Racial hoaxes continue to plague minorites

Aug. 30, Bethany Storro’s face was doused with acid outside a Starbucks in Vancouver, Wash. Storro told The Columbian, a Vancouver newspaper, the assailant was “a black woman in her late 20s to early 30s with her hair pulled back into a ponytail.” But two weeks after the assault Storro revealed that her story was fabricated and her wounds were self-inflicted.

It’s deplorable what lengths a person will go to to cover up something they did to themselves, but too often the actual casualties are the minorities who are used as scapegoats.

Such incidents aren’t rare. According to TheRoot.com, an online magazine that provides thought provoking commentary from a variety of black perspectives, wild goose chases like these are usually perpetrated by white women who target black men.

A notable case was Susan Smith of South Carolina. On Oct. 25, 1994, the same year O.J. Simpson was tried for murder, Smith told police she had been carjacked by a black man who forced her out of the vehicle and kidnapped her two sons. A media frenzy and police search ensued looking for the two children. Nine days later on Nov. 3, Smith confessed to pushing the car into a lake with her two sons still buckled up in the backseat.

Millions of tax dollars go into searching for suspects who are really a diversion to distract attention from the real culprits. In the process, innocent people are unfairly questioned and humiliated because they are the wrong color.

For those who are wrongly convicted, false accusations like the one made by Storro can be especially heinous, as many of those wrongly convicted and incarcerated are people of color. According to the Medill Innocence project, 60 percent of those exonerated from crimes they didn’t commit are black.

Many in this country hope that tougher penalties are in place for those who wrongfully accuse people of serious offenses, especially when those accused are members of a group that is already oppressed.