An arab man in Israel has been convicted of rape for telling a partner he was Jewish. I don’t actually want to talk too much about this one case and the intricacies of rape by deception, but about the larger pattern it fits into:
- Jewish volunteers roam streets to protect jewish women from relationships with arabs
- Israeli local authority to provide counselling to jewish women dating arabs
- Arab man attacked for talking to jewish girl
A point plenty of people have made to me is that this sort of solicitousness for the the dangers of male sexual aggression when it serves a racist goal is in sharp contrast to the dismissive, apathetic, or victim-blaming attitude that’s so easy to find in cases where no racist goal is served.
But I think a stronger point can be made. Convicting a member of a subordinate race of rape, and acquitting a member of a dominant race by victim-blaming, may potentially serve the exact same purpose, with a slightly different distribution of work between ideology and reality.
That is, both can be seen as a form of ‘projection’, in which anxiety about responsibility for some bad thing is reduced by attributing it to someone else, from whom the self can then be distinguished. Both acquittals and convictions could serve this function by reducing anxiety about rape, and aggressive sexuality in general, on the part of the dominant racial group’s men, or rather all psyches identified therewith.
This requires both the attribution of sexual aggression to a target, and then the distinguishing the target from the self. In the case of victim-blaming, the distinguishing is fairly real: between a raped woman and an unraped man there is an obvious distinction. The main task of ideology is to ensure the attribution of the sexual aggression to the raped woman – to her lifestyle, clothing, drinking, or whatever.
With the ‘subordinate-race male as rapist’ motif, the burden is reversed. Evidence for an attribution of some sexual aggression to some arabs, or to some black men, can be easily obtained from reality, because there are plenty of abusive black and arab men, just as there are plenty of abusive white and jewish men.
The task of ideology is then to maintain the distinction, the classification. Rather than, say, drawing a distinction between ‘men who rape’ and ‘men who don’t’, or even saying that rape is a product of a patriarchal culture that almost all men participate in, the distinction is drawn along racial lines. Arabs abuse women because of islam, or because of arab culture; black men abuse women because of the biological defects of the negroid genotype.
The contrast is only partial: clearly there’s ideological work done both in maintaining the distinction between men and raped women (so that men aren’t frightened, for instance) and in fabricating particular examples of sexual aggression from men of the subordinate race. I’m certainly not denying that.
But I thought it was interesting how the same function – reducing any anxiety that dominant-race men feel about the occurrence of sexual violence – can be accomplished, in very similar ways, by quite different policies.