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January 16, 2004

Culture matters

Recently one reader ripped into David B for his recent post highlighting the racial disparities in the recent gang rapes in the London area-and the media's lack of attention to the matter. I think the latter point is crucial, because once you have a disjunction between public knowledge and private knowledge, distortions start creeping into social discourse and behavior (more later).

Look at Norway. Here is a statistic:

Statistics from the Oslo region have shown attackers of non-Western origin were described in 65% of all reported rapes.

The report describes an immigrant as a person born outside Norway or born in Norway of two parents from outside the country. Immigrants make up 14% of the population of Oslo.

The Norwegian government, from Left to Right, is now encouraging assimilation and eduation of new populations who have not previously encountered the hyper-progressive gender situation that prevails in Scandinavia. Does culture have nothing to do with these rapes? Norway, like most of Scandinavia, has welfare benefits for residents that ensures a minimum standard of living. Why are men raping women like this when their basic needs are met?

The answer seems obviously at face value: men who come from societies where women exist as objects owned by the extended family, circumcscribed by codes of honor and enforced gender segregation, are not equipped to deal with women who have certain expectations of individual respect and dignity as autonomous agents.

Let me elaborate with a case that illustrates part of the problem:

In the 1960s the first guest workers came to Germany from Turkey. Many were Kurds from backward regions of that country, not individuals from Westernized Ankara, and they had a difficult time understanding the norms of German culture. For instance, many rapes occurred when men received "positive" signals from women, and once she assented to being alone with the man, he simply did not register any further inputs, including "no" or resistance to sexual advances. These were men who had note "dated," had not spent much time with the opposite gender where the individual was not related to them (unless they were married) and simply had few preconceived notions of how to react to a sexually assertive women.

This shouldn't surprise us, there has been a sexual revolution the West, and men now have re-calibrated their expectations of female behavior, but in the 19th century many American men might have not understood a sexually liberated woman outside of the context of a prostitute. In much of the world this change has not occurred-and I think Westerners must remember that it is a very revolutionary way of life that we lead.

Now, as for publically speaking of it. The biggest minority in Norway is Pakistani. They tend to commit many of the rapes. Though the vast majority of Pakistani-origin men are not rapists, it is plausible that the majority of rapists are of Pakistani-origin. One may speak of how everyone must be treated as an individual, but I doubt many would deny Norwegian women the right to begin to behave in an acturial fashion, making calculations of how to behave around Pakistani men as opposed to Norwegian men in the same social situations, making assumptions of how the former would behave differently from the latter. Some have been explicit about this, from a Mark Steyn column:

Rather, the professor insisted, "Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes" because their manner of dress would be regarded by Muslim men as inappropriate. "Norwegian women must realize that we live in a multicultural society and adapt themselves to it."

Not speaking of the problem publically, not insisting on changing the environment so that Pakistani-origin men are more full acculturated into Norwegian society, will result a de facto recognition of average differences, and behavioral modification in accordance.

Since Pakistani-origin males are fewer than 10% of the male population, Norwegian women can probably avoid them if they so choose. It is an inconvenience, but if the statistics remain as they are, I doubt anyone would expect anything less. But, remember that the majority of Pakistani-origin men are not rapists. A large proportion of the Pakistani-origin community is modernist, and wishes to live the Norwegian life just as their white co-citizens. The problem is a minority. While Norwegian women can avoid "the problem" in a predominantly white society, a modernist Pakistani-origin man will probably interact with white females frequently, and he will feel the impact of the negative behaviorial tendecies of people who look like him on a very personal level. Over time, a modernist may also simply withdraw from contact with white Norwegians, because they are tired of the generalizations that they must deal with.

Equivocating response is the worst response of all. The disjunction between public platitudes and personal opinions results in less information flowing through the system (though white Norwegian women might know that most rapes are committed by Pakistan-origin, they might not reflect on the fact their chances of being raped might still be very low-but such statistical analysis is fobidden), and distorts the interactions of all involved in the society. For white people in the West lack of acknowledgement of disparities in crime by race can be handled by simply changing private behavior and avoiding contact with minorities-but for the majority of the minority that does not behave in a pathological fashion, the rational response of the white minority has a much stronger impact.

I of course speak as someone that would on sight be identified as Pakistani-origin on the streets of Olso because of my physical appearence. A problem with multiculturalism is that in practice it becomes deterministic. My brown skin mean-for both liberal multiculturalists and acturially terrified Norwegian women-that I am one with "my South Asian Muslim brothers," never mind my professed atheism and ethusiasm for the liberation of women from their pedestal.

Some articles below....
A trap for Muslim women in Europe (arranged/forced/family re-unification marriage in Norway)
Muslim School to Open in Norway Next Month (85% of the funds for the "private" school comes from the state)
Where East Meets West Warily, She Makes Them Laugh (Norwegian Pakistani female comedian)

Update:re: Integration?

Human Rights Service figures for henteekteskap, or "fetching marriages" - in which one spouse is "fetched" from the other's ancestral country - are staggering. From 1996 to 2001, 82 percent of the men marrying the Norwegian granddaughters of Moroccan immigrants were themselves Moroccans; another 14 percent were of Moroccan origin. For Norwegian granddaughters of Pakistani immigrants, the corresponding rates were 76 percent and 22 percent. In that five-year period, only three granddaughters of Moroccan immigrants married ethnic Norwegians; only one granddaughter of a Pakistani immigrant did so.

Posted by razib at 02:33 PM