Manufactured Outrage

There is a manufactured outrage circulating at Purdue University.

Perhaps it was an hysterical personality, rather than actual malice, that started it. The words “White Power” were found on a mirror in the Black Cultural Center. This led to major outrage and a march on the Administration building demanding action against racism.

When it turned out that the words on the mirror were left over from a class in which they were written for some didactic purpose, another outrage conveniently appeared. “[P]olice are investigating an incident in which a racial slur was written on one of the posters left behind by the group,” today’s newspaper reports. It’s being treated as a hate crime “since property was altered or destroyed and the conduct was apparently motivated by bias.”

I’d bet a modest amount – say, lunch at a downtown eatery – that if they find who wrote the stick figure, it will prove to have been a person of color, not some cracker.

I’d bet a larger amount that there will be no criminal prosecution because the posters left behind by the demonstrators were abandoned property. You cannot steal (or vandalize) abandoned property, as the publishers of a “conservative” free paper discovered  on another campus when “liberal” students methodically appropriated and destroyed every copy of one issue. When they put the free paper in the kiosk, they were abandoning it, so the reasoning went. When the demonstrators left their posters behind, they were abandoning them (and violating an anti-littering part of the student code?).

I would not bet you anything that if a white person is identified as the writer, he (or less likely, she) will not be expelled, though there’s no crime. That’s how hysteria a victimology works.

But I would again bet a modest amount that if the writer is found to be a person of color, he or she will not be expelled for the hoax, even though that, too, should be a serious violation of the student code of conduct.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.