Wilfred Reilly is a political scientist, Kentucky State University professor, and author of the 2019 book Hate Crime Hoax. I wanted to talk to Reilly about the nature of hate crimes in America. One reason I wanted to discuss this is because our perceptions of hate crimes, and racism more generally, are a factor in our us-versus-them polarization, and so examining nuance in this area can be helpful for depolarization purposes.
Topics discussed include: how hate crimes are tracked; why it can be hard to get a clear picture of hate crime numbers; the logic of ‘hate crime’ as a legal designation; irresponsible media coverage of racism-related issues; the motivations of people who fake hate crimes; distorted perceptions of American hate crimes and racism; how distorted perceptions can amplify polarization; and what it’s like working on these topics while teaching at a historically black college.
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