Thursday 21 June 2007

Implicit racism in talk of 'provoking' Muslims

Apologies for posting about the Sir Salman affair yet again, but it's turning into one of those issues that throw some worrying trends in current political 'commonsense' into sharp relief.

Following on from this post, Ophelia Benson is also rightly contemptuous of Bunglawala's half-hearted retraction. I came across this via Shuggy who also links to some other useful stuff, including Richard Chappell's philosophical take on how all the talk about 'provoking' Muslims disrespects them by denying them agency. This is something I've posted about before (here and here for example), but whereas I've been cautious about analysing the mindset behind this tendency, Chappell has no qualms about describing it as 'soft bigotry' while Shuggy calls it 'soft racism'.

I think they're right - and it's only 'soft' in the sense that it's implicit rather than openly stated. It's ironic that those who see the outrages of political Islam simply as a 'reaction' to the sins of western imperialism are themselves guilty of a patronising attitude to Muslims that reeks of colonialism.

No comments: