The Flaw in this Racial Hoax: She Spelled One Name Right–Her Own

racial hoax on campus surfaced this week, this one at University of
Wisconsin-Parkside.  WTMJ reported on
Feb 2nd that a noose had been found in a residence hall on the previous
afternoon, then threatening notes had been sent to the person who reported the
initial incident the next morning, along with other African American students.

university moved swiftly, with investigations and meetings involving
UW-Parkside police, campus public safety officers, the “office of diversity and
inclusion,” and the dean of students.  The university claimed that “the
individual who reported the first incident is cared for,” and administrators
held meetings with 30 students “to hear their concerns.”

day later, WTMJ
student reactions.  One targeted student said, “I’m all
cried out.  I don’t know where to go from here.”  Another said, “Oh
you scheduled to die in two days.  I don’t know where to go.  I don’t
want to go to class.  I don’t want to graduate anymore.  Why? 
Because I fear I’m going to die.”  The school beefed up security and added
five UW-Milwaukee officers to patrol the residence halls.  Students had to
start signing in and out of the dorms.

came this story
two days later.  A student confessed that she made up the threatening
letters, although she says she had nothing to do with the original rubber-band
noose.  She carried out the hoax, she claimed, because the original
threat, the noose, wasn’t taken seriously enough.  (It isn’t fully clear
that the string of rubber-bands did, in fact, signify a noose.)  She has
been removed from campus and is facing charges of disorderly conduct and
obstructing an officer.  She sent one threatening note to herself, and one
reason she was suspected by the police was that her name was the only name
spelled correctly on the “hit list.”

Interim dean of Students says that “the school is re-evaluating how it handles
racist incidents in the future.”  One wonders what this means. 
Meanwhile, we can speculate on how a student concluded that insufficient
attention to a hate crime warranted upping the situation by fabricating death
threats and bringing the entire campus under fear and surveillance. 

It’s a curious development.  Think about it.  The
student didn’t object to the presumed initial neglect by contacting the
administration, contacting reporters, protesting to student groups, or in any
other way working through channels to highlight how awful the “noose” event
was.  If she had, others would have listened and responded.  But
instead, she adopted the same type of crime, amplifying it to dangerous
degrees, interrupting lives, mobilizing police forces, and prompting disturbing
news stories.  That she frightened African American students–we shouldn’t
dismiss their fear as overwrought; death threats are shocking–that she became
the instrument of terror, and felt entirely right and proper in doing so speaks
to more than just one individual’s distorted sense of truth and justice. 
We should extend the case to the climate of race on college campuses today.


  • Mark Bauerlein

    Mark Bauerlein is a professor emeritus of English at Emory University and an editor at First Things, where he hosts a podcast twice a week. He is the author of five books, including The Dumbest Generation Grows Up: From Stupefied Youth to Dangerous Adults.

9 thoughts on “The Flaw in this Racial Hoax: She Spelled One Name Right–Her Own

  1. Yes, Ted. A black committed a hate crime, and she was not charge for it. Usually, on the rare occasion that a white person does something like she did, he goes go jail, the bail is high, and he sits there until his trial. Then he goes to prison.
    But a non-white? For them, the rules are DIFFERENT!
    Swastika Girl at GWU turns out to be Jewess.
    As soon as the authorities and the media learned that the perpetrator was Jewish, they stopped calling for her arrest for terroristic hate crimes and began saying, instead, that “she needs to get some help.”
    The rules really are different for non-whites, and for this purpose, Jews count as non-whites.

  2. It’s so sad that SOME young African Americans thinking is so off base and distorted that they resort to this kind of hurtful activitiy.

  3. The vast majority of these types of incidents are false. In fact, they are usually raciest attacks on whites. It’s uncertain why blacks do this, but IMHO, it is used to explain failure by people that are in situations that are over their heads.
    Standard testing data show that the “lack of opportunity” explanation does not hold up.

  4. She can’t spell, but was admitted to the University of Wisconsin because she’s black. Some white guy that is much smarter was turned away so this white hating black woman could be admitted. Isn’t that blatant racism?

  5. Once again, life imitates art. The student who carried out the hoax is merely reenacting the events in the distinguished play of several years back, “Spinning Into Butter.” The play should be performed at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside and made required viewing for the Diversity Police as well as for students at Freshman orientation.

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