Yes, that is, in essence, one of the damning findings of the report published today that comprises the findings of an inquiry carried out by Professor Alexis Jay looked at how Rotherham Council's children's services department dealt with cases involving child exploitation between 1997 and 2013.
You can read the report here. It is not just a damning indictment of Council staff, but also Councillors (in a Council that has been run by a large Labour majority since its inception in 1974) and the Police.
Key findings are:
- 1400 cases of child abuse over a 16 year period, of whom over one-third were already known to child protection authorities some down to the age of 11;
- Examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone";
- "They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated"
- Police regarded many victims with "contempt";
- Of three previous reports into the problems, one was suppressed and two others ignored.
Beyond the utter incompetence is a more sinister element, you see "By far the majority of perpetrators were described as Asian by victims", but Councillors preferred to treat such cases as "one-offs" refusing to see a pattern.
The bigger concern was "several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist. Others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so."
In other words, Council staff, with support from Councillors, were more concerned about being accused of racism, than they were about young girls being raped.
"One senior officer suggested that some influential Pakistani-heritage councillors in Rotherham had acted as barriers. Several councillors interviewed believed that by opening up these issues they could be 'giving oxygen' to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion"
Yes there was genuine fear of racist nationalist groups using reports of Pakistani gangs committed sex crimes to stoke hatred, but what was the most important thing here? Avoiding political fallout and backlash, or protecting the vulnerable?
The cultural relativism also nearly risked Pakistani women who were abused and given shelter.
"several of those involved in the operational management of services reported some attempts to pressurise them into changing their approach to some issues. This mainly affected the support given to Pakistani-heritage women fleeing domestic violence, where a small number of councillors had demanded that social workers reveal the whereabouts of these women or effect reconciliation rather than supporting the women to make up their own minds".
The Council leader has resigned, but I am less interested in who is found accountable, charged and sued for this right now, than the philosophical failings that it has exposed.
Check your privilege
Identity Politics is an arm of new-leftist political philosophy that takes class analysis (whereby your perspectives are driven by your class, defined mostly by wealth) and extends it to race and sex. It identifies racial groups as being either privileged or disadvantaged, and by extension every member of such group is deemed to have such privilege or disadvantage, from birth.
This is applied primarily in the Anglo-Saxon world, with the United States leading with the "check your privilege" expression deemed appropriate on the basis that all white European Americans are deemed privileged, whilst African-American, Hispanic and Native Americans are not (Asian Americans are inconvenient to this theory so typically ignored).
In the UK, it is more complex, but in essence white British people are deemed to have privilege over any migrants from non-European backgrounds. This is deemed to be so because of historic state and societal racism. Yes, that does mean that men of Pakistani background are deemed disadvantaged over people from white British backgrounds.
The implication is that privilege brings power, unavailable to the "disadvantaged". Don't confuse things by pointing out if the privileged person is poor or uneducated (although being a woman and disabled loses you "privilege points") or the "disadvantaged" person is a tycoon. Reality is relative, and Identity Politics acolytes trade in moral and cultural relativism, and in groups, never individuals. Individuals don't readily fit theories and disrupt careful classification.
So what may be said in Rotherham is that when confronted with evidence of gangs of Asian, predominantly Pakistani men, gangraping young girls, the "check your privilege" monitor went off in the heads of the Identity Politics trained officials and politicians. How racist to assume this is true or a pattern rather than an aberration? For the narrative of a gang of oppressed men raping young girls is difficult to reconstruct into the politically correct one. (i.e. poor people sometimes abuse their kids because life is too hard, as this Kiwi Marxist proclaims)
Instead of ignoring the politics and doing their jobs, they rubbed their hands in anxiety, not about the crimes, or the safety of the girls, but about how "offended" some would be at the fact that groups of Asian men felt freely able to embark on brutal, sadistic and egregious sex crimes on vulnerable young girls.
You see the men who abused the girls thought of them as "sluts", "deserving it" with a level of misogyny that all leftwing oriented feminists would jump on in an instant if it were not men of an ethnic minority background. However, the Identity Politics element makes them pause, for they fear that identifying the cultural factor (as distinct from racial) will be seen as racist and scapegoating.
Yet the cultural factor is clear - rampant misogyny and belief that young girls exist as the sexual playthings of men, and that their religion and race will protect them from law enforcement, for they can cry "racism" for being "targeted".
Those who thought they could protect Rotherham's Asian community from a neo-fascist nationalist backlash now risk causing much more harm to the law abiding members of the Asian communities in Rotherham than what would have happened had they done their jobs properly. Not least because it was Asian girls and women who were also victims, and because it fueled an attitude amongst perpetrators that they could act with impunity.
You can bet that racist groups, ramshackle as they are, will find this abject failure to protect young girls because of the race of those who raped them, will happily feed the racism they were trying to avoid, because of the racism they chose to apply themselves.
Ultimately, what's wrong with Identity Politics, is that it is juvenile. A simplistic attempt to try to extend the banality of Marxist group analysis onto wider groups, that has little more than superficial value in explaining outcomes and providing answers as to the causes and solutions or wider social problems.
For in the UK, power in any relationship, is a function of multiple factors. Family, age, size, wealth, legal authority, employment and yes, sex and in some cases race. It depends on the individuals.
It is the Identity Politics adherents that ignore the individuals, and focus on race, and as a result, in their jobs, they truly did ignore the individuals, who were victims.