Experts tell us victims don't lie, and that might be true. Here's the problem: Fake victims always lie. They commit the crime of stolen grievance, at an expense of people who suffer and those who genuinely care about them.
Our culture is one of compassion. Most people on American soil want peace, harmony and love among men and women of all ethnicities and sexual orientations. They want to go about their lives, working to provide for families with aspirations of enjoying free weekends together. Lurking on the margins is a minority who hate, deceive and otherwise cause harm.
Our mainstream culture's pursuit of harmony and peace explains why millions of foreigners from diverse backgrounds sacrifice each year to live in the United States, legally or otherwise. They crave prosperity and peace, with relative assurance others will treat them with fairness, dignity and respect.
As American law and culture work to ease burdens of the aggrieved, we create good will and tangible benefits. Charlatans prey on these byproducts of compassion, just as thieves seek anything of value.
Stolen grievance resembles stolen valor, committed by those who create phony past lives of combat. By playing the role of a selfless veteran, an impostor steals respect earned by others who endued real hardship.
The actor Jussie Smollett, little-known a few weeks ago, came to symbolize stolen grievance this week after Chicago police charged him with faking a homophobic, racist hate crime purportedly committed by racist white Trump supporters.
When society believed Smollett, the tale earned him guest appearances on TV talk shows. One major journalist teared up and treated Smollett like a hero. The alleged crime instantly transformed the actor into a star with high prospects of A-list fame and fortune.
If Smollett did what police claim, which no one can know for certain today, he ranks among growing legions of grievance thieves — the loathsome miscreants who steal accommodations intended as reparations for burden.
We can talk about the Duke lacrosse team's accuser, who fabricated a racist gang rape. Or the pretend combat veteran who falsely accused Kentucky Catholic schoolboys of confronting him with racial disdain for Native American identity. Here in Colorado Springs, investigators found racial slurs directed at black Air Force Academy cadet candidates were the work of a race-baiting hoaxster who acted like a victim of the crime. An exhaustive list of phony hate crimes would exceed our space capacity, and that would not include incidents that don't make the news.
Another form of stolen grievance involves white people pretending they belong to aggrieved demographics.
White male professor Ward Churchill climbed ranks at the University of Colorado after asserting a false claim of American Indian heritage. A faculty email exchange discussed fast-tracking Churchill's tenure to prevent losing a person of color in a mostly white department.
Rachel Dolezal darkened her skin for years, passing as black. She persuaded legitimately black members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Spokane, Washington, to elect her as chapter president.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, now a presidential candidate, stole cultural grievance throughout her career by falsely claiming American Indian heritage.
Warren's deception caused Harvard's administration to believe they had a "woman of color" on the law faculty. She benefited from status belonging to people, unlike her, whose families suffered culturally and economically throughout American history. Harvard gave her a position that a legitimate Native American, or other "person of color," might have otherwise filled.
Given Warren's resume, it is a fair assumption the Indian lie played a role in her unlikely ascent to Harvard Law.
Unlike nearly all other faculty of Harvard Law, Warren did not graduate from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia or any of the top 10 or 20 law schools. She graduated from Rutgers, which is a fine law school. But with a 74th ranking — in a five-way tie with Northeastern, Loyola, Pennsylvania State and Kansas — Warren's alma mater is not a faculty recruiting pool for the country's second-highest-ranked law school.
After obtaining her Juris Doctor, Warren worked from home doing wills and real estate closings. She sporadically lectured at a few non-Ivy law schools and then found herself teaching full time at Harvard. Huh.
Most Americans desire to even the playing field for minorities aggrieved by historical and contemporary injustice. For that reason, our institutions strive to hire and promote qualified minorities.
Additionally — to correct for racial, ethnic and homophobic injustice — we treat bigotry and hatred as aggravating factors in crimes. That's why the Chicago Police Department assigned 24 detectives to determine who committed a hate crime against Smollett. This in a city so short of detectives the police clear fewer than 18 percent of murders.
Grievance thieves undermine our culture's efforts toward civility, compassion and equal opportunity. Don't watch their shows, don't vote for them and don't accept their shallow apologies. Do not minimize their selfish and malicious disregard for genuine survivors of injustice and those who truly care about making a fair, loving and inclusive culture for all to enjoy.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE