Grooming: An open letter to Nick Lowles

Liz Fekete replies to Nick Lowles’ article on grooming in the November-December issue of Hope Not Hate:

The way you have broken down Ministry of Justice figures on convictions of sex offences as a whole (8 per cent of which were Asian) to isolate the specific offence of ‘on-street grooming’ so as to reveal a 28 per cent Asian conviction rate (which rises to a 45 per cent conviction rate three lines later in the article) filled me with dismay. It recalled for me the time in the 1980s when the media and the fascists were creating the spectre of the ‘black mugger’ and the Metropolitan police added to the moral panic by isolating ‘assault or threat of violence upon a person, especially with intent to rob’ from all street crime and then providing the ethnicity of the perpetrators. Then, young African-Caribbean men were being accused of racially-motivated attacks on ‘little white old ladies’ in much the same way as Muslims as a whole are accused of anti-white sex crimes. But would we have said, ‘yes the National Front has a point, young black men are muggers – it’s in Jamaican culture, to be violent. Look here are the stats.’ No, as anti-fascist/anti-racist educators, we tried to show how racialised moral panics were created and how statistics could be used to bolster them.

Institute of Race Relations, 15 November 2012