I'm also quite surprised that Dr. Mabille quit and issued an apology in reaction to accusations of her article being hate speech. There’s also an article about it on news24. Before your intolerance kicks in, please pay attention to why I state this. Her argument, according to me, was to shed light on how certain issues are obscured by political correctness and fear of being accused of hate speech. As her fearless example has shown, precisely those issues are swept under the rug in exchange for the debates we are having here. The only hate speech Dr. Mabille can be accused of is hating child rapists who apparently happen to be members of black ethnic groups.
An analogy for clarity
Consider the following statement: "Colonialism is primarily is a cultural phenomenon among white ethnic groups." Is this statement an example of hate speech against white ethnic groups? No, it's about colonialists. We hate, or should I say are intolerant toward, colonialists and child rapists who just so happen to be mainly among a certain ethnic group. The analogy here highlights precisely the obscurity and bias that takes place in the process of being politically correct.
Fact or fiction?
In addition, Dr. Mabille can be criticised for not bolstering her claim that child rape “is a cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups.” I’m aware that her article, like this one, was not a journal article where the rigorous citations of such claims are expected; however I argue that her claim needs to be substantiated by empirical evidence, even in informal academic writing formats. This so since we can easily ascertain Dr. Mabille’s claim by capturing the percentages of those guilty of child rape who are of members of a certain ethnic group and proportion them to the overall sum of a certain ethnic group. Here I assume we can identify by some method whether someone is a member of a certain ethnic group.
Only once we can find a statistically relevant discrepancy between the incidences of child rape among different ethnic groups, then we can make such claims. I’m reasonably certain that Dr. Mabille didn’t conduct such research, or based her claim on any recognised secondary sources. I suspect the former would never be pursued in the first place as many researchers would not take the risk of jeopardising their careers for fear of being accused of hate speech, discrimination or racism; and thereby making themselves liable to not getting future research grants from government and non-government institutions. Here we are can clearly see that we are not only censored from making claims which are contrary to political correctness, but we are not even able to conduct research on these claims despite them being relevant and easily capable of being conducted.
Intentions and consequences
This begs the question: Why do we want to know whether child rapists from a certain ethnical group to begin with? The answer for me doesn’t lie in that we need to know what group is accountable, responsible or to blame for this problem and certainly not because we want to fuel more racism, hate speech and discrimination; but rather to ascertain how we as academics, citizens or professionals who are paying attention to his debate can concentrate and optimise most of our resources to subdue the overall problem of child rape in times to come.
By censoring any research or claims similar to the aforementioned, we are also precluding – or at least obscuring - most of the possibilities for effectively dealing with the problem and finding practical solutions. Unfortunately we don’t have unlimited resources to spend on problems like child rape or any problem for that matter. Therefore we have to optimise and focus our energies and budgets on where the problem is most manifest. If categorising such a problem according to the incidents of it among ethnic groups will help us to do that, then we should let go of our fears of political correctness which is not the main focus of the problem.
If readers interpret the conclusions of such research as hate speech, racism or discrimination; then not only are they presumptuous about the intentions of the research and taking focus away from the main problem, but they are also making their own interpretations liable to fuelling further hate speech, racism or discrimination. This so since people who don’t care about solving the problem of child rape reading or hearing these interpretations are now being habituated into associating a moral dimension to facts, in order to argue a different but related issue. A clear contradiction of Hume’s law: You cannot derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’, which means that you cannot jump from facts to morality.
Can facts be immoral?
Let’s assume that we take as fact that child rape does happen more often among members of black ethnic groups. Just because it is a fact doesn’t imply either that child rape is immoral, that black ethnic groups’ activities are immoral, or even that intolerance toward black ethnic groups is immoral. Those are separate arguments independent of the research that brought us this fact. Only the research – methodology, experiments, utilised assumptions etc. - on the fact can be disputed. Morality here distracts us from the fact, requiring separate yet related topics of debate.
I’m not disputing the importance of morality here. Morality probably inspired the researcher to conduct the research in the first place, whether from the perspective of child rape or black ethnic groups. However the fact does not depend on our values regarding it, whether we are the researcher or a person reading its results. So neither should our values be criteria for the approval and granting of the research in the first place, lest we be liable to bias and vested interest. Now where does this leave us?
As mentioned, Dr. Mabille is guilty of asserting unsubstantiated facts. The onus now of Dr. Mabille’s accusers relating her claim to hate speech, is to prove that if one were to have empirical conclusions on the claim that “child rape is a cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups”, that these were somehow utilised by her in order to fuel further racism, discrimination and intolerance; instead of it being an example of how political correctness can distract one from the main issue (child rape) to other related moral issues (intolerance toward ethnic cultures and hate speech) despite the fact.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.