Though the absurdity of the messages should have been the first hint that they were not written by someone who genuinely believed the words, a campus race hoax nonetheless gained traction.
Graffiti messages that included phrases such as “white power” and “let’s kill all N*****s on campus” sparked days of protest at Albion College in Michigan—but it turned out that the messages were actually written by a black student, according to MLive.
On April 5, a number of students from the college started tweeting about the dozen or so “racist incidents” that had occurred the previous week, referring to the racist messages written. The Post Millennial reported on a since-deleted tweet from one student that included photos of the graffiti, who called the messages “blatant racism.”
The messages included phrases such as “white lives matter,” “666” atop a Star of David, and references to the Ku Klux Klan, among many others. Discovery of the messages prompted days of protests from students, who boycotted classes in the name of racial justice.
On April 6, after reviewing campus security footage, a 21-year-old black male student was brought in for questioning by the Albion Department of Public Safety. The student allegedly admitted to writing most of the graffiti, with surveillance footage supporting his statements.
Police Chief Scott Kipp told MLive that the student was released after questioning and that after the department has completed its investigation, the Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office will determine if any charges should be filed related to the incident. Charges are unlikely in such a case, as fears of being called racist abound even when a student has committed a hate-crime hoax.
The Daily Wire reported:
On Twitter, Albion College said the student was acting alone, but rather than providing a teachable lesson to students about committing such hoaxes, the school demurred, talking about “a significant history of racial pain and trauma on campus.” The tweets suggested the school needed to do more to fight racism, even though the charges of racism were false.
Shockingly, the school did not even acknowledge that the student who wrote the racist and anti-Semitic messages was black, allowing those who do not read updates about the situation to continue believing there are white racists on their campuses scrawling hateful messages.
“We know the acts of racism that have occurred this week are not about one particular person or one particular incident. We know that there is a significant history of racial pain and trauma on campus and we are taking action to repair our community,” the school tweeted. “We will change and heal together as a community, because we are committed to doing the work.”
This incident is just one in a very long list of examples where hate-crime hoaxes have been committed. Back in November 2020, it was reported that a black teenager who claimed to have found racist messages on his SUV had written the messages himself. Earlier that year, another student who claimed to have found racist messages on their vehicle was also determined to be the culprit.
It is not just students, however, who commit these hoaxes. An Oregon politician claimed to have received a racist letter, but it was determined that he had written it to himself.