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Sarah Champion, I Think You're Racist. There. I Said It.

14/08/2017 15:53 | Updated 16 August 2017
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Sarah Champion MP, I think you're racist. There. I said it. Does that make me politically correct? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?

If you think I am being over the top, have a quick read of the column in the Sun written by Labour's Shadow Equalities Minister, Sarah Champion. It's entitled "British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls... and it's time we faced up to it." She inexplicably opens with the line "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?"

Well to answer what I'm sure was a rhetorical question Sarah, yes, it does make you a racist. Let me explain why.

In a country which has a history of abuse against South Asians by way of activities such as "Paki-bashings" and at a time of resurgent racism, to make such a sweeping and factually inaccurate statement is incendiary and achieves nothing other than establishing further stigma against minorities. Is it true that there is "a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls" or is it just some Pakistani men? A very small minority? Your statement is lazy and suggests the problem is with all British Pakistani men, which as your colleague Naz Shah MP points out includes other politicians such as Sajid Javid and Sadiq Khan, as well as her two sons.

Naz Shah's rebuttal article makes me wonder whether you consulted with any of your British Pakistani colleagues before launching such a vocal tirade against Pakistani people. Did you?

You go on to say "for too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up...these people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage." Let's overlook the questionable accuracy of your assumptions again, but look at the common denominator that you identify, their "ethnic heritage".

The case which her comments come after is the horrendous sex gang case in Newcastle. Unusually for a sex abuse case, the ethnicity of the perpetrators has been the main focus, and the focus of choice for Labour's Shadow Equalities Minister. The convicted men were mostly British-born, from Iraqi, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, and Turkish communities. Whilst the majority were British Pakistani, not all were. Regardless of this, Ms Champion has labelled the problem as a "Pakistani" one. It's a modern-day, non-violent version of "Paki-bashing" attacking those who are brown-skinned under the all-encompassing "Pakistani" label.

Like more contemporary racists, you have chosen to identify the common denominator, without proper evidence, as "ethnic-heritage" or as it appears you are unable to differentiate between different ethnic backgrounds, just the skin colour. But say it was the ethnic heritage. Is it British Pakistani culture and upbringing that you are pointing the finger at? Are you able to identify what that culture is? Because I can't. Like every other "culture", upbringing varies wildly based on multiple factors. Would you claim the culture and upbringing of an Eton-educated southerner is the same as a manual labourer from a working-class community in Wales, just because they are both White British? Give me a break. You could have pointed out that the common denominator is that they all have dark hair or that they are all men. But you chose race.

For argument's sake, let's assume the premise of your arguments are true. That child sexual exploitation is a problem unique to the British Pakistani community. The solution would therefore be to engage with British Pakistani communities and to enable them to tackle the problem head-on. But what do you hope to achieve by writing a column about it in the Sun? Have you been briefed that the Sun has a large Pakistani readership? Are Pakistani mothers and fathers buying copies of the Sun to catch a glimpse of Page 3? If there are huge numbers of Pakistani people reading it, why haven't you addressed the article to them? When you refer to British Pakistani men as "these people" it sure doesn't sound like you're speaking to them directly.

There is a lot more that can said about this, but let me leave you with this thought. Had this article been written by an MP from any other political party or someone like Donald Trump or Nigel Farage, what would the reaction have been? The fact that the article has been penned by an MP from the proudly anti-racist Labour Party is reason enough to be shocked, nevermind the fact that the MP is the Shadow Minister for "Equalities."

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