Tuesday, May 31, 2005

'Their Youth', Their Problem

Further to the British government's tireless quest to saddle someone-anyone else with responsibility for youth crime. Scotland Yard is calling on Asian (Amerifriends: this is the brit usage of 'Asian', blanket denoting what we would, slightly less handily, refer to as Indians, Pakistanis, et al. I.e., Asian subcontinent) businesses to step up and hire young Asian offenders, or as the Guardian coyly describes them, 'vulnerable youngsters from their own communities,' in an effort to keep them on the straight and narrow.

The embedded racism of this move is pretty fucking staggering. Here's the reasoning: 'Police say that although many Asian families in Britain encourage their children to work hard and be successful, and there are more than 300 millionaires of south Asian origin in the UK, some young Asians hit a glass ceiling at work, or find it difficult to get a job at all.' So naturally, rather than try to tackle these unacceptable societal conditions victimizing young Asians, the obvious move is to hit up all those hardworking, successful millionaires of south Asian origin to tidy them out of the way into a parallel ghetto economy.

And I mean, jesus. Would they for one minute get away with spouting that kind of utterly essentialist shite about, oh, say Jews?

The plan is to 'identify vulnerable youngsters through youth offending teams' (which latter concept, btw, sounds awfully intriguing--evokes gangs of middle-aged householders detaining local teens to diss their hairstyles and fashion sense) and then give their names to Asian companies who will be 'asked' to hire them. The Met also reportedly plans to 'approach international firms with offices in the City, where there are few Asian employees at any level.' No mention of intent to approach the other (i.e., domestic) 90% of London firms about their hiring policy.

The unvarnished imputation of blame in this policy is made clear by one Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who declares in ghastly High Tom style that 'We want to help them to fight crime, and to divert their youth away from crime.' Their youth? Whose youth exactly were you, friend?

That's not even the worst of it, though. Check out this charming bit of law-enforcement tourism:
Detective Chief Inspector Michael O'Keefe, who heads Operation Quadrant, recently visited India to see how businesses operate there:
"In India there is an idea of corporate social responsibility.
"But it's more than that. It's a legal requirement of businesses to put something back into the community.
"We want to persuade Asian businesses over here that this is something positive they can do."

The idea of singling out Asian businesses for responsibility, and exclusively pressuring them to hire high-risk employees, is based on a grotesquely defined and ultraselectively applied notion of ethnic community responsibility. Of course these kids should be hired, and helped in every possible way to integrate into the community, the community we all belong to. They are our youth. Attempts like this to shunt blame and responsibility to a single ethnic group should be resisted with rage and vigor for the naked racism they are.

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