Thursday, May 26, 2005

Politically Correct Reasoning

Gay American journalist Chris Crain and his partner are savagely attacked and beaten by a group of Moroccan thugs while walking down a street in Amsterdam apparently solely for holding hands in public. So, who's to blame? The men who attacked them without provocation? Not according to a leading gay American activist. He says the real culprits are ... wait for it! ... white Dutch society. Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Program at the Human Rights Watch, attributes the attack to Dutch racism.

Long believes the attack against Crain may be as much about current tensions over immigration in Dutch society as it is about homophobia. Crain described his attackers as having "Moroccan features" and speaking with "a heavy accent." About a million people living in Holland identify as Muslims, most of them immigrants from Morocco and Turkey. Many of them view homosexuality with disdain and are, in turn, treated with disdain by the ethnic Dutch.

"There's still an extraordinary degree of racism in Dutch society," Long said. "Gays often become the victims of this when immigrants retaliate for the inequities that they have to suffer."

Apparently Mr. Long is unaware that Morocco is an Islamic nation where homsexual conduct is officially illegal and punishable by prison, or worse. In the early part of the 20th century, Morocco had a reputation for turning a blind eye toward discreet homosexual liasons - which made it a popular destination for European travellers; however, a rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism within Morocco has changed that. It is useful to remember that throughout much of the Muslim world, homosexuality is punishable by death. The Moroccans who beat Mr. Crain and his partner most likely did so because, as Muslims, they despise homosexuality and consider open displays of homosexual behavior to be simply another example of Western infidel affrontery to Islam. Recall that Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Moroccan Islamist. Recall too that some Moroccans living in the Netherlands - one of the most open and tolerant societies in the world - celebrated Mr. van Gogh's murder and embraced his killed as a hero.

Writing in Reason Magazine's online blog, Cathy Young incisively analyzes Mr. Long's bizarre reaction to the Amsterdam attack, and the politically correct double standard of justice demanded by multiculturalism.

Welcome to Politically Correct World, where acts that would merit unequivocal condemnation if committed by white males are viewed in a very different light when the offenders belong to an "oppressed group."

The irony, of course, is that one of the principal reasons for the recent anti-immigrant backlash in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands is the fear that the influx of immigrants from deeply conservative Muslim cultures will threaten the country's liberal attitudes on social issues, particularly the rights of women and gays. (Pim Fortuyn, the maverick anti-immigrant Dutch politician assassinated in 2002, was openly gay.) This fear is shared by some immigrants—notably, the Somali-born politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The tension between two pillars of the modern left—multiculturalism and progressive views on gender—is not new. It has been particularly thorny in many European countries where, in lieu of an American-style "melting pot" approach, immigrants have been traditionally encouraged to maintain their distinct values and ways. Recently, however, these tensions have started to come out into the open. According to a March article in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist last November after he had made a documentary about the oppression of Muslim women "galvanized the Netherlands and sent shock waves across Europe."

The central thesis of political correctness and multiculturalism is that (white) European-descended males are the sole fountainhead of all evil in the world. If non-white peoples do terrible things, according to the PC/multiculturalist mindset, then they must have done them because of something white people did first. Hence, in Mr. Long's mind, if a group of (non-white) Moroccans beat up two gay men for no apparent reason, then it must have been because the Moroccans were badly treated by racist white-Dutch society. In this vision, the Moroccans are the real victims and Mr. Crain and his partner are reduced to mere collateral damage of white racism.


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