Magazine article The Crisis

FBI Reports Increase in Hate Crimes against African Americans

Magazine article The Crisis

FBI Reports Increase in Hate Crimes against African Americans

Article excerpt

From music CDs by White supremacists being handed out to middle and high school students around the country to threatening letters to actor Taye Diggs and his wife because of their interracial marriage, crimes against individuals because of race are up, and African Americans remain at the top of the list.

According to the FBI report, "Hate Crime Statistics 2003," hate crimes against African Americans were nearly twice that of all other race groups combined. The total number of hate crimes rose slightly to 7,489. Thirty-four percent were against Blacks. Overall, nearly 2,548 total hate crimes were motivated by anti-Black sentiments, which resulted in 3,150 victims, including four murders.

But according to Mark Potok director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., "the numbers are almost worthless."

"Hate crimes statistics vastly understate the reality of hate crimes on the street," says Potok. "As a practical matter, you cannot tell if hate crimes are going up or going down. …

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