Former President George W. Bush once famously said, “Fool me once, shame on you… fool me, we can’t get fooled again.” He was talking (or at least trying to) about terrorism, but by now the same rule of thumb should be used whenever there is an allegation of overtly racist statements being made, especially if it is in the form of graffiti in an academic setting.
For several years now those of us who actually pay attention to the details and follow the conclusion of these types of stories, have noticed a very discernable pattern. Something horribly racist is found on the campus of a college or high school, there is immediate outrage from the media and those in charge of the school, and then later it is quietly admitted, usually begrudgingly and with very little media attention, that the stories weren’t at all as they were first portrayed to be.
The “Poop Swastika” at Missouri, and the “Racist Bananas” in New Jersey and Mississippi will always be among my favorites, though NBA superstar Lebron James getting away with claiming one and then having the story inexplicably disappear forever may be the all-time champion. Already this week we have seen two more major episodes conclude after following a remarkably similar script.
One of these first broke back in September at the Air Force Academy, where five black students in their prep school dorm found racial slurs printed on the doors of their rooms. At the time, the school’s superintendent (a white man) was universally praised for immediately giving a fiery speech to the entire corps of cadets and the school’s staff in which he declared to them, “You should be outraged!” The tweet the Air Force Academy sent out of the speech, in which he urges the racists within their midst to “get out,” was retweeted 60,000 times. Clips of the speech were aired on most national newscasts.
At the time, I was instantly very skeptical of this entire narrative and I tweeted, too conservatively, that I thought there was at least a 55% chance that this incident was actually some sort of hoax. At the time, it was retweeted twice, I believe.
Chances this was done as “hoax,” like many other college situations: 55%
What Air Force guy is going to throw career away for this insanity? https://t.co/CPLEVYeeHv
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) September 29, 2017
As it turns out, I was right and the superintendent of the Air Force Academy made a huge scene out of something which had nothing to do with racism against black people. Just as has happened in many other similar circumstances, it was one of the alleged “victims,” a black student, who had written the offending slurs on the dorm doors (though good luck being able to easily discern that reality from much of the meager news coverage of this revelation).
Any thinking person who is not immersed in the cultural of political correctness (or a white guy looking to save his job as the head of a government-run school by grandstanding for the news media) could easily see that this was the most likely scenario. It simply makes no sense for a non-black guy hoping to gain admission to a military academy to throw his life away by doing something so incredibly stupid and easily proven. Also, it struck me as odd that a non-black person in that situation would know exactly which five dorm rooms were where the black students were being housed and not get immediately caught for having written on all of their doors.
A very similar situation also occurred over the past few days at Kansas State University. There, “racist graffiti” was found on the car of a black student, causing immediate outrage from students and strong condemnation from the school’s president (who, “shockingly,” is another white male terrified of being burned at the stake, like the president of University of Missouri was, if he doesn’t immediately rush to what is inevitably a false judgement).
When it turned out a few days later that the culprit was actually the black male “victim,” one can only imagine the shock on the faces of the “special snowflakes” within academia who actually believe in a world where white people still go around schools and randomly target black people with horrific racial slurs for the world to see. Amazingly, the authorities seemed to admit to being very concerned about offending these sensibilities when they announced that the black man, “in the interest of the greater good,” and so as to not “add to the emotional turmoil,” would NOT be charged in the incident.
Very often these situations end up happening because a someone is either looking to create a distraction for some reason, or paint themselves as a victim. In a nation where victimhood is now, sadly, among our greatest virtues, this scenario, as bizarre as it seems, is often the most likely, and yet those involved keep getting duped. This phenomenon is obviously not something exclusive to black people, it’s just that the “rules” society has set up, especially in academia, usually make it easiest for that group to take advantage. If white people thought they could get away with it, I am sure that we would see the same type of behavior.
The news media, filled with politically correct liberals who love a good racism narrative, like Charlie Brown getting tricked by Lucy pulling away his football, fall for this every single time. Of course, part of why it keeps happening is that there is very little, if any, price to pay when it turns out these stories are false. The retraction is a minor deal, quickly discarded with no follow up, and with the general consensus/rationalization being their intentions were good and there was “no harm, no foul.”
However, these stories actually do extreme harm to race relations both as they are being fraudulently birthed, and again when they are ultimately quietly put in their graves. As is so often the case, the only winners are news media who get an easy ratings-friendly story, and the liberal white male academics who get to keep their jobs by falsely blaming the wrong people.
John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at email@example.com.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.