The case in Derby has revealed some truly unpleasant attitudes to the status of young women
Is Jack Straw right: are white girls viewed by some Pakistani men as “easy meat”? He spoke after the sentencing of Abid Mohammed Saddique and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, ringleaders of a group that targeted girls between 12 and 18 in the Derby area, grooming them for sex.
Straw said that this was noticeable in his constituency, Blackburn: “There is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men… who target vulnerable young white girls.” Mohammed Shafiq, of Muslim youth group, the Ramadhan Foundation, called it racism. “These young men do not see white girls as equal, as valuable, of high moral standing as their own daughters, and their own sisters, which is wrong.”
Elsewhere, there was talk of a “conspiracy of silence”, a politically correct muzzling of this issue. What no one is saying is that if Asian boys view white girls as drunken, worthless, sub-human trash, then, frankly, so does much of non-Asian Britain. In recent years, haven’t we all become rather too comfortable with seeing girls portrayed like this?
Of course such victims are targeted. However, far more significant than colour is the fact that many of them are in care and, therefore, more vulnerable generally. Elsewhere, the supposedly all-important “Asian” element doesn’t bear much scrutiny.
The authors of the widely quoted “on-street grooming” research have already expressed concern that their limited case samples have led to racial generalisations. Straw talks of young Asian men being like any others, “fizzing and popping with testosterone, but Pakistani girls are off limits”, as if this weren’t true of all young males, fizzing, popping, exploding, whatever, who find that some girls are sexually available, others not, for myriad reasons.
Likewise Mohammed Shafiq’s comment about Asian men not viewing white women as equal or valuable as “their own daughters, their own sisters”. Well, join the chauvinist club, Asian guys. It seems to me that many men don’t view females outside their immediate family circle or acquaintance as “equal, valuable or of high moral standing”.
Whenever sex workers are murdered, there is an effort to frame them as daughters, sisters and mothers, precisely because this is the easiest way to humanise them.
Even if Asian men tend to view white girls as easier meat, then where have they learned all this? Not only on the streets where they live, but also in the images surrounding them. There’s endless coverage of drunken “ladettes” out on the lash, young girls being sick into gutters, lying in streets, smoking, getting pregnant, looking gormless, telling people with research clipboards that “all they wanna be is famous, innit”.
In the vast majority of cases, the girls featured are white. Not because only white girls spend a period of their youth making mistakes, living and learning, but presumably because it is less tricky to use pictures of white girls. Images of young black girls making mistakes, living and learning, could so easily look a bit racist. Therefore, any coverage of them must be framed in more sombre reportage, which to me seems racist in itself.
Likewise, Asian girls mainly crop up when there are arranged marriages to fret over. All of this when figures show that all girls, regardless of race, tend to do better than boys at school and presumably, therefore, are pretty similar in other ways too.
Are all non-white girls so much better behaved or is this inverted racial stereotyping, evocative of a society that’s become far too comfortable with images of young, female, white trash, to the extent that many white and black boys probably also think they’re “easier”? As the abuse in Derby involved children as young as 12, something even darker was going on. However, in the main, if young Asian guys have concluded that white girls are “easy meat”, then there could be a lot more to this than good old handy “cultural differences”.