Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Self-loathing and the Australian riots

Janet Albrechtsen: Racism is repulsive, but so is self-loathing

YESTERDAY a colleague emailed me from New York. The young lawyer - her family lives in Brighton-Le-Sands, a bayside suburb north of Cronulla in Sydney - wrote: "While I agree there is no justifying excuse for the violence and breakdown in order that occurred at Cronulla, it needs to be put in context. Unless you live in an area like Cronulla, Brighton-Le-Sands or Bondi, you have no idea what it is like to have one's suburb regularly inundated with large groups of young Muslim men from the western suburbs who proceed to shoot people [as has happened in Brighton], intimidate people, regularly threaten people within their vicinity with violence, drive around in large groups screaming abuse at people from cars with their music blaring, regularly brawling, etc."

This young woman recounted that all of the girls in her family (except the youngest) have been "subject to harassment inflicted by groups of these men - comments on our appearances, racist comments on our Australian background, unwanted touching, being followed while walking home by groups of men in cars (I was once followed all the way home - have never been so scared in my life), sexually explicit remarks while alone, with friends or with boyfriends, unwanted called-out invitations to have sex with groups of them, etc".


Of course, none of this will figure in the reasonings of the self-hating left, which operates in Australia like anywhere else. According to them, these riots are nothing more than brute racism and "targetting of people with an Islamic background". In the Left's self-loathing viewpoint, it's always the Westerners who are at fault.

Suggesting that the nation is swamped by racists, that ordinary Australians need some fine moral instruction from the likes of Brown, is just the latest adaptation of the David Williamson school of thought that treats ordinary Australians with disdain. It's a form of elitist self-loathing that gets us nowhere in explaining why thousands of people descended on to the streets of Cronulla in apparent retaliation against the attack on two surf lifesavers by men of Middle Eastern descent.


Meanwhile, when people of other ethnicities commit atrocious acts, their culture is used as an excuse, because in the warped multicultural view of the Leftists, only Western culture can (and should) be criticised.

Recognising human nature means that multiculturalism, though a fine sentiment, can only work if we unite behind a core set of values. Unfortunately though, that policy has become a licence for rampant cultural relativism. We are loath to criticise any aspects of cultures (except our own) for fear of sounding terribly judgmental and unfashionably un-multicultural.

Instead, culture is talked about only as an excuse for abhorrent behaviour so that the offender becomes the victim. Last week, a convicted gang rapist claimed he assaulted a 14-year-old girl because she was not wearing traditional Muslim dress and he thought she was promiscuous. Pointing to cultural differences, the 27-year-old Pakistani-born man said: "I believed at the time I committed this offence that she had no right to say no. I believed I'm not doing anything wrong." A month ago his lawyer told the court his client was a "cultural time bomb".

If this view, that culture can be used as an excuse, represents the views of even a subset of Muslim youth, then we have a problem. If we are not talking openly about egregious aspects of some cultures (except as an excuse), we have only ended up with a bigger problem. And, to date, we have not been talking. Multiculturalism has been synonymous with a rights agenda - addressing minority grievances - rather than a framework for talking about responsibilities. The violence that has been brewing in Cronulla, culminating in the disgraceful rampages in recent days, is a pointer that if we're serious about social cohesion, it's time we all demonstrated social responsibility.


It's also time we recognised the Left's sacred cow of multi-culturalism for what it really is: self-hating revulsion for Western culture.

Previous articles on: political correctness
Thoughtcrime in the UK

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