The rise of “fake hate”—false reports of crime reported by individuals claiming to be victims of crimes committed by a certain group—is a deeply troubling phenomenon.
There was a spike of these stories following the election of Donald Trump, most of which were stories spun by college students who claimed they were victims of verbal or physical attacks that were racially motivated. A detailed list of fake hate crimes can be found here at the College Fix.
The common thread in these stories is that the phony assailant is always a member of the oppressor class, a white male. That no longer is the case.
Last week, 26-year-old Joshua Witt claimed he was attacked by antifascists who mistook him for a Neo-Nazi. On Monday, a Denver news station reported that Witt admitted to police that he made up the story. (Video surveillance shows that Witt purchased a knife from a store minutes before he reported the attack.)
A normal person might ask: What the hell is going on?
The phenomenon appears to be linked to the fetishization of victimhood, a culture that exists on many college campuses. In this culture, fragility is celebrated because it confers onto the “victim” a special status.
Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says there is a theory behind the victimhood culture.
It’s called “intersectionality.” This theory posits that racism, sexism, classism, ableism, etc. are interconnected, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing. Together they form a “matrix of oppression.” This matrix is not visible to all of us because elites disguised it via manufactured concepts. Examples include “reason,” and “evidence,” which are supposedly objective, but in fact can be masculinist, heterosexist, and colonialist “ways of knowing.”
Sommers said that this philosophy (if it can be called that) has resulted in “a mad scramble for victim status” because “it confers authority and prestige” on the alleged victim.
Now it appears that the right is adopting the victimhood culture. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise.
For years, the right has been debating the wisdom of adopting the Saul Alinsky playbook, long the gold standard of the radical left. Prudent voices on the right advised against employing Alinsky’s ideas and tactics, noting they would likely fuel and hasten social instability. But clearly the right is watching and learning.
In a nation saturated in identity politics, perhaps the rise of fake hate should not come as a surprise. But it seems like a pretty sad development.
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.