The Great Racial Hoax of Albany

The Great Hoax of Albany started out straightforwardly enough: a dozen violent and racist white students harassed, threatened, tossed N-bombs and attacked three black coeds -- hurting them really, really, really badly.

For no reason whatsoever.

It ended Wednesday when Albany police charged the three black women with assault, and charged two of them with filing a false police report about the racial violence.        

Despite her claims of injury from the beatdown, the tweeting from one of the victims, Asha Burwell, began almost right away: “I can’t believe I just experienced what it’s like to be beaten because of the color of my skin.”

She carried on the story in another tweet: “I begged for people to help us and instead of help they told us to "shut he f*ck up" and continuously hit us in the head.”

"I got beat up by 20 people screaming racial slurs," said another so-called victim. “A whole bunch of guys started hitting me and my two friends."

Within a few hours, the black president at the University at Albany decried the racism and hate crime. Soon after that, CNN, the New York Daily News, and lots of other news sites joined in, following the local media.

Those damn white people were at it again. Attacking black people. Just the way the head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, described it on CBS' "Face the Nation" a few months earlier: “For African Americans who are well aware of this threat,” she said. “Who have lived with this threat for many, many decades, there is a feeling of vulnerability.”

Black people are “sacrificed,” to white violence and white supremacy, she said to the bobbing head of the CBS news moderator. Later, Washington Post editor David Ignatius said stopping white on black violence should be the top priority of President Obama’s remaining time in office.

All of which of course is part of the greatest lie of our generation, the myth of black victimization, documented in that scintillating bestseller, Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry.

Back in Albany, the cries of black victimization filled the internet. Black Lives Matter chimed in, as did DeRay Mckesson, the King of Black Twitter, fresh from a recent visit to the White House for the Christmas party.

Soon after that, hundreds of students gathered to denounce the white on black violence and hate crimes in what was described as the largest gathering of its kind at the university.

“They say it speaks to a great injustice nationwide against black women,” intoned one news reader.

“This occurrence isn’t anything new,” said one of the rally organizers to great applause. “Black women have been squished under the palms of the white man’s and white woman’s hands.”

No one pointed out -- or cared -- that in Albany, racial violence is a common and one-way thing: Black on white.  See above scintillating bestseller for lots and lots of stories of violence and media denial from that capital city.

Despite the trauma, the three black coeds somehow gathered their spirits to speak to the crowd.

“We are shocked,” said Asha Burwell, while another coed stood next to her for physical and moral support.  “And upset. But we remain unbroken.”

Fighting back the tears, she continued after receiving encouragement from the crowd. “We are proud of who we are, black women.”

Then Burwell’s brother, Tyreek, got into the act. He is a 300-pound recent addition to the roster of the San Diego Chargers football team. He issued a tweet to one of the white devils who attacked his sister. “@WillBx just found out you were one of the dudes that put your hands on my sister. Hope the police get to you before I do.”

The student left the University at Albany soon after receiving that and other threats.

Soon after, Hillary Clinton tweeted: “There is no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus.”

And oh yeah, the entire story was a lie.

All of it.

The Great Hoax began to unravel even before the big rally. Twitter and Facebook were full of accounts from the big bad white people. They said it never happened. In fact, they said Asha Burwell and her friends were the ones tossing around racial epithets and causing violence.

No one really paid much attention. Not the university president, anyway.

He doubled down at a Martin Luther King/Black History Month Breakfast meeting: Again, decrying the hate. Again, not even hinting at the possibility none of it was true.

Then came the cameras: First, a camera phone from the bus. Though the audio and videos were sketchy, at no time did anyone see or hear anything like the scenario the black coeds described.

No threats. No violence. No racial slurs. In fact, some insist that the camera phone shows one of the white guys trying to stop the fight.

Then came the other cameras: the city bus had 12 of them. And although the incident happened early Saturday morning on January 30th, those videos have still not been released to the public or the press.

But curiously, two weeks ago, the district attorney showed the bus-cam videos to a collection of black people from on and off the campus. They said they did not see or hear anything like what the coeds described. Exactly what they did see was not clear. But one of the braver ones even suggested that the black coeds might have been the ones at fault.

To their credit, local media stayed on top of local law enforcement, asking to see the videos. Wednesday it broke: the ABC affiliate in Albany talked to law enforcement officials who had seen the videos from the bus. And they said the black coeds started the entire thing: They were the ones tossing around the racial epithets. They began the violence. And they lied their butts off about it.

