Racism is real like a tree is real. Racial slurs, racial agitation, all that is real. Like anything else, it can be manipulated for political gain; racist incidents can be invented and propagated, accusations of racism (the deadliest there are these days, enough to wreck a life, an institution, a career) can be made up; when that happens, it’s fair to speak of propaganda, isn’t it? In the abstract, at least, right?
After Donald Trump last year became a candidate to the U.S. presidency, I noticed a trend of false accusations of racism: literally fake news. So I started to keep tabs. I wrote them down and made a list. I never trawled the Internet looking for this; it’s just stuff I kept coming across, that I kept notes of. For a longer, more comprehensive list, for which I can’t vouch, you can check here for example; or here, for one from a more controversial source.
Without further comment, raw as it is and in rough chronological order, with sources attached in each case, this is the list as it currently stands:
-In April 2016, black students were identified as the people behind a recent racist drawing found at Salisbury University’s library, school officials confirmed. The image, found April 10 on a whiteboard in Blackwell Library, showed a stick figure being hung and labeled with a racial slur. Underneath was the hashtag “#whitepower.” Huffington Post, 28.4.16
-In March 2016, Seattle’s Africatown Center was vandalized with swastikas and pro-Trump graffiti. An East African, a former employee, eventually confessed to have done it. Seattle.gov, 16.3.16
-Slate reported on Dec. 14, 2016: Nearly two weeks after what appeared to be a horrifying incident on the New York City subway, the NYPD announced that an apparent hate crime never happened, and Muslim teenager Yasmin Seweid made up the story that she was harassed by three drunk white men on the subway who shouted Trump slogans and tried to pull off her hijab. The 18-year-old has been charged with filing a false report and obstructing governmental administration.
-A 19-year-old US-Israeli citizen was arrested in southern Israel on suspicion of carrying out a wave of telephone bomb threats targeting Jewish centers and communities around the world. The months-long, multi-agency investigation led Israel Police’s International Crime Investigations Unit to the city of Ashkelon, where the suspect and his father were arrested. Various media, 23.3.17
-Florida man Vincent Palmer faked a pro-Trump KKK hate crime, set his ex’s car on fire, and then staged his own kidnapping in ransom note covered with his blood; the note for her and their four children, who are all under the age of five, had the words ‘KKK’ and ‘Trump’ written on it: ‘I HAVE WATHED [ sic ] YOU FOR A LONG TIME YOU AND YOUR N***** KIDS DON’T Belong,’ read the note left at her Ormond Beach, Florida home. Palmer, who is black, then fled but returned when ex-wife Staci Winn, who is white, called him to reveal what happened, at which point he was arrested on a warrant for failure to pay child support. He was released on Sunday at which point he faked how own kidnapping, again implying it was the work of the KKK. Police located him by pinging his telephone and tracing it to a nearby Burger King, at which point he confessed to setting the fire and leaving the note. Daily Mail, 13.12.16
-The subjects of a TV documentary series about the Ku Klux Klan abruptly canceled last week by A&E allege to Variety that significant portions of what was filmed were fabricated by the producers. The KKK leaders who were interviewed by Variety detailed how they were wooed with promises the program would capture the truth about life in the organization; encouraged not to file taxes on cash payments for agreeing to participate in the filming; presented with pre-scripted fictional story scenarios; instructed what to say on camera; asked to misrepresent their actual identities, motivations and relationships with others, and re-enacted camera shoots repeatedly until the production team was satisfied. The production team even paid for material and equipment to construct and burn wooden crosses and Nazi swastikas, according to multiple sources. Variety, Dec16.
-Police in January 2017 said it found no evidence to confirm a November report that a teacher bullied and assaulted a Muslim kindergartener at David Cox Road Elementary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced, the Charlotte Observer reported. Principal Celeste Spears-Ellis notified parents that the accused teacher has returned to the classroom after the District Attorney’s Office found “no evidence of an assault other than the complainant’s report” and no grounds for criminal charges. The incident made national news in November when the Council on American-Islamic Rights wrote to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction alleging that the teacher “continuously harassed and recently assaulted” a 5-year-old boy in her class. The letter, dated Nov. 21, said the teacher had grabbed the boy by the neck and choked him on Nov. 16. It said she had also failed to prevent classmates from bullying the boy and forced him to carry a large backpack filled with textbooks and headphones. The letter named another teacher who reportedly separated the two after the choking incident and consoled the boy.
