Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on hate crimes reveal that anti-black hate crimes have declined dramatically over the past decade.
Robert Cherry, a Brooklyn College economist, writes at RealClearPolicy that while there was a slight increase in anti-black hate crime incidents per million from 2014 to 2015 – 35 to 37.7 per million – it is still far lower than the 2002-2008 average of 83.8 hate crime incidents per million.
A similarly dramatic drop occurred in hate crime assaults during that time. From 2002-2008, the number of anti-black hate crime assaults per million was 25.4. That number declined to 10.5 assaults per million in 2015, which is a slight increase from the 9.1 per million in 2014.
Clearly, the increase in anti-black hate crimes from 2014 to 2015 should not be ignored, but the fact these type of hate crimes have declined by 60 percent in the past decade is a generally positive development. As Cherry notes, the 60 percent decline in anti-black hate crimes "counter[s] the narrative" of those on the left who claim that America is plagued by a pervading, systemic, white supremacist racism.
The FBI's data also shows that more hate crimes have been perpetuated against Jews than any other minority group, with 113 per million. The highest percentage of hate crime assaults, however, were enacted against gay men.
Of the four groups, Muslims saw the largest increase in hate crime assaults from 2014 to 2015, from 10.9 to 19.4 per million. The average from 2002-2008 was 12.3 assaults per million.
"The 2015 assault statistics tell a different story. Anti-Muslim assaults per million are substantially higher than the assault rate on Jews, but continue to be dramatically lower than the anti-gay assault rate. This spike is serious and must be watched," writes Cherry.
But Cherry also warns against oversimplified explanations of rising "Islamophobia" for the increase in assaults anti-Muslim hate crimes:
It is not obvious, however, that organized anti-Muslim incitements are responsible for this uptick in assaults. One might think that these incitements would be most effective in harnessing anger just after a terrorist act committed by Muslims. This is what happened, for instance, after 9/11 when incidents against Muslims increased more than 10-fold. However, the two major terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslims in America during this period — the Boston Marathon bombing and San Bernardino mass-shooting — cannot explain the 2015 spike since the first attack happened in 2013 and the second in December of 2015.
Cherry also notes that assuming white people or "right-wing incitement" were the source of hate crimes against Muslims is a "mistake": "FBI statistics do not isolate the racial distribution of the perpetrators of assaults against Muslims. However, the FBI does identify the racial distribution for all hate crime assaults. In 2015, 53.2, 28.7 and 9.2 percent of hate crimes were committed by white, black, and multi-racial individuals, respectively."
Cherry's full breakdown of the statistics can be read here.