And so here we are again. For hardly the first time this year, we are learning that a supposedly-racist scandal that rocked an institution of learning was merely a hoax. You may remember that the media went wild in September when racist messages appeared on a whiteboard at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School. The messages, which said vile things like “Go home n***er,” were apparently written to terrorize a group of African-American cadet candidates in their dormitory.
Now, however, it has been revealed that “one of the cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School allegedly targeted by racist remarks has been found responsible for the act.” According to a local news station, the student in question has left the academy.
“We can confirm that one of the cadet candidates who was allegedly targeted by racist remarks written outside of their dorm room was actually responsible for the act,” said school spokesperson Lt. Col. Allen Herritage. “The individual admitted responsibility and this was validated by the investigation.”
When news of the messages first broke, they inspired Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria to give a rousing speech in front of the school’s staff and students where he denounced the “horrible language” used in the graffiti. He encouraged everyone in attendance to get our their phones and tape the speech “so you can use it, so that we all have the moral courage together.” He turned his attention to any lingering racists on campus, saying “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”
Videos of the speech went viral, attracting millions of views on YouTube and earning Silveria praise from politicians like Joe Biden and John McCain. And to be sure, there’s nothing in Silveria’s speech that necessarily looks foolish in retrospect – surely, he stands by his assertion that the school should be a welcoming place for cadet candidates of all colors. But the situation as it stands is another warning – another of many – that these incidents are not always what they appear to be at first glance. Yes, there are certainly racists out there. But there are also hoaxsters and left-wing nuts who want to use the presumption of white guilt to their advantage.
In this particular case, the perpetrator – not identified as of Wednesday – seemed less interested in sparking racial tensions for political purposes and more interested in getting himself out of hot water. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that the student “committed the act in a bizarre bid to get out of trouble he faced at the school for other misconduct.”
There would be very little to say about these hoaxes were it not for the left’s tendency to turn these incidents into national rallying cries against white America. As long as they keep acting like a banana hanging from a tree or a racial slur on a bathroom mirror is evidence that the U.S. is in the grip of some new age of white supremacy, liberal opportunists, race-baiters, and simple idiots like the gentlemen here will take advantage of the outrage culture to cause trouble. Maybe the next time one of these incidents unfolds, we can all take a breath and realize that – whether it was done by actual racists or fake racists – a few words written on a wall somewhere doesn’t really amount to much harm.