The Federal Bureau of Investigation has published its annual data on hate crimes, and the good news is that the number of such crimes fell in 2011 to its lowest level since 1994.
Crimes based on racial, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious or disability bias were a minuscule proportion of total crime, and they were perpetrated by less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the population.
Two items in the data caught my eye.
Both challenge some common tropes heard in mainstream media.
First, among anti-religious hate crimes, Jews make up 63.2 percent of victims, but the total number is tiny: 936. Anti-Muslim hate crime victims make up only 12.5 percent, or 185 victims, of the anti-religious hate crimes though many say that the country is rife with Islamophobia.
Any crime based on bias is to be deplored, but this country doesn't have either rampant anti-Semitic crime or Islamophobia crime. When the Anti-Defamation League says that "that anti-Semitism is still a serious and deeply entrenched problem in America," I have to say bunk, at least according to FBI stats.
The second interesting data point is that hate crimes are not a "white only" problem.
While whites accounted for 59 percent of such offenders, they make up about 78 percent of the population.
In other words, whites commit most hate crimes, but their numbers are disproportionately low among hate-crime offenders.
THE WASHINGTON POST