Wed, Dec 4, 2013 2:49 PM EST

The so-called knockout game may not actually exist--but talking about it certainly does. The New York Times ran an article about two weeks ago indicating that authorities are split about whether this is an increasing menace or another urban myth. 

Real or imagined, the knockout game narrative is a racialized one: young black men are the ones perpetuating violent crime. Over at Patheos, Alan Noble has taken the current racist obsession with the knockout game to task:

What goes mostly unspoken in these commentaries on the "knockout game" is the idea that these assaults are racially motivated and so white people should be wary of groups of black men. Some take this further and blame the "liberal media" for the violence, since the media allegedly hid the "truth" about the race of the criminals. If only the media would tell us when black people attack white people, we'd know to not trust them and we'd be safe, the logic goes.

But are these pundits correct? Are these crimes committed by roaming packs of black "savages" against white people?

Here's the fascinating thing about this "spreading" trend: nobody seems to have any evidence that it's spreading, or that it's new, or that it's racially motivated, or that black youths are the ones typically responsible, or that whites are typically targeted.

But that didn't stop CNN's Don Lemon from playing perpetrator against a rabbi and martial artist Gary Moskowitz on live television yesterday. During the awkward segment, Lemon was concerned that he might be harmed. He pointed to his face and explained, "This is my livelihood right here."