This week, Rotherham MP and shadow minister for women and equalities, Sarah Champion, quit after she wrote an article for The Sun about child grooming that was heavily criticised.
She started the article by saying “Britain has a problem with British-Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”. There was then a follow-up piece written by Trevor Kavanagh that praised Sarah’s point of view, and talking about the “Muslim problem”, because apparently we are all about reverting to Nazi Germany these days.
Jeremy Corbyn supported her decision to leave, saying “We cannot demonise whole communities or whole groups of people because of the actions of some people.” Over 100 MPs and peers complained about the article, too.
Margot James, the Conservative business minister, then said that his comments were “a bit similar to Donald Trump’s response to the dreadful race issue in Charlottesville”.
First of all Margot, no, they’re really not. Donald Trump is failing to condemn literal Nazis, therefore furthering an agenda of white supremacy and racism. Jeremy Corbyn is trying to make sure that we go in the opposite direction – away from racism and Islamaphobia, something this country has a serious problem with.
Inflammatory articles by The Sun that look to make blanket assumptions about Muslims are disgusting and need to stop – remember when they ran that “how to spot a terrorist” piece? (Spoiler: it was just a picture of a bunch of Muslims)
Saying that “British Pakistani men are raping white girls” in such a matter of fact way just makes it easier for people to be shifty and suspicious of all Pakistani men. The fact is, this ISN’T a race problem – it’s a sexual abuse problem, and race shouldn’t have to come into it. So what if a large majority of the men doing it are British Pakistani? This shouldn’t change how we see Pakistani men, because the vast majority of them still AREN’T rapists. It feels like people are just trying to stir shit by mentioning race, especially when this country already has such an Islamophobia problem.
Ask yourself – would race come into question if the large majority of men committing these crimes were white? Hell no. When have you ever seen a newspaper headline saying something like “gang of white men found to be grooming women”? You don’t. Because it would just say “gang of men”.
So sorry Margot, but you can sashay away.