Thumbs down: Far from free
The annual report of hate crimes reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation speaks volumes about the challenges the U.S. still faces as a nation seeking to overcome the toxic effects of racial prejudice. Of the 6,222 single-bias incidents reported in 2011, almost half (46.9 percent) were associated with racial bias; an additional 11.6 percent were associated with bias against certain ethnicities or nationalities. The Indiana Civil Rights Commission recently posted a Youtube video "The Road to Equality," highlighting efforts to tackle discrimination within the state. The commission handles cases related to race, sex, disability and sexual harassment, but not sexual orientation. Marion County, however, is one of a handful of Indiana counties that does expand its discrimination protections to the LGBT community. If one takes the FBI's hate crimes report as any indication, the community clearly needs protection: More than 20 percent of the single-bias hate crimes in 2011 were attacks based on the victims' sexual orientation.