The myth of ‘anti-white racism’

The presentation of the murder of a white boy in Glasgow as racially motivated distorts the facts for cynical political gain.

‘Barbaric’, roared the Sun after the killers of 15-year old Kriss Donald were sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday. Few would disagree with those sentiments. In 2004, a group of Glaswegian gang members, Imran Shahid, Zeeshan Shahid and Mohammed Mushtaq, abducted Donald from Pollokshields in Glasgow. After a 200-mile car journey, Donald was stabbed 13 times before being doused in petrol and set on fire. Even as grim homicide cases go, this grisly episode was particularly savage, inhumane and, yes, barbaric.

For the media and authorities, though, the case was also noteworthy because the victim was white and the perpetrators of Pakistani descent. It suggested that Britain’s inner cities are hotbeds, not of multicultural harmony, but simmering racial tension. Indeed, the summarised report on the senseless killing of Donald in both the tabloids and broadsheets suggested the gang’s bloodlust was fuelled solely by race hate. Like so much that is labelled ‘racial’ today, this presentation is based on a subjective interpretation of racism as much as objective facts.

According to more detailed accounts of the case, the murder of Kriss Donald was primarily driven by gangland revenge. Imran Shahid had been hit with a bottle at Victoria’s nightclub in central Glasgow the previous evening. With typical, wannabe gangster bravado and conceit, Shahid wanted to prove that ‘nobody fucks with me’ (1). Far from Donald being a random victim of a lets-get-whitey frenzy, he was a friend of the white man being sought by Shahid but was unconnected with the nightclub incident. Among violent criminal gangs, such niceties don’t matter – killing bystanders is meant to send out a fearsomely ruthless message to rivals and enemies alike. The spate of gangland violence in Nottingham, for instance, has also taken the form of indirect revenge killings.

With their backgrounds in mind, Shahid and his accomplices are hardly going to be the most enlightened individuals. It’s undoubtedly the case that Shahid harboured a deeper grudge because the rival gang, as well as Donald, were, in his words, ‘white bastards’ (2). But it is also the case that it doesn’t take much to inflame men with a propensity for violence anyway. In this case, it is the appalling brutality that should be of prime concern, not what these unsavoury characters muttered under their breaths. Kriss Donald’s family have a clear understanding of this when they only talk about his murder in criminal rather than racial terms.

Such a commendable response lies in shameful contrast to the authorities and media who, right from the start, have attempted to frame the murder solely in racial terms. As racism is now understood as a pathological problem in need of therapeutic correction, such cases strengthen the ideological conviction that the therapeutic state is necessary. There are existing laws on the statute books to deal with cold-blooded murders; demanding a sliding scale of psychological motives for murder attempts to further legitimise the criminalisation of ‘unacceptable’ thoughts.

The Donald murder case has been cynically used in another, more predictable way: to imply that an anti-Asian backlash from white Glaswegians was imminent. The fact that some newspapers this week downplayed reporting this case revealed similar fears, too. But the authorities’ racialisation of the case is far more likely to escalate tensions than anything within these communities. For all the political class’s penchant for blaming the British National Party for stoking racism, they share a remarkable agreement that the white working-class has a Pavlovian response to issues on race. BNP chairman Nick Griffin’s message campaigning on the doorstep back in 2004, for instance, was not that much different from broadsheet predictions of impending race riots.

What’s interesting here is how the Donald family have reacted to the murder. It’s actually no surprise that Mrs Donald pointedly said she was only interested in justice, not the skin colour of her son’s killers. This echoes the case of a young girl lured into prostitution by men of Pakistani descent in the Yorkshire town of Keighley - a case exploited both by the media and the BNP. The girl’s mother, Angela Sinfield, disgusted at the exploitation of her daughter’s case for political gain, stood as an anti-racist candidate in local elections to defuse the racialisation process underway there (3). Such responses show how bitterly aware white Britons are of how the political class sees and judges them. And yet, as commendable as such moral displays might appear to be, they only reveal how conformist issues surrounding race have become (see The elites, masses and racism, by Neil Davenport).

Alongside all this, such developments provide us with a snapshot of just how far-removed and isolated the political class is from ordinary Britons. When there was an organic relationship connecting constituency voters to the political class via party members, it would be clear to our rulers that the people they were governing didn’t have horns or eat their children for breakfast. It’s no coincidence that the more this relationship was weakened and finally dismantled, the more misanthropic prejudices about what ‘we’ are supposedly like have flourished among the political elite. That is why so many of New Labour’s social policies are rooted in the belief that they’re saving us from ourselves. And nowhere is this truer than on issues to do with race and multiculturalism.

Normally in high-profile and brutal murder trials, there is rarely anything to learn from such depraved behaviour. Isolated and rare murders of this kind are no barometer of ‘anti-white racism’ becoming a social force in society, regardless of the motivations or otherwise of Shahid and his accomplices. The other villains here, it seems, have been the authorities and sections of the media who have been keen to racialise the case in order to flatter the elites and point the finger at everyone else. In its own dismal and predictable way, such behaviour is almost as barbaric. 

Read on:

spiked-issue: Race

(1) Three jailed for life for race murder of schoolboy, Guardian, 9 November 2006

(2) Three jailed for life for race murder of schoolboy, Guardian, 9 November 2006

(3) Mother’s poll victory over BNP, Guardian, 24 March 2006

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