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Beware of the knockout game

A centuries-old trend returns with a new spin



A disturbing and brutal trend is afoot. It's a deadly game that has been played in America for centuries but is now going by a new name — the knockout game.

Young black men, you must take extreme precaution against it.

The game works like this: Fringe media connects isolated incidents of crime around the country and kicks off a social-media campaign alleging that there is a new threat facing white people, being carried out by people who look like you.

Mainstream media picks up the story and runs sensational headlines and trend pieces about the made-up threat. Politicians become involved in the game, pandering to their most vocal voting demographic with harsh rhetoric about people who look like you.

The myth will be repeated over and over, becoming so ubiquitous that people will begin to assume every random, violent crime was an instance of it. People like WBTV's news director Dennis Milligan, who said earlier this month, "It was probably a couple kids playing the knockout game," after one of his cameramen was assaulted while covering a story in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Police know that no such epidemic exists. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman Rob Tufano said of the WBTV incident, "We have not had any similar incidents that have been reported."

Still, the constant media bombardment has white people terrified.

And that's what makes this game so dangerous. Whether you're alone or in a group of your similar-looking peers, you will be perceived as a violent perpetrator searching for your next victim. You'll be questioned, harassed or possibly killed by police and ordinary citizens. Never make the mistake of thinking you're safe.

If "offenders" were seen wearing a red backpack, as was reported in NoDa back in March, throw your red backpack away. Those reports said the perpetrator asked to use a cell phone. Don't you go asking for a kind favor like that from a white stranger, or you could be killed.

And it's unlikely your killer will face jail time. They'll say they felt threatened. It was self defense. They were standing their ground.

"I'll be happy to shred these little bastards," said a commenter on Facebook about the alleged attack in NoDa in March, which has never been confirmed by police.

"I don't go out much at night, but when I do I ALWAYS carry a full size Glock 22 in the small of my back. Of course I am old and white so I figure I am a prime target," said a commenter on the blog Liberty Unyielding in response to a report of a Dayton, Ohio, bus driver being shot as part of the knockout game variant, "Polar Bear Hunting." The driver was later fired from his job for making up the incident in order to pay off tax debt.

If you think you'll find allies in everyone who shares your skin color, think again. Publicity-hungry figures like Al Sharpton will issue public statements calling on black people to stop these "racist attacks" against whites.

No one will take the time to put together that mainstream reports of the threat didn't surface until about a month after a writer named Colin Flaherty published a book alleging the knockout game exists and is part of a larger scourge of black mob violence and impending race war. Flaherty makes a living peddling fear of the "savage black man" to white readers by obsessively documenting crimes committed by black people against white people for the fringe right-wing blog WorldNet Daily.

You may remember other iterations of the knockout game: from headlight flashing gang initiations in the early '00s and "wilding" in the 1990s, in which gangs of black teens were said to be assaulting people at random, to race-mixing, rape threats and whistling at white women in the early part of the 20th century. You may also recall the consequences of these perceived threats — young black men murdered en masse, tortured and imprisoned at a rate of almost one in three before they reach 34.

It is a sad, disgusting reality, but, for your own safety, don't let your guard down. Don't walk alone or in groups at night. Don't listen to rap music or laugh loudly. Make sure your jeans aren't too baggy or too tight. Hoodies are out of the question. Don't stand up straight like you're confident, but don't slouch like you're hiding something. Hell, just don't even leave your house, or you might get sucker-punched by the knockout game.

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