You may recall our extensive and widely-cite coverage of The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013:

A massive racism hoax took place at Oberlin College in February 2013 in which two students made seemingly racist, anti-Semitic and other such posters, graffiti and emails for the purpose of getting a reaction on campus, not because they believed the hostile messages.  At least one of the two was an Obama supporter with strong progressive, anti-racist politics.

School officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who were responsible for most if not all of such incidents on campus, yet remained silent as the campus reacted as if the incidents were real.  National media attention focused on campus racism at Oberlin for weeks without knowing it was a hoax.

The result of the hoax was that the Oberlin administration, despite knowing of the hoax, used the campus controversy to push an even more aggressive left-wing multi-cultural agenda,  Oberlin racism hoax exploited to advance “even more extreme policies”.

It was a Reichstag fire type incident, the creation of a problem for the express purpose of using the problem to advance an agenda.

It seems that a similar type hoax just happened at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Mike LaChance covered the allegedly-racist incident there in a prior post at Legal Insurrection, Racist Notes at St. Olaf College Lead to Mandatory Race and Gender Classes:

Racist notes targeting African American students recently appeared on the campus of St. Olaf College, a Lutheran school in Minnesota…. Students who were protesting the racist notes presented a list of demands to the administration which the school president ultimately signed….:

As part of their terms, students demanded the creation of a task force led by “two faculty members of color” and “three students and one alumni member of color.”

In addition to their terms and conditions, students put together a separate list of demands, which includes the creation and enforcement of “a comprehensive racial awareness and inclusiveness curriculum” and a revision of the school’s general education requirements to include “mandatory introductory courses in Race & Ethnic Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies departments.”

Mike cautioned at the end that this smelled a lot like the Oberlin hoax:

The racist notes at St. Olaf could be real but this situation is unfolding in a manner similar to the great Oberlin College racism hoax of 2013, in which racist posters were placed on campus by liberal students who wanted to start a dialogue.

If you wanted to force your school to mandate race and gender classes, planting racist notes on campus then expressing outrage about it and making demands would be one way to achieve it.

It seems that the caution was well-founded, as there are multiple reports that the racist note was a hoax. The College Fix reports, Racist note that prompted St. Olaf College shut down is hate-crime hoax:

A note that used the n-word and threatened a black female student at St. Olaf College — sparking an intense protest that led to classes being shut down for a day as student demonstrators accused the school of institutional racism — “was not a genuine threat,” the school’s president said Wednesday.

President David Anderson said in an email to students that an investigation into the note identified a person of interest “who confessed to writing the note.”

“We’ve confirmed that this was not a genuine threat. We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole,” he said.

In a second campuswide email sent later Wednesday, Anderson used stronger words to explain what happened: “The reason I said in my earlier note that this was not a genuine threat is that we learned from the author’s confession that the note was fabricated. It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”

Local TV news provides the text of the President’s letter:

I am writing with an update on the College’s investigation into the racist messages and acts of hate that have occurred on campus.

We’ve completed our investigation of the incident involving the racist and threatening note that was reportedly left on a student’s car on April 29. We confronted a person of interest who confessed to writing the note. We’ve confirmed that this was not a genuine threat. We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole.

We continue to investigate the other racist incidents, which we are taking very seriously.

I want to state very clearly that while this was not a genuine threat, we remain committed to the process we have begun to address the concerns about the campus climate that have been raised.

I am getting many requests for more information and follow-up to my message this morning. Considering the extraordinary impact that particular note on April 29th had on our campus, I sympathize with the desire for more information. I would love to provide it.

Unfortunately, Federal student privacy laws prohibit the College from disclosing the identity of the author of that note and from disclosing the actions taken by the College now that we know the author’s identity.

But I can tell you this. The reason I said in my earlier note that this was not a genuine threat is that we learned from the author’s confession that the note was fabricated. It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.

Despite this fact, those concerns are real and, as I said earlier, we are committed to the process we have begun to address them. We also continue earnestly to investigate all of the other racist and hateful messages that have been reported.

It’s worth noting that St. Olaf’s already was hostile to conservatives, just as Oberlin was prior to its hoax, Conservative Students Say They’ve Been Threatened With Violence at St. Olaf College.

St. Olaf’s is a symptom, one we have seen at many colleges and universities where students so want to be victims they create fake victimhood.

After the Oberlin hoax, we explored the underlying possible disease, Psychoanalyzing The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013:

Legal Insurrection reader Howard S. Schwartz took an interest in our coverage of the Oberlin case.

Schwartz also happens to be a Professor at Oakland University in Michigan, with a strong academic interest in the psychoanalytic study of organizations. Among other things, Prof. Schwartz has written extensively on issues relating to the sources of political correctness and the impact on organizational behavior.

So I was quite interested when Prof. Schwartz recently forward to me a paper he presented at the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations in Rome, Italy, in June 2015, titled Analysis of a Racism Hoax at Oberlin College (full embed at bottom of post)(Scribd, SSRN)….

Be warned, the analysis includes terms like “Oedipus Complex.” (If you start sucking your thumb when you hear the word “oedipus,” seek immediate help.)

All joking aside, the analysis makes some serious points about political correctness and social justice being more than about politics. It’s mental….

Here is one particularly perceptive observation — the Oberlin community created its own reality to justify its preconceived notions of pervasive racism:

In this way, we do what projection does. We transform an intra-psychic conflict into an interpersonal one. Instead of tearing ourselves apart, we can, in our fantasy, tear him apart, and emerge from this, again in our fantasy, whole, beautiful, and perfect: the pristine self. We can build a whole world out of this, and each of us can find our place within it, and especially those who have been deprived in the past.

We therefore redefine the world as a venue for this struggle, and we redefine ourselves through our roles in this struggle.

Having redefined ourselves in this way, we have made ourselves dependent, for our sense of identity, on the existence and pervasiveness of the racism that we have created through our projection.

And that’s what happened at Oberlin, and happens on so many campuses where the need for self-worth manifests itself in creating realities that do not really exist.

In his conclusion, Prof. Schwartz makes this observation:

The answer I have proposed was that reality had been redefined at Oberlin and that, within that redefinition, the charge of racism was, in effect, structural, and had come to provide the meaning of people’s college experience and, indeed, of their lives.

Read all of Professor Schwartz’s analysis. It’s informative of the racism-hoax phenomenon.


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