Thursday, April 12, 2007

O! For a British Al Sharpton

It's A Good Thing Tony Blair Doesn't Work at NBC .

Because they would be firing him just about now:
Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem...

Black community leaders reacted after Mr Blair said the recent violence should not be treated as part of a general crime wave, but as specific to black youth. He said people had to drop their political correctness and recognise that the violence would not be stopped "by pretending it is not young black kids doing it".
At least in America, this is the kind of statement which generally only receives approbation when uttered by an extremely successful member of the black community. In our case, someone such as Bill Cosby whose speeches are controversial, but are accepted.

I wonder if Tony Blair is unaware of this rule? Or if he decided to crash the gates of political correctness because he felt that the stakes were important enough finally to act. Not that that will do him any good, I imagine.

It's clear enough that not everyone in his government agrees:
Mr Blair's remarks are at odds with those of the Home Office minister Lady Scotland, who told the home affairs select committee last month that the disproportionate number of black youths in the criminal justice system was a function of their disproportionate poverty, and not to do with a distinctive black culture.
Which is more along the lines of the pablum such events as rising murder rates usually elicit.

In other words, it's not their fault, because they're victims of that world evil known as capitalism.

Apparently, Mr. Blair was motivated to speak by listening to members of the black community itself expound on the matter:
[T]he prime minister admitted he had been "lurching into total frankness" in the final weeks of his premiership. He called on black people to lead the fight against knife crime. He said that "the black community - the vast majority of whom in these communities are decent, law abiding people horrified at what is happening - need to be mobilised in denunciation of this gang culture that is killing innocent young black kids".

But, then, this is quite all right when a black leader utters such words. But when a white man issues such a statement, the only result is likely to be a rush of criticism directed at him. While everyone concerned ignores his statement.

In fact, the phenomenon is quite similar to non-Muslim criticism of Islamic culture. It does no good; it only results in cries of "orientalism," loud dismissals of the criticism and censure to the person who has mustered the courage to speak.

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