Last month Inside Higher Ed interviewed me on the subject of faked hate crimes. This month provides another example of one:

Four days before reporting a hate crime that shocked Lincoln, Charlie Rogers made a promise on Facebook.

“I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone,” she wrote July 18. “I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me.”

On July 22, she told police three masked men broke into her home, bound her, cut anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to set the place on fire.

Her story broke down, however, when police investigated and found, e.g.:

  • no evidence of a struggle
  • no blood on the bedspread she said she had been rolled across after being cut across her arms, legs, chest, and abdomen
  • very straight cuts (not indicative of being made during a struggle) that avoided sensitive areas and would have taken a long time to inflict
  • she purchased the implements used in the attack at her local hardware store

But again, the hoax has societal consequences (well beyond wasting law enforcement’s resources) — its victims are the well-meaning people in the community who are unnecessarily frightened and emotionally taken advantage of by a vicious lie:

Thousands of people denounced the attack. Hundreds rallied around the 33-year-old lesbian woman, giving money and holding vigils in Lincoln and Omaha.

News of the attack got play on CNN, NBC, in Sports Illustrated and newspapers across the country. …

Linda Rappl, the neighbor who called 911, said Tuesday she was shocked by Rogers’ arrest.

“I’m just dumbfounded. I’m sick to my stomach. I can’t believe it,” Rappl said. “I’m still having a hard time believing it’s a hoax.”

Rappl said for Rogers to stage a hate crime, then knock on her door looking for help “really shakes my faith in humanity, if it is a hoax.”

Crystal Mangum’s allegations against Duke lacrosse were, of course, the most notorious local example of a hate hoax, but there have been plenty (does anyone remember — it was just last year — the fable about the troll who lived under a footbridge at UNC-Chapel Hill and branded gay people?) As I wrote last year about the Faked Hate Receipt:

“One of the basic principles of dialectics is that there is no such thing as abstract truth, and what is concrete, in which the second dominates the first, characterizes the materialist approach to knowledge and truth.” — V.I. Lenin

When one’s cause becomes so important that actual facts (i.e., the truth) no longer matter, beware the hoax to follow. Especially one that on first glance offers such a perfect example of the problem in society, be it racism, sexism, or even the attitude of the Enemy du Jour, the “1 percent.” The temptation to fake the problem — i.e., to perpetrate the problem upon society yourself in order to “raise awareness” of that same problem you couldn’t find anywhere — is ever stronger among the Left, whose philosophy opposes the idea of concrete, abstract truth in favor of the idea that truth is relative and depends upon what the cultural elite thinks serves the Greater Good at any discrete moment in time.

Variations on the theme of hate hoaxes include the Hate Crime That Wasn’t (particularly effective at NC State) and the far more toxic and personally destructive (since it can’t be refuted) variation, Secondhand Hate.