straw man

I’ve never been a big fan of Jack Straw, possibly because I used to find him quite terrifying in The Demon Headmaster. I’m also slightly revolted by the fact he used the phrase “easy meat” to describe teenage girls groomed by older men. Having said that I largely agree with what he said. It’s important not to be racist, but it’s also important not to let a fear of being branded racist get in the way of a legitimate opinion. The most compelling evidence of an underlying slightly warped view of white people(/girls) by Asian men is offered in none other than the BBC have-your-say section in which two men with Asian sounding names attempt to defend the Pakistani community from Jack Straw’s comments:

The problem is not with the Pakistani community – it is with the white community. These Pakistani men are sexual predators, just as any sexual predator would be from any ethnic background. Jack Straw is trying to dodge the real problem of sexualisation of the young in Britain and instead trying to place the focus on the Pakistani community. Sanj, London

Yet again a stupid comment by Jack Straw which means that we will now satisfy ourselves it is a cultural problem instead of investigating the real cause. This is to do with the moral breakdown within society and liberal attitudes towards sex – allowing these people to prey on the vulnerable. It’s not about culture or race. Hasan, Leeds

So there you go, sexual abuse of teenage girls by asian men is actually white people’s fault for being too liberal. Okay, they don’t explicitly say this, but the fact they felt it necessary to make allusions to the idea implies they must feel it to be relevant on some level. The first one seems sensible but he explicitly deflects a lot of the blame with “the problem is with the white community”. Err, no, it’s not. The second one has a deep seated belief that there is a lack of morality in British society which is another way of saying that we are somehow impure. Morality is a very good invention but it goes beyond its useful bounds when people start using it to push arbitrary viewpoints, because it provides a method to demonise people on an arbitrary basis, which goes some way to justifying abusing them; after all, if you perceive somebody to have fewer morals than you, it implies you believe them to be less good, less pure in the eyes of some kind of (practically) absolute measurement, and essentially, that their existence is somehow detrimental to the universe. Those comments above are at best stupid and at worst casual racism, and they are justified by MORALITY!. It is not clear whether this is really a widespread feeling among Asian men but the BBC published 7 comments attacking Jack Straw and two of them fell into this trap. We don’t really expect the BBC to be selectively picking comments to demonise asian men. Two of them were happy to casually infer a deep rooted disapproval of British society on the apparent basis that it doesn’t conform to Asian (muslim?) ‘morals’, so from that I would say there is in fact a cultural problem.

It’s like in that Robert Heinlein book where he has the main female character come out with the immortal line “Oh please, 9 out of 10 women who get raped did something to deserve it”, and you’re like whaaaaaaaaaaat?. It must have made some sense in his head but who knows what or how. It just shows a fundamentally broken view of women and a glaring lack of perspective on their right not to be sexually abused. This was probably about 300 pages after the story ran out of ideas though, the plot had mysteriously vanished and the characters had pretty much melted into a sort of single shapeless and personalityless blob, so you were by this stage quite used to having the characters’ contrived dialogue act as transparent mouthpieces for the author’s fairly uninteresting views. Also he seemed to think that women (and men) secretly want to have sex with anything that moves and anyone pretending otherwise just hadn’t been liberated. Stranger in a Strange Land. Not recommended, except perhaps the unabridged version, for insomnia.

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