Thursday, July 9, 2015

The racial disproportionality in "hate crime" arrests looks like another stealth class issue

On Facebook, someone linked to Hate crime charges sought in July 4 beating and made a comment about how "hate crimes" are often charged against black folks. I commented,
Hmm. On the one hand, I hate "hate crime" laws: arrest people for their deeds. But if you're suggesting "hate crimes" disproportionately affect black folks, there's this from the FBI in 2014: "Of the reported 3,407 single-bias hate crime offenses that were racially motivated, 66.4 were motivated by anti-black or African-American bias, and 21.4 percent stemmed from anti-white bias." Hate crimes tend to be committed by poor folks, and there are twice as many white people as black in poverty in the US, so it suggests the hate crime laws are being administered more on the basis of class than race. Though I'd also like to know what percentage of hate crimes are urban, since black poverty is more urban than white and Hispanic poverty. And I realize correlation is not necessarily causation, so there may be other factors at work, of course.
My quote's from FBI — Latest Hate Crime Statistics Report Released.

That 2-to-1 ratio is not the perfect tool for seeing what may be more about class than race, of course, but it's often useful for understanding the racial imbalance of many things  in the US, including imprisonment and death row. I probably got the hint from Martin Luther King's declaration,
There are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.

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