Politics Other White Lies
posted by October 25 at 11:16 AMon
The conversation my brother started below about believing or not believing accusations of rape is complicated. The pendulum has swung from blame-the-victim to assume-the-accused-is-guilty not just in the area of sexual violence, but in “hate crimes” in general, as a case here at Northwestern demonstrated a couple of years ago.
An Hispanic male freshman had “die spic” and some other stuff appear on the message board outside his room in one of the dorms. Understandable uproar ensues, much wringing of hands.
The next week: he says someone jumps him, puts a knife to his throat and makes some threats.
I hear this story before it hits the Daily Northwestern and immediately, in front of witnesses, say, “Bullshit. Never happened. Kid made it up.” Why? My son-of-a-cop instinct about criminals and the nature of different sorts of crimes. Someone who’d write something mean and hateful and prejudiced and bad anonymously on a message board was a coward, not someone who’d jump out of some bushes with a fucking knife at 2 in the morning. And the kid couldn’t identify the attacker, race or height or weight. Claimed to be too freaked out.
But after my initial expression of doubt, I kept my peace—wouldn’t want to appear insensitive to hate crimes. News coverage, student marches against hate etc, ensue. Kid gives impassioned speech against hate crimes, becomes campus hero.
A few weeks later, turns out the kid was lying. He wrote the slurs on his own board, he made up the knife attack. He wanted to be a campus leader and expose how evil hate crimes were. He gets kicked out of school and prosecuted for filing false police reports.
Lesson learned: anyone can lie. Facts are facts. Reserve judgment about serious matters until you know some facts.
Y’all remember Susan Smith, don’t you?