Friday, 31 May 2013

The Woolwich "suspects" were black, and they were savage – what is Rod Liddle apologizing for?

I’ve only just caught up with the brouhaha over this comment from Rod Liddle in last week's Spectator:
Two black savages hacked a man to death while shouting Allahu Akbar; that’s really all you need to know, isn’t it?

The adjective black has now been removed from the article on the magazine's website and Liddle has apologized, explaining that he was trying to avoid the ridiculous phrase “men of Muslim appearance”, which is nonsensical, given that Muslims – like Christians - come in all shapes, sizes and colours and that the two men in question weren’t dressed in the sort of clothing we tend to associate with mainstream Islam.

In the circumstances, referring to the ethnic origins of the suspects was perfectly valid, given that  a worrying number of home-grown British Islamofascist terrorists are black. This obviously matters.

I would have no objection to the use of the phrase “white savages” if young white British males had tried to hack of a black soldier’s head in a London suburb, and I’d be happy for anyone to identify, say, Stephen Lawrence’s killers in that way.

Preceding a pejorative noun – whether that be savages or layabouts or hooligans or oppressors – with a racially-defining adjective is not in itself wrong. Liddle’s mistake was to employ a cliché which has often been used to suggest that there is something innately uncivilized about blacks. Did the Spectator’s associate editor really mean to imply that all blacks are savages? Well, obviously not.

But, of course, no modish liberal media type would pass up the opportunity to differ  - here's a classic example of liberal clap-trap from Musa Okwonga in the Independent:
When bile such as “black savages” is sent unchecked into the atmosphere, it poisons the air. In this context, after all, “black savages” suggests that beneath the thin veneer of the apparently civilised Western-born black male lurks an irredeemably violent thug, and that all it takes is the right triggers to unleash him. That is precisely the same thinking upon which imperial attitudes were, and indeed still are, proudly based.
Yeah, "proud" imperialism - that's like such a problem these days.

I suspect that Liddle's real thought crime was contained in the following passage:
In a sense calling it an act of terrorism somehow dignifies the barbarism. The media will now go into crowd-control mode and tell us how all Muslims are as shocked by this attack as are the rest of us and how Islam is a peaceable religion. No, it isn’t.
The suggestion that there’s something inherently violent at the heart of Islam is what will really have upset liberal-leftists. After all, language matters much far more to our intolerant cultural rulers than deeds.

If only Rod Liddle didn’t feel the need to carry on  pretending he’s a Labour-supporting left-winger, when it’s screamingly obvious that he’s far too honest for that. I think it’s significant that the quality of his writing plummets when he starts advocating traditional left-wing causes as opposed to conservative, libertarian or right-wing ones – his heart evidently isn’t really in it any longer. (The same was true of George Orwell - but I'm not suggesting Liddle is in his league as a social commentator.)

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