that in some examples it’s an insurance distribution. He cited an owner of an LGBTQ bar who burned it to the ground for a payout. Sometimes there’s personal gain involved. Students have asked for venmo support in the wake of alleged hate-crimes that have engulfed campuses with moral indignation. Lawsuits and scholarships are other avenues. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter enjoyed $100 million in its coffers, despite the fact that “hands up, don’t shoot” was thoroughly debunked. And the Southern Poverty Law Center’s endowment stands at $432.7 million. Keep in mind this is the same group that omitted 2,000 post-election anti-white hate crimes.
It gives “victims” meaning
The Left is obsessed with identity politics. It gives them meaning like a religion. It’s been said that “the hunger for identity is what fuels the mob-ready grievance culture.” A hate-crime (hoax) against a person is almost like a religious experience. They have reached the promised land. All that talk of oppression, hatred, racism — it’s vindicated and validated. They are a Victim, capital V. They join a special circle of people. They can talk about it, blog about it, bemoan it on social media. As sociologists following this victim-as-hero trend have stated: “aggrieved parties are especially likely to highlight their identity as victims, emphasizing their own suffering and innocence. Their adversaries are privileged and blameworthy, but they themselves are pitiable and blameless.”