VIOLENT CRIMES LIKE MURDER, assault, robbery, and rape cause far more damage to U.S. race relations than officially recognized "hate crimes," a study based on federal crime statistics concludes. The study reports that some 1.7 million violent interracial crimes involving blacks and whites are committed annually. But in 1997 only 4,105 of those were deemed "hate crimes" under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990, according to a study by the New Century Foundation, based in Oakton, Va.
Although Americans most often think of "hate crimes" as acts by whites against racial minorities—such as last year's killing of James Byrd in Texas by three white ex-convicts—the majority of violent crime across racial lines are committed by blacks against whites, the study finds.
Black-on-white crimes were almost nine times as frequent as white-on-black crimes, the study reports. "Hate crimes are thought to be the most serious acts of interracial crime . . . but it is likely that the millions of ordinary interracial crimes—90 percent of which are committed by blacks against whites—are more damaging to race relations," the study concludes. Jared Taylor heads the New Century Foundation. He is author of Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America, a 1991 book that documented fundamental problems with U.S. policies on civil rights, crime, and welfare.
Academics who have studied crime rates said that although some of the New Century report's conclusions may seem startling, the statistics about crime and race are well known to researchers. "It's an issue that most white scholars ignore, because you can only get in trouble," said Morgan Reynolds, director of the Criminal Justice Center at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. "It's no news to anybody who's pursued the differences of race and crime, but it's politically incorrect."
Racial aspects of violent crime are "too sensitive" to be openly discussed, said UCLA professor James Q. Wilson, but they have a major impact on American society.
"This affects both races," said Mr. Wilson. "Whites are apprehensive. Blacks are irritated by being subjected to this apprehension." The New Century Foundation study cites the National Crime Victimization Study (NCVS) for 1994—the most recent such study issued by the Justice Department. That latter study reported that blacks committed 1,140,670 violent crimes against whites, while whites committed 135,360 violent crimes against blacks.
More than 80 percent of violent crime committed by blacks were perpetrated against black victims; only 16.7 percent of violent crimes against whites were committed by blacks, according to NCVS data cited in the study. But because only 12.1 percent of Americans are black, those figures mean that blacks committed interracial crimes at much higher rates than whites, who constitute 72.7 percent of the U.S. population.
"Put in the most easily understood terms, the average black was . . . 56 times more likely to commit criminal violence against a white than was a white to commit criminal violence against a black," the study said.
The New Century study also finds: a) Non-Hispanic, U.S.-born whites committed only one homicide that counted as a racial hate crime by the FBI in 1997. The FBI reported only five racially motivated killings in 1997, three that were "anti-black" and two that were "anti-white." In two of the anti-black killings, the killers were Hispanic. In one of the anti-white killings, the killer was an immigrant from India. b) "Any study of group crime rates in America is complicated by the inconsistent treatment of Hispanics by different government agencies." The study notes that because the FBI's annual Universal Crime Reports "do not treat Hispanics as a separate category, almost all the Hispanics arrested in the United States go into official records as 'white.' "
The FBI's "Hate Crime Incident Report" lists "anti-Hispanic" as a category of hate crime but does not list Hispanics as a category for perpetrators. This "inflates the number of hate crimes committed by 'whites' by calling Hispanics white" and "gives the impression that Hispanics never commit hate crimes," according to the study, which notes that "most Hispanics think of themselves as . . . distinct from non-Hispanic whites, and are perceived by others as a different group." c) "Blacks are arrested at dramatically higher rates than other racial groups." Compared with whites, blacks are nine times as likely to be arrested on robbery or murder charges, and about four times as likely to be arrested on assault, rape, or car-theft charges, according to the study.
Civil-rights activists argue that police arrest blacks more often than whites because of racism. Accusations of "racial profiling" by law enforcement made headlines in February when the head of the New Jersey State Police was fired after he said minority groups were more likely to be involved in drug trafficking. Federal crime statistics show that 63 percent of those arrested for drug offenses are black or Hispanic. d) Asians are arrested at lower rates than other racial groups, with rates about half those of whites. e) "The single best independent indicator of a jurisdiction's crime rate is the percentage of its population that is black. . . . The tendency is clear: The higher the percentage of blacks, the greater the number of murders."
The racial disparity in crime rates makes integration difficult, Mr. Wilson of UCLA said. "The fact that whites and blacks have different rates of crime—especially violent crime—affects the willingness of whites to live in black neighborhoods." As damaging to race relations as such fears and suspicions may be, Mr. Wilson said, "it doesn't get discussed by politicians very much, but it's a fact of daily discourse."
Mr. Taylor's work, Paved With Good Intentions, was praised by economist Walter E. Williams of George Mason University. "If racism is ever going to die a well-deserved death, we will have to thank many courageous individuals, and Jared Taylor is one of them," he wrote. But Mr. Taylor was criticized as an advocate of "the new white racism" by conservative author Dinesh D'Souza, whose 1995 book The End of Racism reported many of the same racial problems Mr. Taylor had examined in his earlier book.
The New Century report says hate crime laws "recognize the harm done to society when people are attacked because of race or other characteristics. However, one might ask which does more damage to society: the few thousand violent acts officially labeled as hate crimes or the vastly more numerous interracial crimes of violence that go virtually unnoticed?"
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