Hate crime hoaxes have become a tried and true American tradition. We can generally count on a spate of high profile hoaxes to mark each season, especially since President Trump was elected.

This past fall, college hoaxers carried most of the load. A racist message posted to a dorm room door at Kansas State turned out to be written by the supposed victim. A student at Ohio University received anti-gay death threats that she had sent to herself.

The winter featured two all-time great hoaxes with Jussie Smollett staging a racist assault on himself and the media turning a group of innocent high school kids into a roving gang of dangerous bigots. Neither of these quite rose to the level of, say, the infamous Clock Boy Hoax, but they came close.

Spring was a slow time for hate hoax fans. Fortunately, Canada gave us a little something to snack on as we waited for the summer hoaxing season to begin. A Jewish-run restaurant in Winnipeg was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti which the Jewish owners had themselves applied.

The summer is usually primetime for the classic “racist message left on restaurant receipt” hoax — my favorite genre, personally — but Democratic Representative Erica Thomas decided to stray from that script this week. Thomas claimed that a racist white man verbally assaulted her for bringing too many items into the express lane at the grocery store, calling her “lazy” and telling her to go back where she came from. Hate hoax connoisseurs could sense the phoniness immediately. Democrats had spent the previous week claiming that Trump’s “go back” tweets were not only racist but symptomatic of a greater cultural trend. And then — what do you know — a Democratic politician goes to the grocery store and finds herself in a situation that proves exactly the point the Democrats has been making. Sadly, life is rarely so politically convenient — unless you engineer it that way.

Sure enough. Erica Thomas engineered it. After being confronted by the alleged racist, Eric Sparkes — a Cuban Democrat, as it happens — she immediately began changing her story. The police report delivered the final blows to her credibility. The police were not able to find a single witness who could corroborate Thomas’ version of events. In fact, one witness reported that Thomas was the one who said “go back where you came from.” A description of the security camera footage indicates that Thomas was also the aggressor, coming toward Sparkes and wagging her finger while he backed away. If there was any racism in this exchange, it seems that Thomas is the one who supplied it.

All of this hoaxing is peculiar. We are assured by the Left that America is a racist country where white supremacists roam free. Bigotry is endemic. Racism lies at the very foundation of all of our major societal institutions, they tell us. Strange, then, to see members of racial and ethnic minorities inventing fake occurrences of racism. Why should that be necessary, if racism is as rampant as they say? If there is such a surplus of bigotry, why was Erica Thomas stuck with the homemade variety? Why would someone who wishes to be the victim of racism have to conjure it out of thin air in a country where racism is allegedly so common? Indeed, how could anyone have that wish to begin with? How could they ever develop the desire to be victimized by racism if they live in a country where racism is an everyday reality? Real victims don’t treat victimhood like a game.

I’m not saying that racism doesn’t exist in America. Of course there is racism here. There is racism everywhere. But America is one of the least racist nations in the history of the world, and people like Erica Thomas must know that or else they wouldn’t go through this trouble. Maybe we should all try having a little gratitude for the great strides our country has made. This seems much healthier than Thomas and Smollett’s approach.

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