Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Yes, ‘This Is America, 2019’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There have been so far about three general reactions to the concocted Jussie Smollett psychodrama.

One, and the most common, has been apprehension that Smollett’s lies will discredit future real incidents of hate crimes against gays and minorities. This could be a legitimate concern, given the tensions within a multiracial society.

Yet, in fact, there is no evidence in the past that false reports (some lists of such fake hate crimes put the number at around 400) have had such an effect—either on spiking real hate crimes, suppressing reporting, discouraging police investigations, or preventing even more race-crime hoaxes.

As Heather Mac Donald has recently once again noted, the 2017 upswing in reported hate crimes from the prior year may well be largely because an additional 1,000 police agencies were for the first time reporting such crimes. Mac Donald also notes that a “hate crime”—a micro percentage of reported violent crime—is narrowly defined not to include general interracial violent victimization, a category in which African-Americans on average commit 85 percent of such crimes.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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