What has been going on is another divide-and-rule con trick.
An injustice to anyone is an injustice. Just because it is a member of a minority who is the victim does not make that a greater injustice than a wrong suffered by a member of a majority.
This is the kind of reasoning which invents Hate crimes but only applies them on behalf of minorities and not on behalf of injustices carried on against majorities – such as women and lower paid workers.
There has been out of proportion emphasis on historical crimes – yet again, historical crimes against the entire female sex are not included in this equation.
Using justice for minorities to exclude justice for majorities along with carefully edited hate crimes excluding the largest category of victims – is a formula to destroy the Western democratic standard of equality before the law. We all know that the law is applied unequally. The lower classes are prosecuted and imprisoned for minor crimes which would not be applied against the higher social classes. Indeed when the higher social classes commit crimes on an industrial scale, there is still great unwillingness to prosecute. It was not the police who were in the vanguard of pursuing the politician’s expenses scandal but the determined campaign in the national press which forced them to act. And we are all still waiting to see bankers in the dock.
What is going on is a con game. To divert attention from higher class crimes, and ancient wrongs committed mostly by the higher echelons of society, sops are thrown to minority aggrieved groups. Yet the majority has equal grievances. The same people who advanced the slave trade where the same people who were exploiting working men, women and children at home. The same people exploited today. This is a pretence that those in power actually care about human rights and equal rights. Clearly their track record past and present shows otherwise.
Preferential justice – by not treating crimes equally but by inserting the value that crimes against certain categories of people are more important, implying that the same crimes against other categories are less important, is a smokescreen to hide the huge injustices still suffered by majorities, the main categories being women and workers at the bottom end of the labour market. It has also been used as an excuse for ignoring crimes commmitted against the majority, as their crimes are no longer classed as ‘priority’.
But I think it is probably true that all the brou-ha-ha about rights for minorities is just a smokescreen. It is tokenism. The situation of exploitation and abuse, particularly institutional abuse from people in authority, most notably the police, legal establishment, teachers and every bureaucracy still continues against minorities unabated. But now when they complain they look unreasonable – doesn’t everybody know they are getting preferential treatment? Tell me. in this Islamophobic hyper-sensitive age, where does an honest Muslim go when the spy agencies try to blackmail him into spying on the terrorists in his community? Contrary to their public image as heavily portrayed in the media, most Muslims are not stupid, insane nor suicidal. Where would you go if a spy agency attempted to induce you to spy on your local gangsters? Yet it is not our institutions which are lambasted as Islamophobic.
Has exploitation of migrants been brought to an end? Has exploitation of ethnic and women and black workers been brought to an end? Have the police stopped harassing black people and is the imprisonment of black people a true reflection of their criminality? Has trafficking been put under the spotlight and abolished root and branch?
The emphasis on hate crimes and differential justice only focuses on the acts of bigoted individuals – not social institutions which do the most damage. And every community, of all colours and religions has its bigots. Bigotry is not a monopoly of some white men. And as a young Muslim woman pointed out in a public debate and was swiftly talked over by a Muslim man, there are not only white fascists to worry about.
If the ruling class really cared about justice they would outlaw bigotry and exploitation across the board. But it is not in their interests. Keeping people at each others throats entails nurturing bigots and not impeding their activities. Dealing with wholesale injustice only helps the poor and vulnerable, but that damages the interest of the wealthy and powerful, whose ongoing game is exploitation of the greatest number, so they invest instead in circuses and elaborate sleights of hand to keep the populace distracted whilst behind the scenes it is business as usual.
I’ll believe the new human rights rhetoric when I see those in power targeting sexual bigots as the greatest source of injustice in this world.
Meanwhile exploitation of the lowest paid workers, the poor and women goes on unabated, but now their interests have been defined as irrelevant – because they are not minorities.
Preserving the rights of minorities are best served by protecting the rights of majorities – women, lower paid workers and the poor, as most minorities are subsets of these larger groups. The benefit of protection of women’s and workers rights is that it creates the social norms that nobody in these groups should find it normal to be exploited or abused simply for belonging to these groups. When the rights of the majority are asserted, and are viewed as normal, then it is easier for any sub-group to make the case that they are being treated unfairly.
But the alternative of only treating tiny sub-groups as entitled to fair and just treatment whilst the majority continues to be exploited undermines everyone, including the supposedly elevated special category who are likely to find no change in their circumstances, whilst hostility against them is heightened as others suppose they are receiving advantages that they are in fact not receiving.