One of the oldest rules in psychology and economics is that if you reward a behavior, you can expect to see it more often.
In America, we reward victimhood.
That makes us feel good about ourselves and in some cases, it helps improve the lives of the people who've been victimized, but there's a dark side to it as well. It creates perverse incentives for people, it helps legitimize a victimhood mentality, and it also encourages people to fake hate crimes.
Under normal circumstances, that would seldom happen. However, in a society where we celebrate victimhood and savagely attack people we decide are “bullies”, being a "victim" can potentially be the high point of someone's life. It can mean getting attention from the media, being showered with sympathy, and even making thousands of dollars.
Is it any wonder that there are unscrupulous people who take advantage of the situation?
1) The Tawana Brawley Hoax: This was the case that made Al Sharpton's career and surprise, surprise, it was all a lie.
In a healthy society, Sharpton might be on parole now — not the must-get guest for “Meet the Press” and “Today” on issues of racial justice. He was a ringleader in perpetuating the evil Tawana Brawley hoax in which he and two corrupt lawyers (now disbarred) falsely accused Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones and others of gang-raping a 15-year-old girl in a racist attack (Brawley claimed that she’d been smeared with feces and had racist epithets written on her body). No person of any ideological stripe could doubt it was a fraud — except, that is, for the unrepentant Sharpton, who recently insisted “something happened.”
2) She wasn’t even Jewish: On the very day that College professor Kerri Dunn was supposed to speak at a campus forum on racism, she announced that she’d just been a victim of racism. That would have made for a great story....if it were true.
Dunn, a visiting psychology professor (at Claremont McKenna College), was scheduled to speak at a campus forum on racism. During her talk, she shocked the audience by announcing that she had been — that very day — the victim of a hate crime. Ta da!
Her car had been vandalized, its windows smashed, tires slashed. And profane, anti-Semitic graffiti covered the wreckage.
The campus was shocked. CMC and all four of its sister colleges canceled classes (they didn’t even do that on 9/11). An emotional student body held a giant rally against racism. The riveting spectacle was covered by network news.
Undoubtedly, the whole affair would have been a great career boost for Dunn if only two students hadn’t seen her doing all the vandalism herself. Dunn lost her job, of course, and also went to prison for lying to federal investigators and for insurance fraud. (She had claimed that $1,700 worth of items, including a laptop computer, had been stolen by the hate-crime bogeyman. These items were later found in a closet in Dunn’s home.)
Dunn might have avoided prison if she hadn’t tried to cash in. Her long years of education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she earned both a Ph.D. and a J.D., were not sufficient to instill in her an appreciation for the risks associated with perjury and fraud.
By the way, she wasn’t even Jewish.
3) Faking racist messages as a political tactic: A black student at St. Peter’s Prep came up with an ingenious technique to try to get elected at a largely white school: He sent racist messages to himself to try to generate a sympathy vote.
The black St. Peter’s Prep student who purportedly received racist text messages warning him to drop out of the Jersey City high school's student government election sent the texts to himself, a school official confirmed last week.
...The 16-year-old was running for president for the Student Council in May when he supposedly received four hateful text messages. He brought them to the attention of school officials who called in his father and police.
"We have NEVER and will NEVER have an (n-word) to lead our school," was one of the messages supposedly sent to the 16-year-old student, who at the time, was a resident in Jersey City.
The message went on to call President Obama by his middle name Hussein and used a racial slur in referring to Obama, a police report said. "We will never make that mistake again. Drop out right now . . ." it continued, a police report said.
A second message read "Whites! Your a waste on this earth, a waste at this school, and most importantly a Waste for this campaign." That message called the student government candidate a "slave" and used a racial slur, a report said.
The third message texted to -- and as it turns out from -- the student, contained a warning to drop out of the race and the fourth read, in part, "COMEONE your black!!! lol your a joke for even trying to run," according to a police report.
The 16-year-old eventually lost the race for student council president but was elected vice president.
…In an interview with The Jersey Journal at the time the texts were sent, the boy’s father said his son was “extremely nervous and feels threatened” and did not want to be interviewed.
"He is the type of boy who does not want any kind of trouble," the father said. "It's so sad. He doesn't want the image of the school to be tainted."
"It is a predominantly white school and there may be a few sections of the school who are fearful of a new face trying to get in office,” the father said at the time.
After a gay server at a New Jersey restaurant said a customer denied her a tip and wrote her a hateful note on the receipt, a local family contacted NBC 4 New York and said their receipt shows they paid a tip and didn’t write any such note.
Dayna Morales, a former Marine and a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, posted a photo on Facebook earlier this month, showing the bill with a line through the space for a tip. The photo of the receipt showed someone had written, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle.”
Morales indicated in her Facebook post, and in subsequent media interviews — including with NBC 4 New York — that the customer wrote that line.
But a family contacted NBC 4 New York claiming their receipt from the restaurant shows they did leave a tip, and provided what they said was a credit card statement as proof.
The husband and wife, who asked to remain anonymous, showed NBC 4 New York a receipt that appeared to be printed at the same minute, on the same date, for the same $93.55 total, except with an $18 tip.
They also provided a document they said was a Visa bill, which appears to indicate their card was charged for the meal plus the tip, for a total of $111.55.
