by Frances Quaempts-Miller
“When I’m down and I feel like giving up…I whip my hair back and forth.”-Willow Smith
When I first learned of the latest hate crime hoax involving Amari Allen, a 12 year old African American preteen, I was watching the sometimes salacious national news show “Inside Edition” with my wife. Allen appeared on screen as a brave victim who was seemingly attacked by three white boys because of her “nappy” hair. Though something about the story just didn’t seem right, the part of me that knows what it’s like to have my hair ridiculed and touched without permission, won out. I decided to believe the narrative knowing there was potential for a hate hoax.
Confirmation bias for some people comes from a place of real experience. I have no doubt that many black people, women in particular, felt the sting of bad memories when Allen’s story hit the screens. Hate crime hoaxes are often initially believed because they sound plausible to those who have dealt with similar circumstances. Even the awful Tawana Brawley gang rape hoax, where she claimed racist words were written on her body and was left for dead in a trash bag, could seem likely because of the harm violently racist whites caused African Americans during slavery times and beyond. Blacks and other people of color learn as kids to be on the look-out for racial denigration so the past isn’t repeated.
Author and university professor Wilfred Reilly published the book “Hate Crime Hoax: The Left’s Campaign to Sell a Fake Race War,” this year and has over forty four pages of notes related to such hoaxes. Chapters in his book include discussions on fake religious, gender, and LGBT incidents, hoaxes related to bias against President Trump, white hoaxers, and of course college campus incidents. Reilly notes that these false hate crimes perpetuate a vision of what he calls the “Continuing Oppression Narrative,” that keeps blacks and leftist race activists in a constant state of “doom laden” analysis. Continue reading