The Conversation

The perils of boutique victimization

In response to N.J. 'Receipt-Hoax' Gay Waitress May Have Kept Donations:

It's remarkable how frequently this sort of thing lures in both the public and a credulous media.  In both cases, people want to believe it's true, so they reflexively accept the story.  And then, in this case or the equally dubious "racist receipt" story that preceded it, they send an ocean of money to the alleged "victim," who turns out to be more of a scam artist.

That's one of the problems with boutique victimization.  The people who send money to the scammers are making an aggressive statement of moral superiority.  They also think they're somehow striking a blow at the ugly racists or homophobes who insulted the victims.  Take that, you bigots!  You thought you'd stiff this poor, oppressed victim, but we made her rich to spite you!

My guess is that if the rest of the Morales story had panned out - if she really had been the target of a slur - but she kept all the cash instead of passing it along to the Wounded Warrior Project, most of the people who sent her the money would not be much disturbed.  They thought they were making a statement, but it wasn't about wounded veterans.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a most worthy cause no matter how the Morales story shakes out (and whether or not the media bothers to follow up and report on the ultimate shake-out.)  You can find their website here.


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