The "hate crime hoax" category is getting so big, it probably eclipses the real hate crime category. I personally like the idea of charging hoaxes as their own form of hate crime: No. 1, you tie up police resources and waste tax dollars, and No. 2, you create the same social harms sought to be scrubbed by hate crimes, i.e., you terrorize an entire group. With most hate crime hoaxes, of course, you terrorize whites. The hoax sends out the message that bloodthirsty racist whites are swarming all around us and that non-whites should look askance at all whites. It's a group libel, in other words. And what happens when a hoax incites some actual, physical retaliation?
As for Mr. Perkins, my prediction is that he faces only the mildest of consequences. He will probably not be denied a degree. He will probably not be denied admission to the bar. He may even land a job. (Though I must question his lawyerly intelligence, given how clumsily his hoax was perpetrated.) All because he's black. And his lies, as campus police chief Michael Gibson [Email him] notes, were for a good cause:
â€?I recognize that police misconduct does occur,â€? Gibson said. â€?Pressing charges in this case might inhibit another individual who experiences real police misconduct from coming forward with a complaint. I want to send the message just how seriously we take such charges and that we will always investigate them with care and diligence.â€?Did you follow that? They won't press charges because that could inhibit the "real" instances of racism from coming to light. I wonder how the chief's patrolmen feel about that.
Meanwhile, contrast the coddling of Perkins with the hot denunciation of Stephanie Grace, the Harvard 3L who, in a private e-mail, merely didn't disagree with the notion that blacks are inherently less intelligent.
A colleague wonders how big a factor affirmative action was in Perkins' admission to UVA Law. Given how prestigious it is — and how apparently dumb Perkins is — my guess is "significant."