Rod Liddle - more racist than the BNP?

Lots of people have written about Rod Liddle's descent into overt racism, and Charlotte Gore especially points out how far of the mark Liddle's central argument is.  He says:
The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community. Of course, in return, we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks.

Charlotte links to Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System to show that more white people are involved in the criminal justice system to take care of that.  It was good enough for me, at first.

Then, a commenter over at Pickled Politics pointed out that Liddle only accused young black men of being guilty of committing more of certain types of crime than anyone else.  "Ah," I thought, "perhaps Liddle wasn't just making a crass, sweeping racist statement designed to make his readers think that black people commit most of the crime in London.  Perhaps he was making a considered point based on reason and evidence pertaining to certain types of crime that only looked like old school racism."

But, of course, he wasn't.  Quite apart from the fact that Liddle included no data to support his assertion, I happen to know that in the three months to July 2008 black people under the age of 29 made up 239 of 741 people proceeded against for offences involving knives in London.  Take that back to under 18, and you get 124.  Not really most, huh?  Looks like Liddle just repeated crap racist clich├ęs about black people being responsible for most of the crime in London after all (until of course, he produces the evidence he based his assumptions on.  I look forward to seeing how he worked out the ethnicity of those responsible for 'street crime').

Bizarrely, my source for the stats about black people not being the biggest group proceeded against knife crime in London comes from a Freedom of Information request.  Carried out by the Daily Mail.

The figures come from 'Over half of young knife suspects are black, Scotland Yard figures reveal'.  Of course, given the way the Mail presented the figures, the story could also be the source of Liddle's assertion that the majority of knife crime was carried out by 'young men from the African-Caribbean community'.  The whole point of the story was to emphasise the amount of knife crime black people were responsible for, so it's understandable that readers would walk away with the wrong impression.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this article informed Rod's.  It certainly informed another person who wanted to blame knife crime on black people.

Okay, I know Richard Barnbrook turns up a lot in this blog for someone so insignificant but he's going to have to make another appearance.  Back when he started his blog, Barnbrook kicked things off with a post titled 'Blame the immigrants'.  He's deleted it now, but you can see a version via the magic of the WayBack Machine.  In that post, he had to settle for saying 'immigrants', and in an earlier version that was edited - probably to remove paranoid references to the 'ethnic block vote' - 'immigrants and the sons of immigrants' when everyone knew he meant black people.  Not because we all know the truth instinctively and we don't need no statistics to show us what we can see with our own eyes - but because it's been a very common racist stereotype for years.

A few months later, and Barnbrook was confident enough to say:
On the last few occasions I've pushed the knife crime issue very hard indeed and like to think that the fact that the ethnic discrepancy between white victims and African Caribbean assailants has now become public knowledge is in some way down to my efforts.
And call for the banning of the Notting Hill Carnival:
until the African Caribbean community learns to control its violent and aggressive young men.
In a post titled 'Smile, we've all just been mugged' (mugged by black people, get it? Because black people are muggers - hur hur).

What had happened in between was that the Mail published 'Over half young knife suspects are black...', which Barnbrook hadn't missed, cutting and pasting the only table from the Mail article (with the data from the only age group that showed black people committing more knife crime than white people of the same age group - natch) and removing what little context the Mail had given. 

Even Barnbrook, though, didn't openly claim that young black men were responsible for most knife crime in London.  Sure, he implied it with his 'immigrants and the sons of immigrants' schtick, and his reproducing of the Daily Mail's table without context - but the only claim he made about the involvement of 'the Afro-Caribbean community' in violent crime was that the 'Afro-Caribbean community' was responsible for '42% of all violence against the person crimes in London involving an offensive weapon'.

For unsupported wild claims about how young black men are responsible for most 'street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London', and claims that two murderers described as 'human filth' are not an anomaly in connection with young black men you have to turn away from the BNP and toward a mainstream columnist.

Another mainstream publication gave the BNP the confidence to move from vague euphemisms to targeting black people specifically.  Did it contribute to Liddle's racist nugget?  Who knows?

What we do know is that Rod Liddle is more overtly racist about the criminality of young black men than the BNP.  Seriously - all he misses out from his litany of dodgy racist stereotypes are drug-dealers, pimps and wattymelon.


Alex said...

Interesting. Over half of all knifecrime suspects are black. Not those convicted of it, just those suspected. I'm splitting hairs here though. There's obviously no reason why the police would be hauling in a disproportionately high number of young black males in, other than black people being criminals.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

No - over half suspects of knife crime are black only in the under 18 age group. It's understandable you would make that mistake, since the Mail forefronts those stats in order to draw attention to the number of black people involved.

As for why - we don't know enough about the Mail's data. How many of these are accounted for by possession - and how many were discovered by stop and search, which we know disproportionately targets black people?

Plus, of course, we know nothing of the important socio-economic data that would also be relevant.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Sorry Alex. Missed the irony in your first comment because I've been sick for ages and it's early in the morning and I'm not very clever.

Alex said...

That's quite alright. I said "hauling in young black males in", which is also bollocks.

Simon said...

Clive Davis ex of The Spectator blogs has a good post on his new blog about Liddle

"Now why does he keep doing this? He's clearly an intelligent man. Does he really get a kick out of pandering to the bigots who hang around on his blog? It somehow doesn't seem worth the effort. When I was a blogger with the Speccie, it always puzzled me that the editors didn't make more of an effort to attract intelligent online readers as opposed to the noisy idiots who had taken up residence."


Savannah said...

Liddle's comments are baseless and offensive.

A complementary article on this which explores why Liddle was wrong and offensive is

Yet another racism row in Britain. Journalist Rod Liddle blames violent crime in London on black men.

Ben017 said...

Don't shoot the messenger.