[See also Brenda Walker's post-9/11 suggestions for reforming immigration.]
These days should be open season on multiculturalism, now that the extensive burqa coverage included in Afghanistan war news has reminded Americans of the brutal treatment of women in many parts of the world. Nothing illustrates the total fraud of multiculturalism more than women's devalued status in many "traditional" cultures. The multiculturalist assumption that all cultures are equal is clearly refuted by news from Kabul and beyond. We have seen women's basic humanity denied and by the suspension of education for girls. Seen on the gritty stage of Afghanistan, multiculturalism seem so much academic blather.
In fact, the Taliban are merely the poster boys du jour for cruelty. Much of the world outside of Europe and America remains a wretched place for persons who are female. For example, Sixty Minutes has reported that India is missing 22 million women and girls because of sex-selective abortion, infanticide and the murder of women by their husbands for having insufficient dowries. Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has estimated the number to be far higher. The Chinese prefer male children and have performed so many sex-selection abortions that 20 million young men will never marry because there are no young women to be their wives. Thousands of baby girls are simply thrown away every year. But does the shortage raise the value of women? No indeed, entrepreneurial Chinese have responded by kidnapping possible brides by the tens of thousands.
And despite copious propaganda from Islamic organizations, Muslim societies are among the most barbaric places on earth in terms of human rights. A widespread scourge is "honor killing," a practice where women are murdered for the smallest affronts to rigid social codes. An unproved charge of sexual infidelity or even a husband's paranoid dream may result in a woman being burned or hacked to death. Her murderer receives the approval of family and community for his action. According to Amnesty International, hundreds of such murders occur every year in Pakistan. [VDARE.COM note: Due to massive South Asian immigration, such murders are also common in Britain, according to Theodore Dalrymple. See "Reader, She Married Him" in City Journal.] Women are also murdered with impunity for refusing arranged marriages. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive cars, eat in public places or work in an occupation where they might have contact with men.
Nevertheless, Washington policymakers still have in place the program of "Diversity Visas," which offers a lottery to people of cultures thought underrepresented in the United States. In 2001, the program welcomed 50,000 persons from countries including Somalia and Bangladesh. These nations are home to cultural practices like slavery, female genital mutilation and purdah (lifelong house arrest for women).
America will indeed be made more diverse by this immigration; the question is whether we want diversity of this sort.
Oh but immigrants wouldn't be so ill-mannered as to bring such objectionable practices with them to America, immigration enthusiasts might protest. On the contrary, multicultural ideology encourages them to do exactly that.
The case of Lakireddy Bali Reddy Berkeley, California, is instructive. Mr. Reddy was a millionaire landlord in the university city and was considered quite the success story in his home town of Velvadam, India. He was able to purchase a couple of teenage girls there for a multi-tasking scenario that combined sex and upkeep on the Reddy real estate holdings. However, the arrangement fell apart when one of the girls died as a result of a faulty heater.
At trial, Reddy's lawyer used the "cultural defense"—popular in immigrant crimes—saying that slavery and sexual bondage were social norms in India. In an unusual disavowal of the cultural defense, the jury found Reddy guilty. He was sentenced to eight years.
Women should be (ahem) manning the barricades against the current crop of immigrants, who come from the most misogynist locales of the Third World. But political correctness apparently has official feminists in its thrall. When groups like the Feminist Majority Organization do think about immigration, it is to rescue immigrant women. Instead, women's organizations should question the wisdom of importing millions of newcomers from women-hating cultures. American women's political rights, safety and social status cannot be helped by such a misogynous influx.
In one common example, harassment of women is a well known accompaniment to immigrant street hiring hang-outs. In the Central Park attacks on women that occurred on Puerto Rican Day 2000, many of those arrested were immigrants or their sons. In Australia last year, there was an alarming crime wave which consisted of gang rapes by men "of Middle Eastern extraction" against Caucasian girls, aged 13-18.
The false ideology of multiculturalism has intimidated many Americans into believing it is desirable to welcome millions of immigrants from cultures which consider women inferior. For a nation that hopefully still values fairness and egalitarian ideals, mindlessly celebrating brutal social norms is truly objectionable. Unexamined slogans like "diversity is our strength" do not stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny—multiculturalism should be a candidate for the nation's most egregious mass delusion.
The burden of proof should be on the multiculturalists to show how their position does not excuse brutality toward millions of women as well as welcome cultures of cruelty into America.
Brenda Walker is a freelance writer and web honcho of Limits to Growth, an iconoclastic immigration website.
January 15, 2002