Liberal dogma tells us that the differences between the races of man (assuming, for the moment, that such races exist at all) are only skin deep. To challenge that dogma too openly is to commit professional suicide.
But why? What's the big deal?
The problem is that, in the past, claims of racial "inferiority" have been used to justify some of the worst crimes of history - above all, American slavery and Nazi genocide. So shouldn't we suppress any research and/or expressions of opinion that could be interpreted as supporting claims of racial "inferiority?"
True, slavery and genocide don't seem to threaten, at the moment, here in the U.S. But still: mightn't such research and/or such expressions of opinion embolden the racist perpetrators of "hate crimes?" And aren't racist "hate crimes" a grave and gathering danger?
"Hate crime incidents rose nearly 8 percent last year, the FBI reported Monday, as civil rights advocates increasingly take to the streets to protest what they call official indifference to intimidation and attacks against blacks and other minorities."
And the numbers are, indeed, alarming. The FBI confirms no fewer than 7,722 hate crimes in 2006 - up from 7163 in 2005. And 2,640 of these crimes were "anti-black," compared to only 890 that were "anti-white."
But wait. Just exactly how alarming are these numbers, really? Do they warrant fears of a return to widespread racial oppression? And do they justify the suppression of opinions about racial differences that might give aid and comfort to those who pine for a return to the days of slavery and genocide? I don't think so.
The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program (UCR) is also responsible for a comprehensive report on "Crime in the United States" based, like the hate crimes report, on crimes brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies. According to this report, there were more than 11 million crimes in the U.S. in 2006, including an estimated 1,417,745 violent crimes (defined as murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault). So hate crimes account for just under .07% of all crimes, and violent hate crimes (defined the same way) account for just over .07% of all violent crimes.
That's seven one-hundredths of one percent - i.e., about one in fourteen hundred. Hardly an epidemic.
But perhaps this underestimates the scale of the problem. Perhaps the biases of American law enforcement agencies lead them to under-report the true extent of hate crimes - and especially anti-black hate crimes.
Fortunately, the Justice Department administers another program that produces reports on crime in America, including one on hate crimes, based not on reports by law enforcement agencies, but on "a nationally representative sample of 77,200 households comprising nearly 134,000 persons": the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
And, sure enough, when you ask the victims of crime rather than law enforcement, the number of hate crimes skyrockets. Where the UCR reports 7,722 incidents, the NCVS claims "an annual average of 210,000 hate crime victimizations." Moreover, the NCVS puts the percentage of violent hate crimes at about 3% of all violent crimes - a far cry from the .07% found by the UCR.
Now part of the difference is simply that the UCR understandably excludes crimes that go unreported to law enforcement - and only about 44% of hate crimes ever get reported. But the rest of the difference is due to law enforcement rejecting victims' claims that they have been subject to a hate crime. So might this be a route for anti-black bias to creep into the FBI's statistics?
Consider: according to the NCVS, blacks are victims of hate crimes at an annual rate of 0.7 per thousand ("Hate Crime Reported by Victims and Police," table 8). Given the black population of about 36 million, that works out to an annual count of about 25,200 victimizations. Of these, 50.9%, or about 12,827, are perceived by the victim as anti-black - i.e., motivated by his or her race (ibid., p. 6). If 44% of these were reported to law enforcement, then about 5,644 victimizations perceived by the victim as anti-black hate crimes would have been so reported. But the UCR puts the number of anti-black hate crimes in 2006 at only 2,640.
So, apparently, law enforcement accepts as anti-black hate crimes only about 47% of reported victimizations perceived by the victim as anti-black.
Ah-ha! you say.
But now lets run the same calculations for whites. According to the NCVS, whites are victims of hate crimes at an annual rate of 0.9 per thousand. Given the white population of about 200 million, that works out to an annual count of about 180,000 victimizations. Of these, 54.7%, or about 98,460, are perceived by the victim as anti-white - i.e., motivated by his or her race. If 44% of these were reported to law enforcement, than about 43,322 victimizations perceived by the victim as anti-white hate crimes would have been so reported. But the UCR puts the number of anti-white hate crimes in 2006 at only 890.
So, apparently, law enforcement accepts as anti-white hate crimes only about 2% of reported victimizations perceived by the victim as anti-white.
In which case we may conclude that law enforcement agencies are more than twenty times as likely to accept and confirm the perceptions of blacks compared to whites that they have been the victims of hate-crimes.
So much for the biases of American law enforcement agencies.
In fact, it turns out that the main reason the NCVS detects so much more hate crime than the UCR is simply because it takes anti-white hate crime so much more seriously. It reports more than a hundred times as much anti-white hate crime, but less than five times as much anti-black hate crime.
Anyway, all things considered, I don't think that the available data on hate crimes supports the view that white racism is a grave and gathering danger that calls for preemptive strikes on the reputations and careers of people like the hapless James D. Watson. If anything, it suggests that garden variety non-hate crime is an overwhelmingly greater problem for everybody - blacks and whites alike - than hate crime. And we can't solve that problem if we can't research and discuss its root causes - all of its root causes - openly and honestly.