If there's to be racial goodwill and harmony, at the minimum we must
be willing to confront sometimes ugly truths. One of those truths has to
do with interracial crime.
We all readily condemn highly publicized racial violence, and rightly
so, such as last year's brutal murder of James Byrd by white
supremacists in Jasper, Texas. However, there's little notice and
condemnation of interracial crimes when whites are the victims.
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Last June, Jared Taylor, president of New Century Foundation, in
Oakton, Va., held a press conference at Washington's National Press Club
to report on the foundation's recently released study, "The Color of
Crime." Some of the study's findings about interracial crime were
surprising, so much so that I did an independent verification of the
Since 1972, the U.S. Department of Justice has conducted a National
Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to determine the frequency of certain
crimes. One category is interracial crimes. Its most recent publication
(1997), "Criminal Victimization in the U.S.," reports on data collected
in 1994. In that year, there were about 1,700,000 interracial crimes, of
which 1,276,030 involved whites and blacks. In 90 percent of the cases,
a white was the victim and a black was the perpetrator, while in 10
percent of the cases it was the reverse.
Another finding of the NCVS report is that of the 2,025,464 violent
crimes committed by blacks in 1994, 1,140,670 were against whites --
that's slightly over 56 percent. Whites committed 5,114,692 violent
crimes; 135,360, or 2.6 percent were against blacks.
In 1997, there were 2,336 whites charged with anti-black crimes and
718 blacks charged with anti-white crimes, so-called hate crimes.
Although the absolute number of white offenders was larger, the black
rate per 100,000 of the population was greater, making blacks twice as
likely to commit hate crimes.
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Regardless of race, criminal violence is despicable and deserving of
condemnation. But far more destructive are the official and unofficial
attempts to mislead and conceal. Roughly 400 members of the major print
and electronic media were invited to the press conference on "The Color
of Crime." According to Taylor, several asked for advanced copies before
they'd consider sending anyone. Only 14 people stayed for the briefing
and only a couple reported on the study, most notably The Washington
Times and C-Span. One reporter said that he'd like to write a story but
he doubted he could get it by his editor.
If the facts were the other way around, everybody from The New York
Times and President Clinton to the NAACP, Jesse Jackson and the
Congressional Black Caucus would be shouting about it and demanding that
something be done. Some might want to keep silent about the facts for
fear that publicizing the true nature and magnitude of interracial crime
might give, as I've been told, "aid and comfort to America's white
To the contrary, silence is perhaps one of the most effective
recruitment tools for racists. They can use our silence for
proselytizing disaffected whites with demagoguery about how hate crimes
are not important unless a black is the victim and how no one cares
about blacks raping white women and assaulting white men.
Interracial crime has other devastating effects on racial relations.
Whites are apprehensive of blacks, and blacks are offended at being the
subjects of that apprehension. Whites are less willing to live in black
neighborhoods. For the unthinking among us, these and other responses to
racial disparities in crime translate into simple racism.
Multi-ethnic societies are inherently unstable, and how we handle
matters of interracial crime is just one of the ways that we're
contributing to that instability.