On certain days, it seems like the hate never ends.
Shootings, sucker punches, vandalism. The hate inspired attacks keep happening around the United States and around the world.
The FBI has been tracking hate crimes for years and principally, the hatred falls into three main categories: race/ ethnicity; religion and gender. As to the victims, Blacks, Jews and the LGBT community are attacked the most frequently, respectively.
The overall trend in hate crimes was declining but began to uptick in 2015 due to a 23% spike in anti-religion attacks. The numbers spiked again in 2017 with year-on-year increases of 18%, 23% and 23% for race, ethnicity and religion-based hate crimes, respectively. It is the only year when three different categories had double-digit increases in attacks.
The news reported the headline numbers and sometimes did an iota of work in discussing the frequency of attacks. For example, with Blacks making up 13.4% of the U.S. population and Whites constituting 76.3%, the fact that the gross number of attacks on Blacks is the highest than any racial group is magnified when factoring that there are 5.7 times fewer Black people than Whites.
There is almost no coverage regarding the attackers but the FBI tracks such information too, albeit the data is rough as in many cases, the ethnicity of the attacker is unknown.
White people are much more likely to attack Jews than the Black or the LGBT communities. In every year since 2004, White people accounted for more than 76% of the anti-Semitic crimes, the rate one would expect if every race and ethnicity was just as likely to commit a hate crime. The disproportionate share of anti-Semitic attacks peaked in 2005 and has run at roughly the expected rate since 2015.
White people accounted for roughly half of the racist attacks in 2019, quite a bit below the expected 76.3% level. Their share of the racist attacks – mostly against Black and Hispanic people – has been rising up since 2016. This coincides with the Trump presidency as the media reported.
White attacks against the LGBT+ community has been on a steady decline since 2008. While White bias attacks by race and sexual orientation used to track closely from 2004 to 2009, the gap has opened up considerably.
The chart for Black offenders is the inverse of that for Whites.
Black people are committing a disproportionately high level of the hate crimes against the LGBT community, and the trend line is getting worse. Rather than committing 13.4% of the hate crimes in line with their overall population, Blacks committed 27.2% of the hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation.
When it comes to bias attacks stemming from hatred of religion and race, the Black community is roughly in line with the expected distribution, however the trends are on a fairly steady upward climb. Consider that Black people accounted for over three times the percentage of anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2019 as they did in 2005.
The FBI has only tracked the Hispanic community as a distinct Offender category since 2013, with little data in that year and 2014. Presumably, they were included in the category of Black offenders, so the combined data would make the Black and Hispanic numbers look quite bad.
Using the FBI data as compiled, the Hispanic community commits far fewer hate crimes than the size of its population (16.7%) would suggest. However, the trend lines are going up for every category.
Asian Americans account for 5.6% of the U.S. population, and commit an insignificant percentage of all hate crimes.
Comparing the the three main ethnic groups shows a difference in the focus of hate crimes.
|#1 Target||Jews (flat)||LGBT (climbing)||LGBT (climbing)|
|#2 Target||Race (climbing)||Jews (erratic)||Race (climbing)|
|#3 Target||LGBT (declining)||Race (climbing)||Jews (climbing)|
When looking at hate crimes by victim, race-related attacks are the most frequent and gather the most attention. Yet when viewing hate crimes by offenders, race-related hate crimes are not the leading motivation for Whites, Blacks or Hispanics, where anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT sentiments dominate. Perhaps it is time to look at hate crimes through the other side of the prism.
(note: in 2019, there were 2,314 attacks against Black people while there were 995 against Jews and 867 against gay men. There was another 752 against others in the LGBT+ community. An average Jew and LGBT person is much more likely to be attacked in a hate crime than an average Black person.)
Related First One Through articles:
Don Lemon, Here are Some Uncomfortable Facts about Hate Crimes in America
Is Antisemitic Graffiti a Hate Crime?
Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children
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