Thursday, November 17, 2005

British Labour party Member of Parliament hits back in race crime row

Report from here

An Oldham MP has defended his claims that racist attacks by Asians on white victims were being "ignored". Phil Woolas, a government whip, also angrily denied he was trying to attract votes from British National Party supporters in a town that has been troubled by race problems. But one senior Labour Party member, Shahid Malik, slammed the remarks as "irresponsible and disturbing". Mr Woolas, whose Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency was the scene of race riots in the summer of 2001, has written to the Commission for Racial Equality claiming that race relations and community confidence are being damaged by the refusal of politicians to condemn black and Asian racism towards white people.

In a letter to Trevor Phillips, the new chairman of the CRE, Mr Woolas says: "Politicians across the party divide have failed to be seen to condemn violent racist attacks against white people as strongly or forcibly as such attacks against Asian and black people."

Mr Malik, the only ethnic minority member of Labour's National Executive Committee and a former commissioner on the CRE, said the comments were "absolute nonsense" and would allow organisations such as the BNP to hijack them. "All right-minded people condemn racism, be it black on white, Asian on black or white on Asian. Mr Woolas has no basis for his view and is clearly out of line with Labour Party thinking," said Mr Malik.

But Mr Woolas today hit back, saying it was "cynical" to suggest he was talking tough to attract BNP votes. He said: "I'm trying to have a serious debate about how we ensure our multi-cultural society works. I believe the BNP is a threat. "If we can show there is an even-handed approach, recognising, of course, that the bulk of attacks are against ethnic minorities, everybody will benefit and the BNP will be the losers." He said there had been a series of "nasty and sinister" attacks against white people in Oldham where the motive was racial. "I'm not saying that racist attacks on whites are being ignored but that it is perceived they are not being taken seriously enough. "We're well aware of the problems in Oldham and I'm trying to build consent for a multi-cultural society and community. To do that we have to be seen to be even-handed - at the moment we're not."


Apparently it is only blacks who object to homosexual marriage on religious grounds -- or so implies the Leftist Houston Chronicle:

"The hopes of gay rights advocates to stop the addition of a ban on same-sex marriage to the Texas Constitution ended last Tuesday. Texas voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 2, the constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Among Harris County residents who cast a vote on the issue, 72 percent favored the ban. Across Texas, 76 percent of voters approved......

Inner city black voters in Harris County, many of whom have long experience with the denial of civil rights, favored the marriage amendment by an even higher majority than the general Harris County voting population. Black discomfort with homosexual marriage is rooted less in conscious discrimination than in religious belief, but support for the amendment brought blacks into incongruous accord with members of the Ku Klux Klan, whose members rallied in Austin in support of Proposition 2".

Shut up and look pretty

Are women making themselves sex objects because they're desperate to be housewives? Deborah Hope looks at a new book that argues feminism is dead

"The feminist movement was a cruel hoax that has left successful women undesirable, unloved and in the lurch. The result is a return to 1950s values and dating rituals with a younger generation of women aspiring to a place in the kitchen rather than in the cabinet. This is the contentious message of Are Men Necessary?, a new book by caustic New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, due for release in Australia in February, which has provoked ferocious debate on whether feminism is dead.

According to the Pulitzer prize-winner known as the flame-haired flamethrower, the triumph of feminism lasted "a nanosecond" while the backlash has lasted four decades. "Narcissism has trumped feminism. Women used to demand equality. Now they demand Botox," she wrote in reply to questions from readers after The New York Times Magazine published extracts of her book, which is subtitled When Sexes Collide. In what one female critic scathingly declared the world's biggest personal ad, the single, never-married, fiftysomething Dowd takes stock of the battle of the sexes 40 years after the launch of women's liberation and concludes that whether you're talking about the situation room or the bedroom, powerful women scare off men.

Coming from a family of Irish domestics and proud of succeeding in a high-powered job, Dowd describes as odd her discovery that in a mating zoo in which men tend to dumb down when it comes to choosing a partner, being a maid would have enhanced her chances of marriage. "If there's one thing men fear," she writes, "it is women who use their critical faculties." A Broadway producer's confession at a party that he had wanted to ask her out but was too intimidated by her high-profile job, a colleague phoning after winning a Pulitzer to complain that now she would never get a date; it's all evidence, according to Dowd, that everything women are doing to advance themselves in the boardroom may be "sabotaging their chances in the bedroom". More convincingly, she cites research finding that nearly half of US female executives earning $US100,000 ($137,000) or more are childless, compared with less than one-fifth of male executives.

