IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, a libertarian conservative passionately committed to finding the meaning of life, the universe and everything, you are outraged by the racial violence that occurred in Seattle on Fat Tuesday, and you get all riled up by articles like John Perazzo’s "Interracial Crime: The Dirty Little Secret." The rate of black-on-white crime, he writes, is ten times the rate of white-on-black crime.
You aren’t surprised. You’ve seen the data in similar articles written by prominent conservatives recently, and now you are ready to email Perazzo’s article off to all your liberal friends to teach them a lesson.
But you hesitate. The numbers are so shocking that, as a responsible conservative, you’d like to look at the source of the data before you press Send. The last thing you’d want is to have the interracial crime ratio turn up on one of those urban myth web sites.
I decided to do something about it. I would find the source of the data and make sure that the data really agreed with Perazzo.
OK. Here is the answer. Perazzo’s numbers come from an article by Walter Williams written in 1999. In his article, Williams cites a report by the New Century Foundation "The Color of Crime." You can get a PDF file of the report for yourself. Since Williams was surprised by the numbers, he did some independent verification of his own, and found that, indeed, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), blacks did commit about 90 percent of interracial crime.
The key data in "The Color of Crime" are found in Appendix A, which contains a copy of "Table 42. Personal Crimes of Violence, 1994" in the NCVS. Table 42 reports exactly what Williams and "The Color of Crime" report. The numbers are: black-on-white victimization: 1,140,670, and white-on-black victimization: 135,360. Blacks really do commit about 90 percent of interracial violence.
But hey! Who cares about 1994? What about more recent data? I’m glad you asked, Senator. It turns out that the Bureau of Justice Statistics updates Table 42 every year. I got my copy (click on the Acrobat file for 1999 under "Complete Set of Tables") and found Table 42 for 1999.
There’s good news. The numbers are down, and the ratio is improved. Black-on-white victimization is 657,008, and White-on-black victimization is 91,050. So the rate of black-on-white violence is down 42 percent, and the ratio is now a mere 7.2 to 1.
Curiously, if media reports are correct, and the black rioters were 75 percent of the troublemakers in Seattle on Fat Tuesday – a mere 3:1 ratio – then black troublemakers were grossly underrepresented in the crowd back on February 27.
What could be the explanation? Were they really underrepresented, or were they undercounted because of racial profiling by liberal media camera crews who knew that their producers were more interested in capturing white-on-black violence than the less politically correct black-on-white violence?
We’ll never know. At least we have the answer, the source of the facts on interracial violence, and we can blast e-mail all our liberal friends with confidence. Not that our liberal friends will ever let the facts bother them.