-A 14-year-old Muslim girl who claimed she was pushed in front of a train simply for wearing a headscarf has been challenged after police checked CCTV tapes. The girl, identified only as Sinem, claimed on social media she had been called a ‘terrorist’ and was pushed onto the tracks by a man who had taken offence at her headscarf at a railway station in the Austrian capital of Vienna. She told an online anti-racism forum she was only saved at the ‘last second’ by another man who pulled her onto the platform before the S-Bahn train arrived at Wien-Döbling station. The girl, whose parents are originally from Turkey, said she was taken to hospital with minor injuries and her parents filed a criminal complaint after hearing what had happened. But The Local reported that Vienna police spokesman Irina Steirer said officers had searched through tapes of CCTV cameras on the platform and found no trace of the incident the girl described. The Daily Mail, 19.1.17
-The Anne Arundel County Police Department on Jan’17 charged a 14-year-old African-American girl with a juvenile citation for sending a threatening tweet related to Arundel High School. Police began their investigation after Arundel High School officials told them about a suspicious Twitter account. The account, named @KoolkidsKlanKkk, reportedly sent out a tweet that read, “We’re planning to attack tomorrow”. This account used similar language to a racial petition that had been passed around Anne Arundel High School by the “Kool Kids Klan”. Police worked with Twitter, and were able to identify the person who created the account and sent out the threatening tweet.
-When four black teenagers kidnapped a retarded white boy and tortured him live on Facebook in Jan 2017 while saying he was was paying for being a white Trump supporter, this is how CBS radio described this (Jan 7), so it would look like four whites attacking a black kid: “The viral video of a beating and knife attack in Chicago suggests the assault had racial overtones. CBS’s Dean Reynolds tells us the victim is described as a mentally-challenged teenager. In the video he is choked and repeatedly called the n-word. His clothes are slashed and he is terrorized with a knife. His alleged captors repeatedly reference Donald Trump. Police are holding four people in connection with the attack.”
-In March17, The Intercept published this: “We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking. These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted. We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what is included in the criminal complaint. Thompson worked for The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired after we discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.”
-On 25.2.17, the Daily Caller reported that a black waitress who received thousands of dollars in donations after she claimed she received a racist note and no tip from a patron last month fabricated the incident, the customer claims. Kelly Carter, a waitress at Anita’s New Mexico Cafe in Ashburn, Va., claimed that a white man stiffed her on his $30.52 restaurant bill and wrote “Great service, don’t tip black people” at the bottom of his receipt.
-A 21-year-old Ann Arbor woman pleaded guilty as charged to one count of false report of a misdemeanor in 15th District Court on Monday, March 6. Halley Bass admitted in court that she fabricated a story about a strange man scratching her face in downtown Ann Arbor on Nov. 15… At the time, Bass claimed her attack was part of the surge in hate crimes following the election of Donald Trump a week earlier. She told police she was targeted for wearing a solidarity pin connected to Great Britain’s “Brexit” vote. Mlive, March17
-Vandals not responsible for dozens of tipped graves at Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn, management says. Police and the general manager of a Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn said that 42 fallen headstones were not caused by vandals, saying Sunday that the memorials had naturally tipped over due to age — though some elected officials were calling for an investigation, anyway. “It definitely was not vandalism,” Marisa Tarantino, general manager of the Washington Cemetery on Bay Parkway in Midwood, told reporters. New York Daily News, 5.3.17
-The day after Trump won the 2016 election, a University of Louisiana Lafayette student who said she was physically attacked and robbed of her wallet and hijab made up the story, according to the Lafayette Police Department. Public Information Officer Karl Ratcliff told media police were reviewing the possibility of charging the 18-year-old student with filing a false police report. The young woman filed a police report claiming two white males approached her near the campus, in the 100 block of Smith Street, around 11 a.m. The 18-year-old woman told investigators she was walking near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s campus Wednesday morning — hours after Donald Trump’s presidential victory — when she was accosted by two white men who drove up in a gray sedan, Lafayette police said in a statement. The student said the men struck her with a metal object, knocking her down, and stole her wallet and the headscarf, known as a hijab. She also said the men shouted racial obscenities as they struck her several times in the back. She also claimed one of the males was wearing a Donald Trump hat and they both yelled racial obscenities at her, police said. As police began to investigate the student’s claims they did not locate any witnesses or surveillance video to corroborate her story. The story of her false attack went viral overnight, gaining the attention of national media outlets.
