First, Brendan O’Neill…
Indeed, it seems it is now virtually impossible to have a serious discussion about problematic cultural attitudes, because to do so would apparently offend minorities and, even worse, stir up the passions of the latently racist white masses. And so, in the name of protecting Muslim communities’ sensitivities and dampening down white working-class people’s alleged savagery, we keep quiet about certain things; we gag ourselves.
The truth is that there is something specific going on here, something which is more prevalent among Asian communities, particularly Muslim ones, than among other communities. For a variety of reasons – mainly because the attitudes and behaviour of white working-class women are so profoundly at odds with the outlook of conservative Muslim communities – there is a tendency among many Muslims to look upon such women as inferior, as “sluts”.
…and then, Tim Black…
So while there is definitely a specific problem in specific areas in specific communities, is it really a problem common to British Pakistani culture as a whole? Yes, some Pakistani men – in Rochdale or Burnley or Derby or wherever – no doubt do view British white women through the prism of their particular culture, one still dominated by conservative traditions. And given the enthusiasm with which sections of the British establishment have used Islam to denigrate native British culture (including the Tory MPs who once wrote to the Spectator claiming to agree with an Islamist’s claim that Britain was decadent), no doubt a fair few Muslim men do feel superior to white Brits. But the moment the crimes of individuals are translated into the crimes of a culture, in which every person is then rendered suspect, all perspective is lost.
Yet perspective is the one thing that is difficult to obtain when it comes to viewing a crime that, in its specifics, does seem to have an ethno-cultural dimension. And the reason for this is that the real object of fear, the white working-class Brit, obscures the view. Here we come to the second flight of fancy. Because to state baldly that a racial demographic is present in this peculiar type of sex crime is seen as too risky, too inflammatory. It could, in short, turn a white Brit racist.
If there’s one thing worse, then, than excitedly playing up the sex-pest threat posed by the entire Pakistani community, it is downplaying the capacity of ordinary white Brits to judge for themselves whether a smattering of admittedly miserable sex-abuse cases damns a whole section of society. And here we get to the unsavoury irony of this whole pussyfooting, not-in-front-of-the-children approach to the Rochdale nine. Because to the extent that these sex abusers did view white girls as inferior, morally dissolute creatures, they did so, in part, because that is indeed how members of the political and media class tends to view white working-class Brits. That is, with disdain.