Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Racial Scaremongering

A "shock, horror!" headline on the website of British tabloid The Sun claims "Third of rapists and killers 'are foreign'". Except they're not. When you actually read the article, this figure is only true in a few police districts. The figure across the UK as a whole is 1 in 7, or less than half the quoted proportion.

Further evidence that The Sun is engaging in racial scaremongering is that in three successive paragraphs it refers to immigrants, foreign nationals, foreign-born suspects, and in a later paragraph to non-English speaking suspects, as if all these groups were synonymous. Furthermore, despite the fact that the majority of recent immigrants to the UK are white EU citizens, they chose to illustrate the piece with a photo of a black convicted murderer.

Apart from the article's obvious racial bias, the ill-defined 1 in 7 (14.3%) figure is even more meaningless unless we know how many foreigners are in Britain at any given time for comparison. A recent estimate suggests that the figure may be around 11.4% - so far from the shock picture of the headline, the reality is that foreigners account for these crimes in only a slightly higher proportion than their total numbers would lead us to expect. Furthermore, it would be helpful to separate rape and murder for comparison in analyzing the figures, since cultural misunderstandings can play a part in some rapes.

The Sun should be ashamed of itself for peddling racist propaganda.

1 comment:

Foamier said...

.... and, like almost every part of the medja, for using numbers sloppily and/or dishonestly.