But it was just the kind of story that he and conservatives love, one that mixes race, criminality and culture. They need desperately to find emblems of minority pathology to justify their calloused, draconian approach to minority issues.

The Hate Crime Hoaxer, the Mexican Rapist, the America-Hating Muslim, the AIDS-Infected Haitian: each of these ideas has a particular serviceability. In their minds, I believe these archetypes work to invalidate criticism and to inoculate them from accountability.

For the record, if Smollett did what he is accused of having done, it was not only wrong, but also stupid.