-All of this reported by media 21.12.16, a Mississippi man arrested in the burning of an African-American church that was spray-painted with the words “Vote Trump” is a member of the congregation, the church’s bishop said. Andrew McClinton, 45, of Leland, Mississippi, was charged Wednesday with first degree arson of a place of worship, said Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. McClinton is African-American. Youtube hoaxer goes viral by falsely claiming to have been kicked off a Delta flight for speaking another language.Ann Arbor police say a report of ethnic intimidation involving a woman wearing a hijab did not actually happen. According to police, a University of Michigan student told police on she was approached by a man who threatened to set her hijab on fire if she didn’t remove it. It happened on Nov. 11. She then said the suspect pulled out a lighter, so she removed her hijab before he ran away on foot. Police say detectives have been working with the U of M Police Department and the FBI. They have conducted multiple interviews and reviewed multiple surveillance videos. “During the investigation, numerous inconsistencies in the statements provided by the alleged victim were identified,” police said in a release. Detectives then determined the incident did not happen. Jasskirat Saini, of Souh Asian descent, was arrested Tuesday by Nassau County Police following an investigation into the drawing swastikas and writing of “KKK” on a college campus. ABC7 reports that the swastikas were first found at Nassau Community College on a men’s bathroom on Oct. 15 and later that month several more were found. In December there were two more incidents of swastika graffiti. Nassau County Police found Saini Tuesday writing two swastikas on the exterior of a building and “KKK” on the floor of another, ABC7 reports. Saini is being charged with Aggravated Harassment and according to ABC7 this charge is in connection with 110 anti-Semitic drawings. Initial media coverage of the discovery of swastikas tied it to the election of Donald Trump. The Long Island Press wrote, “Although three of the incidents occurred before Nov. 8, the latest discovery has further troubled minority and Jewish groups amid a surge of hate crimes across the country following the election of Donald Trump.” Babson College has cleared two students of any disciplinary violations stemming from their controversial drive through Wellesley College to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory the day after the presidential election, their lawyers said. The students, Parker Rand-Ricciardi and Edward Tomasso, faced accusations of harassment and disorderly conduct before the college’s honor board. The Nov. 9 incident sparked a post-election uproar, fueled by accusations on social media that the men spat on a Wellesley student and yelled racial and homophobic slurs while parked in front of Harambee House, a campus gathering place for African-American students. Rand-Riccardi and Tomasso denied the allegations, and an investigation by Babson found no evidence the men did anything other than drive through the campus waving a Trump flag out the truck window and yelling “Make America Great Again.” They are not facing criminal charges. On late Dec, NYPD was searching for a man who they believe committed at least two bias attacks in Bed-Stuy earlier this month, confronting his victims and asking about their ethnicity and religion before punching them in the face; he was caught on security cameras and turned out to be black. Also, history has taught us to be wary of “you won’t believe the offensive message written on this restaurant receipt” stories. The one in New Jersey was a hoax, the one in California was a hoax, and the one in Tennessee is sketchy, with a handwriting expert saying the writing on the receipt doesn’t match the customer’s. The gay slur on the cake from Whole Foods was a hoax. That “YouTube prankster” who claimed he was thrown off the plane for speaking Arabic? Other passengers say he was being disruptive and was only thrown off for repeatedly shouting. There are lesser-covered cases, too: Vincent Palmer, 27, told detectives he taped a note with racial slurs and the words “KKK” and “Trump” written on it to his ex-girlfriend’s mailbox early Saturday before throwing a brick through her car window and dousing the back seat in gasoline because they were having problems over the custody of their children, according to an arrest report. In South Philadelphia, a group residents found racist, Nazi and pro-Trump graffiti spray-painted on their homes and cars the morning after the election. The perpetrator was a 58-year-old African-American man. It’s not just the Left, of course; a New York City firefighter said his house was set aflame because he had a “Blue Lives Matter” flag outside. Earlier this month, he was charged with arson, setting his own house on fire. Jim Geraghty wrote a good summary of all this in National Review, 23.12.16.
-Arab NYC college student lied to cops, claiming racists abducted him in harrowing robbery: A Queens college student who told cops he was thrown into a van and robbed by three masked men yelling racial slurs made up the chilling attack, police said Saturday. Police declined to provide details about why Farooqi lied, but said he recanted his entire story. No word on whether [or] not he will be charged with false reporting. NY Daily News, 27.5.17
-St. Olaf College’s president told the campus Wednesday that a fellow student confessed to writing a note with racist and threatening content and admitted that it was “fabricated” as an apparent “strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate”… The students had been protesting racism at the school in Northfield, Minn., since the weekend, when a black student reported having found a note on the windshield of her car that read: “I am so glad that you are leaving soon. One less n—– that this school has to deal with. You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up.” Samantha Wells, the black student who received the note, is believed to have written it, together with other similar notes. Star Tribune, 10.5.17
-A 52-year-old black man is being charged with destruction of property after allegedly getting caught spray-painting a swastika inside campus living quarters, Fox5 reported Oct. 16. Officials for the school discovered the swastika on a trash cart inside the fifth floor of Hagerstown Hall.
