Sitting down with a therapist for “anti-hate training” was part of the gift-wrapped slap on the wrist that a racist internet troll was given for terrorizing a Black college student through a neo-Nazi website.
Evan James McCarty settled a lawsuit on Tuesday that Taylor Dumpson filed over an internet campaign to racially harass her after she became the first Black woman to serve as American University’s student government president in 2017, the Associated Press reported.
The agreement also required McCarty to apologize, do community service and publicly renounce white supremacy.
That’ll teach him, right?
“At the end of the day, our settlement should send a strong message to white supremacists and neo-Nazis all across the country that they will be held accountable for their conduct,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represented Dumpson.
Dumpson’s nightmare began when someone hung bananas marked with the letters “AKA,” a reference to the historically Black college sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, from nooses on the university’s campus. The school’s president noted in a statement that the incident occurred after Dumpson, an AKA member, was sworn in as American’s student government president.
The Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin, who was also a defendant in the lawsuit, directed his readers to cyberbully Dumpson, the lawsuit alleged. In an article he posted about the incident, Anglin added links to Dumpson’s Facebook page and the American University Student Government’s Twitter page.
In at least one instance, McCarty took to Twitter and posted a picture of bananas with the caption, “Ready the troops,” replying to a message that revealed Dumpson’s whereabouts. He posted that and other tweets anonymously under the pseudonym Byron de la Vandal, which Dumpson’s legal team believed was a reference to Byron De La Beckwith, the Klansman who killed civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963.
It’s hard to see how therapy sessions could bring about a real change in a committed white supremacist. How is a transformation possible when programs to make people—who are not ardent racists—aware of their unconscious racism seldom work?
American companies spend an estimated $8 billion a year on anti-bias training, according to TIME. Yet there’s clear evidence that the efforts to change bias attitudes, which are often ingrained from childhood, is no easy task. A study of 829 companies over 31 years found that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace,” especially when it’s mandatory.
Dumpson said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder over her ordeal. The 22-year-old law school student believes the settlement “could raise awareness of issues of racial justice, while also providing for educational benefits.”