The mailer was publicised in right-wing media, but appears to be a hoax
A flyer claiming to be from a racial justice group in Dallas asking white parents to pledge not to send their children to Ivy League colleges in order to save spots for Black students is likely a disinformation hoax.
The story of the flyer began in mid July, when individuals in the wealthy, largely white neighbourhood of Highland Park in Dallas, Texas, received FedEx envelopes containing letters from a group named “Dallas Justice Now.”
The flyer asked “white liberals and allies of the Black Lives Matter movement to make sacrifices to open up opportunities for students of color” and called them to sign an online pledge that they would not send their children to Ivy League schools or any of the US World and News Report top 50 colleges.
“I understand that access to top schools is a key component in economic and social advancement. Derfor, I commit that my children will not apply to or attend any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color to help correct historical wrongs,” the flyer reads.
VICE Nyheter reported that the flyers threatened to publicly shame those who refused to sign the pledge by publishing their names on the group’s website.
The story was picked up in right-wing media as evidence of racial hysteria, casting racial activist groups as irrational and threatening.
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, the Canadian far-right website the Post Millennial, British tabloid The Daily Mail, og Newsweek ran with the story, and conservative pundits like Candace Owens made the flyers a focus of their ire.
Ms Owens told Carlson that the flyer was “the bigotry of no expectations,” and the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, blamed the incident on critical race theory.
The only problem? The flyer appears to be a hoax.
Casie Tomlin, one of the people who received the flyer, thought the request was unbelievable and doubted it actually came from a racial justice organisation.
“Straight away I knew it was a fake,” Ms Tomlin told VICE News.
Her gut instinct proved correct. After digging into the organisation, det ble avslørt at “Dallas Justice Now” was not a real group. The group’s Facebook page started in October, and in June, prior to the flyer going out, a video was posted to the page in which a Black woman calling herself Jamila said she was with the group and described it as a “nonprofit advocacy group in Dallas.”
When Ms Tomlin attempted to reach the people behind the group, she received an email calling her a “white supremacist” and accusing her of harassing them. The group then went on Facebook to complain about her, calling her a “racist Karen.”
“Girl, if you are going to come at us just take off your klan hood and call us the n-word,” the account posted.
The group also posted her personal information on the post, including information about a DUI conviction she had received five years prior.
The retaliation did not stop there; the group then posted a new press release about Ms Tomlin, again calling her a white supremacist.
A local conservative website, de Dallas City Wire – which is owned by conservative businessman Brian Timpone – ran with the story, even quoting a spokesperson for the group who very well may not exist. The individual “Michele Washington” is one of the only people directly linked with the group. When VICE News directed Facebook to Ms Washington’s Facebook profile, suggesting it may be fake, the profile was removed by Facebook several hours later.
De Dallas City Wire article claimed that Ms Washington and the organisation was planning to launch an advisory council that would include professor Troy Harden of the Texas A&M University’s Race and Ethnic Studies Institute.
Mr Harden denied having any knowledge of the group or of the alleged advisory council.
Other Dallas researchers were also looking into the flyers, and found that the group was linked to an astroturfing organisation called Keep Dallas Safe. That group has targeted Dallas City Council candidates, spreading false claims that those candidates wanted to defund the police.
The researchers linked Keep Dallas Safe and Dallas Justice Now to Arena, a PR firm that formerly worked with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republican Party in Michigan, and other conservative organisations.
Arena told VICE News that it stopped working on the campaign once it realised what was happening.
“Arena did not and would never support an activity of this type. We were working with a client and when we learned what their objective was, the project was terminated. dessverre, it appears someone from the group copied the original code containing a link to the abandoned ‘under construction’ website, which linked to our server,” Arena Chief Operating Officer Clint Brown said.
It seems that despite the revelation that the flyer is likely fake, Ms Tomlin’s neighbours have taken the bait. She said that she has tried to show them the evidence that the flyer is fake, but they insist the group must be real because it has a Black person on its website.