The couple told NBC 4 New York that they believed their receipt was used for a hoax. The wife says she is left-handed and could not have made the slash in the tip line, which she said looks to be drawn from the right.
…They said they came forward because the story of the receipt note didn’t appear to be going away; Morales had recently announced that people were sending her tips from all over the world, and was donating some of the money to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I just felt like people have a right to know that — it’s fine of people (to) want to donate to her or to the Wounded Warriors, but they’re doing it under a false pretense,” the wife said.
5) The Oberlin College Hoax: Michelle Malkin called the scam at her former alma matter, Oberlin, the "hate crime hoax of the year."
Just as I suspected, “progressive” pranksters at Oberlin College have been definitively unmasked as the perpetrators of phony campus “hate crimes” that scored international headlines in March. The blabbermouth academic administrators who helped fuel the hysteria are now running for cover.
The Associated Press, The New York Times, MSNBC, Yahoo News and the Huffington Post were among the media outlets that trumpeted the story of supposed racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism run amok at my alma mater. Throughout the winter, anti-black and anti-gay graffiti, swastikas, and a shadowy figure in a “KKK hood” surfaced on the tiny campus outside Cleveland, Ohio. Black Entertainment Television News decried the hate outbreaks and “KKK sighting.”
...My suspicions about the latest “hate” crime were bolstered by police statements that the “KKK hood”-wearing menace was actually a female student wrapped in a blanket. Hollywood darling and Oberlin alumnus Lena Dunham was undaunted, however, in ginning up emotional calls for Obie solidarity on Twitter, which the AP dutifully reported as “news.” My warnings and reports on previous Obie hoaxes, alas, were not deemed AP-newsworthy.
The orgy of self-flagellation swelled. Liberal grievance-mongers applauded the administration’s decision to shut down classes. Faculty, students and opportunists took to the airwaves and the Internet to bemoan “white privilege,” institutional bigotry, lack of diversity, yada, yada, yada.
And now, the rest of the story. According to police reports published by Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller News Foundation this week, two students had ‘fessed up to most of the incidents (and fellow students suspect they are responsible for all of them). The Oberlin Police Department identified the hoaxers as Dylan Bleier (a student worker bee for President Obama’s Organizing for Action and a member of the Oberlin College Democrats) and Matthew Alden. Bleier told police the pair posted inflammatory signs and a Nazi flag around campus to “joke” and “troll” their peers.
Investigators “caught them red-handed” trying to circulate anti-Muslim fliers, and a search of Bleier’s email confirmed he had used a fake account to harass a female student. Cops told Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, but he failed to pursue any criminal action. The two students were removed from campus before the bogus “KKK” brouhaha and news-making shutdown.
6) A liberal smashes up Colorado Democratic Headquarters: Faking political hate has gotten much more popular on the Left in recent years, but most people don't go to these lengths to try to blame the opposition.
A 24-year-old arrested this morning on suspicion of smashing 11 windows at Colorado Democratic Party headquarters tried to conceal his identity while allegedly committing the crime, according to police descriptions.
Maurice Schwenkler wore a shirt over his face, a hooded sweat shirt and latex gloves before he and another man fled the scene on bicycles, police said. Schwenkler was apprehended after a short chase. The other suspect remains at large.
While Schwenkler does not appear in the state’s voter registration database, a person by that name in November 2008 received $500 from a political 527 committee called Colorado Citizens Coalition for “communications,” according to campaign finance disclosures.
The accountant for the 527 appears to be the same woman who handles the books for many other Democratic-leaning political committees.
A Maurice Schwenkler also signed an online 2005 petition to free anti-war Christian protesters who were captured in Iraq.
State Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak initially blamed the vandalism on animosity surrounding the health care debate, though Denver police declined to comment on possible motives.
7) Matthew Shepherd wasn't murdered for being gay: The Matthew Shepherd case is the most famous "hate crime" of the past couple of decades. There's even a "Matthew Shepard Act" that was signed into law by Barack Obama. Unfortunately, the story most people think they "know" about Matthew Shepherd is about as real as Barack Obama's promises about Obamacare.
Matthew Shepard was the winsome young homosexual in Laramie, Wyoming who in October 1998 was tortured, killed, and left hanging grotesquely from a fence. He was discovered almost a day later and later died in the hospital from his horrific wounds. On the night of October 6, Shepard met “two strangers” in the Fireside Lounge in Laramie. The two men offered Shepard a ride home but instead drove him to a remote area, robbed him, beat him with pistols, and left him splayed on a fence.
Cops found the bloody gun along with Shepard’s shoes and wallet in the truck of the two men — Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. McKinney and Henderson claimed the “gay panic” defense, that they freaked out when Shepard came onto them sexually and killed him in a rage. They made other claims, too, but were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
...Thanks to a new book by an award winning gay journalist we now know that much of this narrative turns out to be false, little more than gay hagiography. As gay journalist Aaron Hicklin, writing in The Advocate asks, “How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that the facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?”
...But what really happened to Matthew Shepard?
He was beaten, tortured, and killed by one or both of the men now serving life sentences. But it turns out, according to Jiminez, that Shepard was a meth dealer himself and he was friends and sex partners with the man who led in his killing. Indeed, his killer may have killed him because Shepard allegedly came into possession of a large amount of methamphetamine and refused to give it up. The book also shows that Shepard’s killer was on a five-day meth binge at the time of the killing.