Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Was May 1 A Day Without Crime?

Yes, I am posting about the May 1st "Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations yet again. This time it's the racist aftermath that gets my attention.

You may have already received one of the many emails circulating that declares that with all the Latinos busy protesting, violent crime and theft were down all across the country. The emails have various percentages listed for different crimes, and claim the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, or even the FBI as the source of the data. Some of the emails also reference reports on CNN or the Wall Street Journal.

Of course, there are no such statistics. None of the agencies listed were aware of any change in crime patterns. And none of the news sources listed ran any such reports.

This is yet another urban legend, but a particularly nasty one in that it plays upon negative stereotypes of illegal immigrants as dangerous criminals.

The spreading of some urban legends is fairly harmless, and potentially humorous - like the one about the little old lady, her new radio, and her nasty roommate or the one about the wrong song being played at funerals.

This new legend of "A Day Without Crime," however, is not harmless. It has a political agenda behind it, and that is to turn ordinary email users into spreaders of racist propaganda. Don't fall for it. If you get one of these emails, do not forward it, and let the sender know that it is a racist lie.

Whenever you get an email with some astounding data you've never heard before and a request that you "forward it to everybody you know," please verify it before forwarding! The Snopes.com urban legend search engine will find the scoop behind most current forwarded emails. Also search Google News for legitimate news sources.

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