Two stories in the news strike a common chord: the need to stop infantilizing minority, especially black, populations. The first comes from the world of sports and involves the familiar racial hate incident hoax. Briefly, the Duke women’s volleyball team played a match at Brigham Young University, and lost. After the match, the godmother of one of the Duke players, who is black, tweeted that someone in the BYU crowd had yelled the “N-word” at her goddaughter when she was serving. It turned out that she (the godmother) is a virulent anti-white racist (“These white folks ain’t never had they ass kicked, but they better get used to it”).
The player then backed up this claim, and it became a national news story. The reliably left-wing ESPN reported it as fact. The President of BYU denounced the incident. Good Morning America, ABC News, CNN and Deadspin all weighed in, as did Lebron James. A BYU student who was accused (wrongly, as it turned out) of being the perpetrator was suspended from attending the college’s sports events. And the coach of the South Carolina volleyball team canceled an upcoming match against BYU.
All of these people and institutions studiously ignored the fact that these campus “hate incidents” nearly always turn out to be hoaxes. One might have expected that Duke, given its history, would be sober enough to reserve judgment. But of course, that didn’t happen, even though the claim here was inherently dubious. Why didn’t the Duke player, or one of her teammates, or her coach, or anyone on the BYU team, or any other observers, say anything at the time?
Meanwhile, BYU carried out a meticulous investigation that involved interviewing dozens of witnesses, searching for someone–anyone!–who could corroborate the Duke claim. No one heard an “N-word” or any other racial slur during the match. Investigators reviewed video footage of the match. Nothing. They played audio recordings of the match, with the television feed deleted so that only crowd noise could be heard. Nothing. They solicited cell phone video from anyone in the audience that might have picked up a racial slur. Nothing. BYU finally concluded that there was no evidence that the alleged racist incident ever occurred, and apologized to the student who had been wrongly accused.
As far as I can tell, no one else apologized. Not Duke, and not the South Carolina coach, who stood by her decision to cancel her team’s match against BYU. And certainly not the Duke player or the godmother who made the false allegation. This is par for the course: a fabricated allegation of racist conduct is made, is greeted with ritual sympathy for the “victim” and condemnation of the unknown perpetrator, but soon is proved to be false. But with no consequences for those who perpetrated the hoax.
On to case number two: the Mayor of New Orleans is a woman named LaToya Cantrell. Mayor Cantrell apparently has a taste for high living, and likes to fly first class. It came to light that she had run up $30,000 in first class air fares on the City’s tab, flying, in separate trips, to France and Switzerland. New Orleans’ rules say that employees are to fly on the cheapest fares available, but Cantrell is unrepentant.
In her own defense, she played the race card in perhaps the stupidest manner on record. She alleged that it is unsafe for a black woman to fly economy:
Cantrell has remained defiant in the face of a backlash, defending her luxury tickets by stating that she was “doing business” on behalf of the city and that it wouldn’t be safe for her to travel coach.
“My travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury,” Cantrell said at a press conference on Thursday, September 8, 2022. “As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone. As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be,” the mayor said. She added, “Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in.”
The world that Ms. Cantrell walks in is the first class world, but one can only wonder on what basis the first class cabin is “safer” for black women–or anyone–than coach. If the plane crashes, passengers all go down together. Are there Ku Klux Klan members patrolling the economy section who don’t dare penetrate the curtain to first class? The idea is so dumb that no one could possibly believe it.
And, of course, whatever dangers might lurk in the rear of the aircraft are suffered by Mayor Cantrell’s staff: unlike the Mayor, they fly coach.
These instances are among many that reflect efforts by politicians, journalists and activists to infantilize large segments of our population, especially blacks. Will Mayor Cantrell be held to the same standard as any other arrogant, rule-breaking, self-interested politician? That depends on the voters, the overwhelming majority of whom are black. Is the absurd rationale that she asserts good enough for them? We will find out at the next election.
Will the days of false hate crime allegations ever come to an end? Will ESPN and the New York Times ever stop repeating every such allegation as gospel? Will university administrators ever get over the racial vapors? Will blacks who make false allegations ever be held responsible? And will someone finally ask, even if it were true that one fan at a volleyball match yelled the “N-word,” why is it national news?
It is time to move on, and begin to have equal expectations of all of our citizens.