« Go back a post || Return to G-A-Y homepage || Haul tail to next post »


Goodwin's law: Push the inconvenient hate crimes data behind the curtain?

by Jeremy Hooper

In yesterday's NY Post, Republican strategist, columnist, and Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin said the following about New York state's hate crimes states, with a goal of making those who sound alarms about the connection between certain forms of discrimination and certain forms of violence seem wrongheaded and misrepresentative:

The hate-crime wave that wasn't

Screen Shot 2011-01-03 At 12.05.14 PmDid you hear about the surge in hate crimes in New York? Bias against Muslims is the driving force, proving what a horribly victimized minority they are.

Just kidding.

Hate crimes are up 14 percent across the state, but those against Muslims are a tiny fraction. Of the 683 reported to police in 2009, only 11 targeted Muslims. Yes, 11. In 2008, there were eight.

Compare that with the 251 against Jews, or 37 percent of the total. Anti-black crimes were down slightly, to 144, or 21 percent of the total.

The biggest rise was in crimes against gays, from 70 to 107.

Remember those numbers the next time someone, maybe someone in City Hall or the White House, warns against a rising tide of Islamophobia. Use the facts to shut them up.


Okay, so Mr. Goodwin's point is to disprove Islamophobia. And frankly, there are any number of reasons why obvious and odious Islamophobia wouldn't translate into actual violence in the same way that it might towards other groups. Personally I have some theories, but no certainty (and would want to more fully research the subject before weighing in publicly).

But I do know one very large, overlooked point here is the startling rise in homo-hostility. Mr. Goodwin fails to even address the possible roots for the uptake in anti-LGBT violence, which is just plain disingenuous. Because if the goal is to say that verbal slights against a minority population do not translate into actual violence, a political watcher making such a claim has to acknowledge ALL of the stats involved. This is especially true of the one stat that so markedly went up!

Over the past year, the conservative movement's attitudes towards gays certainly have not dissipated -- so why should it be fair to say that these stats "prove" attitudes towards Islam (and especially certain mosques/developments) played no role in on-the-ground malevolence, yet overlook the insight this same exact data set might prove about attitudes toward LGBTs? Answer: It shouldn't. It isn't.

In 2010, this writer personally witnessed, here on the New York state soil where I make my residence, a sign-carrying gathering wherein crowds of largely right-leaning folks protested a lower Manhattan Islamic development. I also personally witnessed a couple of sign-carrying gatherings wherein crowds of largely right-leaning folks protested my legal, civil marriage. Is there rhyme or reason for why and when these kinds of fired up protests sometimes turn into physical pain? Well, none of us know for sure, and so it's in all of our interests to better understand these patterns. But in doing so, we can't act like we live at a political smorgasbord, where our yearly takeaways only involve whatever point we wish to make in a certain column or blog post. This annual hate crimes data forms a very large mirror which casts back a portrait of our full society. By not reflecting on the complete picture, we do further disservice to the persecuted within.

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper

Your thoughts

comments powered by Disqus

G-A-Y Comments Policy

Related Posts with Thumbnails