Fostering fake hate on campus
American college campuses are the most fertile grounds for fake hate. They're marinated in identity politics and packed with self-indulgent tenured radicals suspended in the 1960s. In the name of enlightenment and tolerance, these institutions of higher learning breed a corrosive culture of left-wing self-victimization.
Take my alma mater, Oberlin College.
Last week, the famously “progressive” college in Ohio made international headlines when it shut down classes after a series of purported hate crimes. According to the Oberlin Review (a student newspaper I once wrote for), anti-black and anti-gay vandalism/hate speech have plagued the campus since Feb. 9.
“Whites Only” was written above a water fountain; a black slur was written inside an elevator and on a bathroom door at one dormitory, according to the publication.
The final straw? A menacing person on campus allegedly donned a “KKK hood” and robe near the segregated black dormitory.
Oberlin President Marvin Krislov and three college deans ostentatiously published an “open letter” announcing the administration's decision to “suspend formal classes and non-essential activities.” The campus body immediately jumped to conclusions and indulged in collective grievance-mongering.
The New York Times, Black Entertainment Television and The Associated Press all piled on with angst-ridden coverage of the puzzling crimes at one of the first U.S. colleges to admit blacks and women. But what the AP and the Oberlin Mau-Mau-ers didn't report is the rest of the story. City police told a local reporter that eyewitnesses saw no one in KKK garb but instead saw a pedestrian wearing a blanket.
Moreover, after arresting two students involved in the spate of hate messages left around campus, police said “it is unclear if they were motivated by racial hatred or — as has been suggested — were attempting a commentary on free speech.”
The truth is that Oberlin has been a hotbed of dubious hate-crime claims, dating back to the late 1980s and 1990s, when I was a student on campus. In 1988, giant signs reading in part “White Supremacy Rules” were hung anonymously at the Student Union building. It has long been suspected that minority students themselves were responsible.
In 1993, a memorial arch on campus dedicated to Oberlin missionaries who died in the Boxer Rebellion was defaced with anti-Asian graffiti. But this was concocted by an Asian-American Oberlin student engaged in the twisted pursuit of raising awareness about hate by faking it.
In 2006, I went back to Oberlin to confront the campus with the hate-crime-hoax phenomenon. As I told students, liberals see racism where it doesn't exist, fabricate it when they can't find it and ignore it within their own ranks. I documented case after case of phony racism and contrasted it with the vitriolic prejudice that lefties have for minorities who stray from the political plantation.
The response from “students of color”? They took offense, of course, and characterized my speech as self-hating hate. Just as their coddling faculty and college elders have taught them to do.
Mix together identity politics, multicultural studies, cowardly administrators and biased media, and you get a toxic recipe for opportunistic hate-crime hoaxes. Welcome to high-priced, higher mis-education, made and manufactured in the USA.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).