As Rod Liddle notes, there’s a hell of a media storm raging over sexual abuse committed by men of
Pakistani origin. Certain of the media’s more craven elements have capitulated to the politically correct mantra that it’s wrong to judge at all; and certain of the media’s more reactionary outlets
are entertaining blanket condemnations of the entire Pakistani community. Jack Straw has it about right. He told Sky News:
‘There is a specific problem about a very small minority of normally Pakistani heritage men who are targeting young, vulnerable white girls. It is somethingt which is abhorred by the
Pakistani heritage community as much as anybody else, but it is an issue and its about how those young men think of women of their own ethnicity, who tend to be off limits, and what they think
about white girls, and there’s no point pretending it’s not a problem, because it is.’
Aside from cultural heritage, this story relates to David Aaronvitch’s and James Forsyth’s concerns about the sexualisation of society. By which I mean that the perpetrators’
perceptions of white girls did not originate from The Thousand And One Nights. ‘She brought it on herself’ is never a defence; in this instance it merely suggests that two
broad cultural traditions are mutually unconversant, and that ignorance has led to the most barbaric criminality. The issue is not social conservatism per se (there are few more socially
conservative communities than the Pakistani British); rather, it seems to me, the issue is the continued failure of a multicultural approach to create an equable social settlement in Britain.
PS: Broadly speaking, Paul Goodman agrees. He writes:
‘This view can be summed up as multiculturalism – a settlement under which different communities are allowed, within certain minimal legal restaints, to find their own way. Its inevitable
outcome is that there’s no real integration into Britain’s liberal and democratic settlement. We have long passed the point at which such a policy is tolerable – if it ever was – or at which
serious problems, such as the grooming by some young Pakistani men of some non-Pakistanti young girls, should not be openly debated.
There’s an alternative both to silencing discussion by sweeping awkward subjects under the carpet, or exposing vulnerable people to racial and religious abuse – namely, a public conversation
that’s decent, honest, and doesn’t shirk the issues. I believe that such exchanges will reach a clear consensus: that there must be integration into common British norms, including, of
course, equal opportunities for women and zero tolerance of racism.’
Paul is right. But to achieve his admirable goal, society must dispel ignorance and mistrust from its constituent parts.
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