Turning up the Pressure on Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia

Doing a little research for an article, I was just looking at a table from the FBI’s compilation of hate crime statistics broken down by state, released last November.

I was aware that, although the Attorney General is required to collect data on crimes manifesting evidence of prejudice, the compiled statistics are notoriously unreliable because of reporting problems; however, until I looked at the chart, I didn’t understand the degree to which certain states take the reporting seriously and others don’t.

In 2008, New Jersey reported 744 incidents, Massachusetts reported 333, and Michigan reported 560.

During that same time period, Alabama reported 11 incidents, Mississippi reported 4, and Georgia reported 9.

Particularly given the history of discrimination, intimidation, and violence against minorities in those three southern states, I don’t understand how this blatant failure to cooperate with the data collection is tolerated.

Lack of political will? An ambivalent media establishment? The haze of “post-racialism”?

Can anyone fill me in?

Oh, and happy MLK Day.

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1 Response

  1. ohwilleke says:

    Lack of identity politics theory in the popular consciousness?

    Identifying a crime as a “hate crime” involves a certain amount of sociological imagination to link a crime to a worldview that gives the concept meaning. And, unless that worldview is shared by jurors as well as lawyers, it won’t improve the chance that a jury will convict.

    What makes sense to people living in the post-industrial dystopia, is not necessary what makes sense to people living in the old South. A habit of identifying crimes as “hate crimes” may create a reputation for prosecutors that makes it harder for them to develop the biracial consensus they need on juries to get consensus by pinning those prosecutors to an “outsider” (i.e. carpetbagger) worldview.