When I hear of a vicious crime, the first thing I think is please don't let it be a Muslim, or a black, Arab, or Asian. Black and Asian Britons provoke extra opprobrium.Bit of a sudden conversion, Yaz?!
According to reports, the House of Lords Standards and Privileges Committee will this week suspend and fine three peers for abusing the expenses system… Two of them are Labour peers and one a "people's peer", not a party nominee but somebody who applied to get into the Lords.I guess we now know why they applied…
The first question is: "What makes social democrats act so greedily?" Then follows dismay, as once again principles appear to be discarded by some people when they join the Establishment. Britons of colour will experience further grief because these three are British Asians, people who got into the palace of high honour, once a citadel only for white folk with serious money and/or clout.Congrats, then, Yaz! They’ve proven themselves to be every bit as greedy, grasping and unscrupulous as our home-grown politicians.
We really are all the same under the skin, aren’t we?
Why should we, who did nothing wrong, feel so culpable, you might ask?Dunno. I don’t feel culpable for the crimes of others. Do you?
Because that is how it just is, or just feels, every time one of "us" does wrong.Ah. It seems you do.
It is a common reaction among people from groups who have had to fight for rights and a fair deal.Oh, of course. It's because you've been discriminated against in the past, right? Everything leads back to that. Everything...
When systematically excluded men and women do gain entry, expectations of them extend far beyond their own individual actions. What they do has consequences for the groups they are affiliated to, the struggle, big and small politics.Isn't it time they stopped seeing themselves as 'part of a group' and saw themselves as individuals, then?
My mum, Jena, and her friends used to want their children to aim high but always warned that if any of us did get up there, we were to make sure we never brought shame on the family, mosque or temple, or our various communities.Not such an alien concept as you make it sound, Yaz. Many years ago, social shaming would have kept many a young miscreant in line. But the progressives knew best...
The most obvious example of this burden of representation is Barack Obama. Africans, Muslims, African-Americans, black and Asian Britons rejoiced at his election, claiming his victory as their own. I look back at my own foolish and excessive emotions the day he went into the White House, the tears and songs of praise that rose in my throat, as if this President was divinely blessed and heralded by God and the angels.Ahh, yes, the sainted Barak! Whose staff are now reduced to hand-picking a friendly audience for a TV puff-piece. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, eh, Yaz?
How can he possibly live up to these expectations? How will we cope when our ecstasy turns to agony? This is the terrible dilemma: we feel obliged to defend Obama when he is attacked by racists but still hold him to impossibly high standards because of his race.Because the only reason anyone's attacking him is because they are racists, eh, Yaz?
The same double standards apply to those who do not hold themselves up as race heroes. Every time I hear of a vicious crime, the first thing I think is please don't let it be a Muslim, or a black, Arab or Asian. Black and Asian Britons behaving badly provoke extra opprobrium – from both the wider society and their own people. When there is a gang rape by young black men, cases of lethal domestic violence by Asian men, even white-collar crimes, the blame spreads beyond the specifics, an unpreventable infection. The miscreants are seen as reflecting their tribes.This is the double-edged sword of identity politics, Yaz. You can't scream that you need to be treated as a cohesive minority, and then fall back on individualism when it suits you.
Tim Wise wrote a perceptive article on this tendency in LiP, an iconoclastic online magazine. White deviants and criminals, he says, "are allowed the privilege of individualisation ... allowed to be 'just bad persons', unlike non-whites who come to be seen collectively as 'bad people'."Oh, really?
To make it worse, some crimes are ethnically profiled while others, particularly those committed mostly by white people, are just seen as, well, crimes.Get back to me when we have honour-killings and acid-throwing, not to mention unwanted-bride-burning, in the mainstream culture, eh?
That then is my quandary. I hate it that some people are more harshly judged than others and forced to carry the weight of history.And yet, all you ever do is whine, whine, whine about colonialism and the horrors you claim it wrought...