Jack Straw’s contribution to the debate over the so-called “grooming” of white girls by young men of Pakistani extraction this weekend has certainly got people talking up here. But not in a good way. The issue is proving to be as volatile as a cat held over a torrent of troubled water. Iman Qureshi, over at Liberal Conspiracy, articulates what’s wrong with the level of current debate especially why it tends to smear all Pakistani men, despite the absence of any meaningful statistical evidence to suggest that race is an issue in these crimes.
The delineation of “British Asians”, or “British Muslims” or “Pakistanis” that is being employed; these are not homogenous groups, and they do not come from the same cultures, traditions, or beliefs.
But perhaps the most worrying fact is that the real issue—that both society and justice are routinely failing young girls who are sexually exploited—is being overshadowed by a misleading and pointless debate over race.
This is a far broader problem better addressed by correcting the social welfare system, the legal system, the sexualisation of children and the lens through which we view teenage girls – and of course more responsible and informed discussions on these issues.