The Federal Bureau of Investigation has published its annual data on hate crimes, and the good news is that the number of such crimes fell in 2011 to its lowest level since 1994.
Last year there were 6,222 incidents of hate crimes in the United States, involving 7,254 offenses. Now, consider that figure in the context of a country with more than 300 million people, where some 1.2 million violent crimes and 9 million property crimes were reported last year. Crimes based on racial, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious or disability bias were a minuscule proportion of total crime, and they were perpetrated by just 5,731 individuals (less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the population).
Two items in the data caught my eye. Both challenge some common tropes heard in mainstream media.