By the numbers

On the day when this story about white teens beating and running over an African American man wasn’t making the news, I was driving in my car and listening to the radio.  In that one hour I heard about the mob attacks at the Wisconsin State Fair three times.  Black kids terrorizing innocent white fair goers.

Yes, I agree it is terrible.  The news reports have been sketchy, but eleven people were reported to have been hurt.  None were murdered.

In my journalism class, I learned “if it bleeds, it leads.”

But when Filipino American Joseph Ileto was murdered, many of the news stories led with the wounded individuals at the Jewish Community Center.  In some of the articles, Ileto’s murder was relegated to an afterthought.  There was one where he wasn’t mentioned at all.

It’s about who is considered important.  Look at the numbers:

In 2009 there were 36 race-related hate crime prosecutions in Wisconsin. How many against white people?  Two.  Twenty-seven of the victims were black, and the other seven were “others.”

The WI Office of Justice Assistance statistics breaks out “anti-Hispanic” and “anti-other-ethnicity” separately; there were five cases.

So what is that?  Even without counting the “anti-ethnicity,” white victims are less than six percent.  Even if you added in eleven more white folk, you’d still be just around 27 percent.

What is the reality?  The reality is that hate crimes against people of color are underreported.  And they are less likely to be vigorously prosecuted and punished.

People often ask me to prove that racism exists.  And I tell them, just look at the numbers.


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