Enforcing The Status Quo - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Enforcing The Status Quo

Enforcing The Status Quo

Published November 29, 2014

"Biggi the Cop", Foreigners, And Why The Majority Uses The Language of Victimhood

Photos by
Haukur Magnússon

"Biggi the Cop", Foreigners, And Why The Majority Uses The Language of Victimhood

Recently, we covered the story of an opinion piece written by Birgir Örn Guðjónsson – better known to the internet as Biggi the Cop. He’s been a pretty popular figure on social media for his perpetual grin, friendly demeanor and overall charm. Most foreigners I know react to this guy by saying he “doesn’t look or act like a cop” and police in their home countries should emulate cops like him.

I disagree. There’s a lot of reasons why someone becomes a cop. There’s probably a number of men and women on the force who still maintain some altruistic notion of protecting the weakest in our society from harm. But you’ve also got your Neighborhood Bully types, your Fantasy Action Star types, your Morality Squad types, and your Cultural Defenders. Biggi’s article certainly expresses the point of view of someone who considers themselves a Cultural Defender, as evidenced in the two main portions of his article.

In the very first sentence, Biggi asserts that the fastest growing church in Iceland is “the church of political correctness”. I just want to say right here that I am beyond allergic to the term “political correctness”. It is an ugly phrase which sneers at anyone who believes minorities should be afforded more respect than the status quo gives them, while at the same time implying that this position is an insincere affectation.

Biggi defines what he means by this in his lamentations about how “Muslims, heathens, those who don’t believe at all” are given the red carpet treatment while Christians are the ones painted with an ugly brush. He also claims that anyone wanting to question the influx of immigrants is “shot down”.

I don’t know what country Biggi believes he’s living in, but the last time I checked, Iceland is a country with a national church. It is heavily invested and integrated into nearly every aspect of Icelandic society, and seems virtually invincible – even when a former Bishop is found to have committed terrible abuses and the one following him covers it up. At the same time, other religious groups in Iceland have to fight tooth and nail to get their constitutionally-protected rights respected. A cop, of all people, should know better than to contend Muslims especially have it easier, given that a recent hate crime at the site of a proposed mosque was investigated by the police. And anyone not living in a cave last spring surely remembers how the Progressives used Islamophobia to win votes. Let me know when a candidate who tars Christians just as unfairly gets the same swell of support.

This is, as many are probably familiar, just another example of the majority using the language of the minority to cast themselves as victims. Biggi’s muddled position on “political correctness” is a symptom of the status quo lashing back against their power actually being challenged. But it’s the second part of his column that is the most telling of all – mostly, about how he sees himself.

Biggi tells the story of arriving at the scene of a domestic disturbance. There, a man of unspecified foreign origin was trying to keep his Icelandic wife from going out clubbing. The foreigner was reportedly outraged at her disobedience, on account of him being the husband and presuming to have the final say on where she goes. Biggi talks about how patient he was with the foreigner, dutifly explaining to him that this practice is forbidden in Iceland. His take-away from this encounter was the following:

“After a case like this, it is perhaps not out of the ordinary to wonder whether the cultures of those who come here are always their private matter.”

Wait, what? What is the connection here? If Biggi is implying that foreigners are the problem when it comes to domestic violence, he should maybe be aware of research done in 2010 by the Women’s Shelter, which concludes amongst other things that “the vast majority of perpetrators [of domestic violence] are Icelandic, or 84%, who abuse women both Icelandic and foreign.” In fact, although domestic violence is awful regardless who it happens to, foreign women are in a more vulnerable position in our society – research done in 2009, also from the Women’s Shelter, points out that “[women] from outside the EEA are in some cases dependent on their husbands, making them more vulnerable to violence. Ignorance and language barriers breed misuse and sometimes isolation. … and some men seem to systematically pick women from outside the EEA as their poor legal position makes them easier victims for their violence.” These women from outside the EEA who sought shelter from domestic violence, more often than not, had Icelandic spouses.

This is not to cast aspersions on Icelandic men and how they treat their spouses, but rather to point out the tortured logic of a guy who works in law enforcement, and makes a fairly solid implication that there’s some kind of connection between someone being foreign and their capacity for violence.

But it’s his implied solution – “it is perhaps not out of the ordinary to wonder whether the cultures of those who come here are always their private matter” – that really says a lot. First, since when is an immigrant’s culture “their private matter”? Your country of origin – and by extension, its culture – is a matter of public record. However, bear in mind that we just had an Interior Minister resign over the violation of asylum seeker Tony Omos’ privacy. Omos was, after all, accused of participating in violence against women – a charge that would later turn out to be false. In light of this context, Biggi’s implication isn’t so vague after all: his open-ended, bet-hedging, “hey I’m just throwing out questions here” does not hide the actual suggestion on the table that perhaps your constitutionally-protected right to privacy should be a flexible thing that depends on what country you come from. Regardless of what the law actually says.

Biggi’s self-serving anecdote – as well as his earlier moaning about the poor, oppressed Christians in Iceland – strongly suggests he sees himself as a Cultural Defender. Personally, I find it really troubling that a police officer, who sits down to speak to the taxpayers funding his salary (foreigners included) should place emphasis on defending one culture from all others rather than on defending those who cannot defend themselves – who are, far too often, the very foreigners this cop regards with such suspicion.

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