-In the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017, the otherwise quiet campus of Eastern Michigan University was hit by three ugly incidents of vandalism targeting blacks that rocked the community…. “It really has rocked our community,” Judith Kullberg, an EMU political scientist and president of the faculty senate told The Washington Post. “In this whole context of a very tense presidential election it has raised anxiety here considerably.” In the spring, a third racist message was left in a men’s restroom stall. Coming as other campuses were being hit by similar acts of what appeared to be hate vandalism, the incidents sparked protests and made national news. On Tuesday, the university was shaken again when police announced that a 29-year-old black man, a former student, had been charged with all three crimes… Campus police noted that they had committed more than 1,080 hours of time to investigating the incidents, with the help of the FBI and the Michigan State Police, among others. Washington Post, 24.10.17
-On Nov 7, 2017, Denver 7 News reported: Air Force Academy Prep School: Black cadet admitted to writing racist remarks on dorm doors – One of the black cadets allegedly targeted by racial slurs scrawled on a whiteboard at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School was responsible for the incident, Air Force Academy officials announced Tuesday. Officials say the cadet admitted to writing the messages on the whiteboard outside the dorm rooms of five black cadet candidates. The cadet is no longer at the school… The episode prompted a quick response by academy officials, including superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, who gave an impassioned speech condemning racism. (The same day, a linebacker named Jelani Bland was transferred to a different team, from Air Force)
-‘Date Your Own Kind.’ Man Put Racist Graffiti On His Own Car, Police Say By Associated Press Nov 7, 2017 (MANHATTAN, Kan.) — A black Kansas man has admitted he put racist graffiti on his own car as a Halloween prank that got out of hand, police said Monday. Photographs posted on social media Wednesday showed the car covered with racial slurs against blacks and messages that included “Go Home,” ”Date your own kind,” and “Die.” The vehicle, covered in graffiti scrawled with washable paint, was parked Wednesday at an apartment complex near Kansas State University and the incident fueled racial tensions at the university and in the community. An emergency meeting of the Black Student Union called that evening drew concerned administrators and community leaders as well as students. Kansas State held a Facebook Live event the next day with worried parents. The university stepped up patrols on campus. The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into a possible hate crime. But on Monday the Riley County Police Department issued a news release saying the 21-year-old owner of the vehicle, Dauntarius Williams, had told investigators that he was responsible for the graffiti.
-In October, a Jewish ceremonial tent was destroyed (in Kansas State University). Initially, it was investigated as anti-Semitic vandalism. Authorities later concluded the tent was damaged during inclement weather. Topeka Capital Journal, Nov 9, 2017.
-The vandalism at five Morristown-area churches with predominantly black congregations that were attacked on November 2017 was not motivated by bias, the Morris County Prosecutor said in a prepared statement Sunday evening. The damage was allegedly caused by one man, who was a former congregant of one of the churches, Fredric M. Knapp, the Morris County prosecutor, said. “As a result of the investigation, no evidence was obtained that would indicate this was a bias incident which legally requires purpose to intimidate a person or group based upon their protected class,” Knapp said. Zuri C. Towns, 45, of Morristown was arrested and charged with four fourth degree counts of criminal mischief, and one third degree count of criminal mischief. Morristown Daily record, 27.11.17.
-A sailor who claimed someone scrawled racial slurs on his bed aboard an aircraft carrier —sparking a viral Facebook post in the process — staged the incident himself, the Navy said Friday. Marquie Little, a 27-year-old African American seaman, posted photos to Facebook on Nov. 15 under an alias that showed his rack on the carrier George H.W. Bush covered in trash and racial slurs… The sailor’s Facebook post had drawn nearly 20,500 shares as of Friday… The Navy incident follows another one this fall at the Air Force Academy preparatory school, where racial slurs were found written on the dorm message boards of five black cadet candidates. The Air Force later said that one of those five black cadet candidates had admitted to writing the slurs. US Navy Times, 8.12.17