She fears the unhealthy new ethos in the retro world of 2005 is "a woman needs a career like a fish needs a bicycle". "I knew things were changing," Dowd says, "because a succession of my girlfriends had called, sounding sheepish, to ask if they could borrow my out-of-print copy of How to Catch and Hold a Man."

Some time in the '60s, flirting had gone out of fashion along with "ironing boards, make-up and the idea that men needed to be trapped or landed". Unfortunately, history has shown this to be "a misguided notion". Now women desperate to get into the marriage market are brushing up on how to play hard to get and other "venerable tricks of the trade" laid down in the 1995 dating etiquette bible The Rules. "Even if you are the head of your own company, when you are with a man you like, be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile," it advises.

Forget going Dutch and using the title Ms, Dowd says. Among women in their 20s these are "archaic feminist relics" with the same status as Birkenstocks and Betty Friedan, whose 1963 tome The Feminine Mystique portrayed domestic life as a "comfortable concentration camp" in which women lose their identities and turn into "anonymous biological robots in a docile mass". Nowadays young women "want to be Mrs Anonymous Biological Robot in a Docile Mass", Dowd claims. "They dream of being rescued; to flirt, to shop, to stay home and be taken care of. They shop for 'Stepford Fashions' [a reference to the influence of the movie remake The Stepford Wives] and spend their days in the gym trying for 'Wisteria Lane waistlines'."

Dowd had assumed feminism would deliver a more "flexible and capacious notion of beauty". Instead, the ideal of feminine beauty has become even more rigid and unnatural, "as more and more women embrace Botox and implants and stretch and protrude to extreme proportions to satisfy male desires". Feminism's message was don't be a sex object. Today's message is diametrically opposite: "Be a sex object."

The fur was already flying when Are Men Necessary? hit US shelves on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal's "A stinker" verdict set the tone for the phalanx of outraged columnists and bloggers who lined up to accuse Dowd of hypocrisy, bitterness, elitism, shallowness, contempt for men, dubious research, faux social science, inaccurate analysis of feminism's success, being menopausal and needing to get out more. American author Katie Roiphe spits out her response in the online journal Slate in an article headed "Is Maureen Dowd necessary?". Dowd's alarmist portrayal of younger women such as Roiphe as wannabe housewives and yummy mummies obsessed with beauty and ensnaring a man, "renders us unrecognisable", she writes. Rather than describing generation Y, she says, sticking in the knife, "Dowd's most compelling example of this rarefied, lonely demographic of woman too successful for love is herself".

"Yes, Maureen Dowd is necessary," Rebecca Traister jumps in on this week. Far from being a feminism denier, "Dowd, the only female [opinion] columnist at the most powerful newspaper in the world, is the embodiment of its triumphs, and she knows it." Are Men Necessary? may be intermittently sloppy, crass and narrow, but she has nonetheless kicked off a conversation "we are desperate to have" on unpleasant questions such as "Is feminism dead? Do men have trouble with powerful women? Why, decades after a feminist movement that was supposed to liberate us from constrictive physical ideals, are women hacking up their faces and inflating their breasts?""

More here

My comment:

In her embittered way, Dowd is right. Relationships between the sexes remain important to both sexes and, in their hate and fury, feminists often seem to have completely overlooked that. So both men and women continue to go to great lengths to please one-another. And that IS a failure of feminism -- in that feminism has always condemned efforts by women to please men (but not vice versa, strangely enough). As far as men not liking materially successful women goes, Dowd also has a point to a degree. Sex roles are NOT completely chosen. They are to a considerable degree hard-wired -- genetically inherited from our prehistoric past -- and what we have inherited is the unconscious expectation that men provide most of the food and protection while the women stay at home to care for children. The career woman just does not fit that inherited mental mould -- so sadly for her she is unlikely to be seen as the "right" partner.

No comments: