Columnist Questions Few Reports of Hate Crimes in Alabama in 2011


Writing in the Birmingham News, columnist John Archibald questioned hate crime statistics released this week by the FBI that said Alabama had only 96 case reported in 2011. He writes, “That’s just 1.3 percent of all the hate in America, according to these stats. It’s a fourth of the filth of Michigan or Massachusetts, half the hate of Kentucky or Minnesota, a far more charitable place than Colorado, Texas or Virginia. According to these numbers, nobody in 2011 committed a single hate crime in Birmingham or in Mobile, in Huntsville or in all of Montgomery County….Nobody did anything to anybody because they were black or brown or white. Sing hallelujah, Alabama. Or just wake up.”

He continued, “Because a reasonable person would also know on first glance that these numbers – which show California as 1,000 times more hate-filled than Mississippi — are unreasonable. We’ve come a long way, baby. But not that far. Agencies representing half the population of Alabama don’t report hate numbers to the FBI at all, and many that do routinely list zeros across the board…Alabama’s hate crime numbers are wildly understated because the reporting system is voluntary, the classification of hate crimes is subjective, and individual officers and agencies often simply don’t see the point. So the picture we get is false, and misleading. It promotes ignorance and apathy, and does more harm than good.”

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