“I am told by law enforcement sources that these three self-proclaimed victims are now going to be served with tickets to appear in court possibly next Monday to face charges,” said Anya Winter of Channel 10 News. “But we do know this is one sign that law enforcement is moving forward with making these women accountable for possibly making false accusations,” Winter said.

Asha Burwell took to Twitter to proclaim her innocence shortly after the Channel 10 story. She said she was “sorry” but had to remain silent for the time being. The truth would come out soon, she said.

Shortly after, she removed that Tweet.

The Albany Hoax is just one of several racial fairy tales to come and go over the past year. But Albany columnist Chris Churchill is urging us to pay them no mind. They are the work of the devil, he said, because everyone knows that black people are victims of relentless white racism all the time, everywhere, and that explains everything.

Or as Churchill put it:

“There are others who are already responding with glee as the story falls apart. They seem to think that disproving the students' claims means that there is no racism and that all black victims should forever be discredited. But those are the shrill voices at the extremes, the people who don't care about the truth unless they can mold it to their pre-conceived notions. Ignore those voices as best you can.”

So many hoaxes, so many Churchills to ignore them.

At the University of Delaware in September, a coed said she found a noose in a tree. They dragged the school president out of bed to condemn it, issued an alert, put campus police on notice, and scheduled an anti-hate crime rally for the next day. Then a student figured out the noose was just a piece of string, left over from a recent alumni party.

The rally went on, as scheduled.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut in December, city and state officials took a year to figure out who put “white power” and anti-black letters on city letterhead into the mailboxes of city police officers. Turns out leaders and members of the city’s black police officer group created that hoax.

In January, the Washington Post finally fessed up that the entire Hands Up, Don’t Shoot movement that the paper had done so much to promote was, indeed, all based on a lie. Though Hilary Clinton still refers to Ferguson as if something true happened there. And the Washington Post does not say a word.

Last year in Los Angeles, TV starlet Taraji Henson told a fan magazine about how her son was a victim of racial profiling at the hands of the racist police in Glendale, California. After the police released the video, it became clear that the only treatment her son received was some fatherly advice after they found marijuana and prescription drugs on him. They gave him a traffic ticket and let him go with a warning on the drugs.

Earlier this month, the poet laureate of Belfast, Maine, who goes by the name of Touissant St. Negritude, told his town council how police harassed, abused and racially profiled him for 30 minutes during a traffic stop. The state trooper’s camera shows a four and half minute encounter with a few questions and a few safety tips before sending Mr. St. Negritude on his way.

In October, a black journalism professor in Texas told a story of racial abuse at the hands of some nasty, racist police. Video shows the opposite.

Ditto for a black Texas legislator caught doing 95 miles an hour in his state car. Ditto for the video of his encounter.

In St. Louis, a black pastor said white racists were burning black churches. Seven at last count. NPR was happy to stoke the flames of relentless white racism in talking about that story. Imagine their disappointment when that, too, was a hoax.

Earlier this month, a black professor of black studies at Princeton University spread her tale of woe when white cops stopped her for no reason and were abusive and racist to her as well. They threatened her. They frightened her. “The male officer did the body search.”

None of that happened either: The cops stopped her and the only thing anyone sees on the video is two cops being overly solicitous to a black woman who tries to lie her way out of a warrant for unpaid tickets.

Professor Perry was also unhappy they did not recognize her attachment to an “elite” university. Further proof of police racism, she said. She also said she hoped that talking about her experience would save other elite black professionals in their “struggle against racism and carcerality.”

And don’t forget Sandra Bland, the black Texas woman who committed suicide in jail last year. Public figures and politicians still insist she died as the result of a diabolical plot. A hoax.

In Nevada, earlier this week, two people wearing robes from the Ku Klux Klan tried to pass themselves off as supporters of Donald Trump. Until someone figured out they were black and just trying to embarrass the presidential candidate.

Also this week at the University of Wisconsin, the president of the university branded two students for being “racist” after they posted pictures of themselves wearing a dark mask to exfoliate the skin.

According to the National Review, the school president did not apologize, but instead insisted the students should have recognized the racial implications of wearing dark cosmetics to remove loose and unsightly facial skin.

In December at Oberlin College, a black coed said she saw a member of the Ku Klux Klan in full hood and rob regalia walking about the campus. No one is sure if she is being deceitful, or just delusional. But there was no Klan. At least that coed had more sense than Shermeka Moffitt of Louisiana, who said the Klan set her on fire.

She was burned very badly, that was part was true. So is this: she did it to herself without any assistance.

Last piece of truth: there are many, many more of these.

Colin Flaherty is the author of the Amazon #1 best seller Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry: The Hoax of Black Victimization.