Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2002 / 13 Teves, 5763

Michelle Malkin

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Hate crime hoax at Ole Miss



http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | A terrible racial incident took place at Trent Lott's alma mater last month. But you won't hear about it from Dan Rather or Time magazine or the Washington Post or the NAACP.

That's because what happened at the University of Mississippi in the early morning hours of Nov. 6 has all the markings of a fake hate crime: An apparent racial hoax committed by black students against black students, but blamed on whites--until the suspects were nabbed last week.

Three black freshmen were accused by the college of scrawling racist graffiti on the doors of two other black students in the Kincannon residence hall on the Oxford campus. Among the hateful epithets: "F-----g N----r" and "F------ Hoe N---r." Also left on walls and doors spanning three floors of the dorm: A tree with a noose and hanging stick figure and vulgar references to genitalia drawn in blue window chalk.

The financial damage was estimated at roughly $600. But the cultural and psychological damage caused by such crude and twisted acts of Tawana Brawleyism is inestimable. The element of racial animus cloaks the hate crime hoax with a false sense of legitimacy. It's a manipulative attempt to exploit old tensions and deflect suspicion from the actual perpetrators.

At the time the racist vandalism appeared, Ole Miss was commemorating the 40th anniversary of desegregation of its classrooms. Local and national observers immediately assumed the vandals were white.

Black students organized a "Say No to Racism" march and demanded more protection against white-on-black harassment. They blasted the school's president for not apologizing quickly enough for the racial slurs. The school's "Minority Affairs" director demanded that the university establish "programs and procedures" to ensure racial sensitivity and prevent hate crimes. The "Institute for Racial Reconciliation" and the "Committee On Sensitivity and Respect" convened meetings. Activists called for criminally prosecuting the perpetrators under state felony laws or federal hate crime statutes.

But now that the race of the suspects has been revealed, some are seeking to minimize the crime as a "prank." The college will not be bringing criminal charges against the trio. Instead, each suspect faces charges involving five violations of the student code of conduct--not only for the racially explosive vandalism, but also for allegedly making false and misleading statements to investigators.

That's right. It wasn't enough for these accused sickos to adopt racial terror tactics, destroy property, cast false suspicion on others, and cast doubt on all bona fide victims of such perfidy. They apparently tried to lie their way out of it, too.

The Daily Mississippian student newspaper noted that an "irritated Chancellor Robert Khayat said the entire situation was 'regrettable,' but it taught the university community that no members 'should engage in abusive behavior' and 'before we jump to conclusions and start condemning groups of people, we should know what happened.'"

All well and good, but why allow a double standard of justice to prevail? If the attackers had been white, they faced possible federal prison time. Because the suspects are black, the most serious consequence they face is expulsion. Welcome to equal treatment under the law, 2002-style.

Where is the uproar over the hoaxers' callous use of lynching imagery and flagrant exploitation of the N-word--at Ole Miss of all places? And where is the national press on this matter? Fake hate crimes are an abhorrently common phenomenon on modern college campuses, where race-consciousness reigns in such a poisonous way that it would make integrationists weep. "Students of color" are herded into separate dorms, separate departments, and separate graduation ceremonies.

Segregation is back all right. But while the media elite's crack reporters are busy rummaging through the dustbins of old history in an effort to paint all conservatives as racially insensitive relics, they continue to ignore one of the outrageous race scandals of the 21st century: how the young beneficiaries of the civil rights movement are squandering and desecrating its legacy of equal respect and justice for all.

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JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores". To comment, please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate