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French flagRacism in France

French racism has a similar structural basis to that found in Cuba: both are based on French republican ideals, where ethnic identity is severely deprecated, even taboo, and citizenship primes everything. Cubans admire the patriotism of the French. Here we track the discourse on racism in France in the hopes of stimulating contacts on all sides.

Les Mots Sont Importants -

French Republican Ideals and Cuban Ethnic Identities

Broken Mirrors: Race, Historical Memory, and Citizenship in 20th/21st-Century France, Chapter 6, Geoffroy de Laforcade, Norfolk State University 

The Living Eye and the Living Lie  4/17/2015 Panoramas: by Alan West-Durán - "Below is my analysis of what I consider are some of the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of Cuban color-blind racism, motivated by the Zurbano case." With many references to the history of ideas in France.

News of Racism and French Republican Ideals

How Should the French Left Respond to the "Post-Charlie" National Unity? The Furor Over “Fuck France”  4/26/2015 Counterpunch: "The launching of such a debate created a real hysteria: we see a multiplication of openly racist speeches, stating that one cannot be French and Arabic, French and Muslim, French and Black, and that we had to choose. Therefore, in such a context, many young people from working-class neighborhoods reacted. They didn’t especially do so using the usual forms of political expression, writing texts, etc. But they responded by writing songs, they reacted in doing “slam”, in writing graffiti on walls, in which, in order to react to this racist conception of France under Sarkozy, they said: “Fuck France”. It’s in this context, that a rapper and myself decided not to leave these young people alone, because of the impending repression against them, because they were introduced as savages, described as dangerous people, and so we decided to write a book that would explain how they came to say “Fuck France” in the first place, and which France they were questioning: the France of the ruling class, the France of the Rich, the racist France… "

‘A Distinctly French Universalism’: Translating Laïcité after Charlie  1/26/2015 Jadaliyya: "It was impossible to avoid the discussion, despite my repeated protests. In Lyon, as in the rest of France, there was nothing else to talk about—especially when I found myself seated across from a colleague who teaches at an international lycée, the crucible of Republican education. He was visibly emotional as he said: “I told my students now one had to choose: either you’re Muslim or you’re French, it is simply no longer possible, one has to declare which identity is more important.”"

Paris Announces Plan to Promote Secular Values  1/22/2015 NYT: "French schools already have a secular code of conduct, but about 1,000 teachers and staff members would be trained on questions of “laïcité,” France’s secular identity, codified under a century-old law on the separation of church and state. She promised that a day devoted to secular laws would be celebrated once a year in every school."

The Move to Muzzle Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala - The Bête Noire of the French Establishment  1/2/2014 CounterPunch: "In the absence of any serious socio-economic left, France has sunk into a sort of “Identity Politics”, which both praises multiculturalism and reacts vehemently against “communitarianism”, that is, the assertion of any unwelcome ethnic particularisms. But some ethnic particularisms are less welcome than others. The Muslim veil was first banned in schools, and demands to ban it in adult society grow. The naqib and burka, while rare, have been legally banned. Disputes erupt over Halal foods in cafeterias, prayers in the street, while cartoons regularly lampoon Islam. Whatever one may think of this, the fight against communitarianism can be seen by some as directed against one particular community. Meanwhile, French leaders have been leading the cry for wars in Muslim countries from Libya to Syria, while insisting on devotion to Israel."

“Moi égal à toi...": Images of Black Women in Revolutionary France  5/8/2013 The World is Robert 

Communiqué: Non à une France des ethnies  12/8/2012 Comité Laïcité République: "La République ne doit reconnaître que des citoyens libres et égaux en droits, quelles que soient les distinctions qui leur ont été imposées à la naissance. La Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen de 1789 puis la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme de 1948 ont consacré cette conception fondée sur un universalisme émancipateur et non sur un ethno-racialisme diviseur. Alors, oui, comme le président de la République, le Comité Laïcité République estime utile et nécessaire de supprimer le mot "race" de la Constitution."

Racisme légal  10/31/2012 Le Courrier, Suisse: "Au rang des avancées démocratiques majeures de la fin du XIXe siècle, le concept de laïcité a aussi été l’outil des aspirations colonialistes. Aujourd’hui, il sert souvent de cache-sexe à un racisme nauséabond."

Les nouveaux souchiens de garde  10/12/2012 LMSI: "Houria Bouteldja s’apprêtait à comparaître devant un tribunal pour avoir simplement attribué le sobriquet de « souchiens » aux Français que, depuis des décennies, tout le monde appelle « de souche ». Acquittée en décembre 2011, Houria Bouteldja est reconvoquée, en appel, le 15 octobre prochain : dans le tribunal comme en-dehors, le combat idéologique continue."

Une révolution conservatrice dans la laïcité  9/24/2012 Les Mots Sont Importants: "À rebours d’un siècle de laïcité française, à rebours des lois Ferry-Goblet et de la fameuse loi de 1905, c’est une véritable révolution conservatrice qui s’achève. Le texte qui suit le souligne, en proposant une opportune leçon d’histoire non seulement à Marine Le Pen, mais aussi à tou-te-s les amnésiques qui, à gauche comme à droite, s’offusquent aujourd’hui de ses propos alors qu’ils ont eux-mêmes été les principaux acteurs de ladite révolution conservatrice en 2004, en soutenant la loi contre le voile à l’école – la première dans l’histoire de France qui imposa la neutralité aux usagers d’un service public et non plus seulement à ses agents – et en menant, pour promouvoir cette loi, une campagne de stigmatisation, de diabolisation et d’excommunictation d’un brutalité et d’un racisme inouïs."

Racisme au pays des droits de l’homme  9/10/2012 Les Mots Sont Importants: "Toute critique contre « la France », toute allégation d’un racisme systémique structurant la société française est ainsi disqualifiée en tant que racisme antifrançais ou antiblanc – un procès a récemment cristallisé cet enjeu : le procès intenté contre Houria Bouteldja, porte parole des Indigènes de la republique, pour avoir simplement nommé les Français dits de souche, en leur donnant le sobriquet de « souchiens »."

'Miss Black France' pageant raises eyebrows  4/28/2012 France 24: "Historian Pascal Blanchard, a specialist in immigration at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, agrees with Lozès, saying he was “shocked” by an initiative he views as “stupid” and “dangerous”. “I know that in the US, there are ethnic beauty contests. The fact that they’re tolerated doesn’t change my mind,” he said. “Anytime that anyone, no matter where in the world, talks to me about a contest reserved for a specific racial category, I hit the roof!”

France's Muslims hit back at Nicolas Sarkozy's policy on halal meat  3/10/2012 Guardian: "The phoney war over halal meat erupted in February when Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National, claimed consumers were eating halal unknowingly. Sarkozy, trailing the Socialist frontrunner François Hollande, accused her of whipping up an artificial controversy. Shortly afterwards, with Le Pen snapping at his heels in the opinion polls, Sarkozy performed a volte-face. In spite of surveys showing that voters were less concerned about halal meat than they were about the weather and football, he announced it was "the issue that most preoccupies the French"."

Paris ban on Muslim street prayers comes into effect  9/16/2011 BBC: "A ban on saying prayers in the street, a practice by French Muslims unable to find space in mosques, has come into effect in the capital, Paris. Interior Minister Claude Gueant has offered believers the use of a disused fire brigade barracks instead. The phenomenon of street prayers, which see Muslims spreading mats on footpaths, became a political issue after far right protests."

Full-face veils outlawed as France spells out controversial niqab ban  3/3/2011 Guardian: "Face veils will be outlawed virtually anywhere outside women's own homes, except when they are worshipping in a religious place or travelling as a passenger in a private car, although traffic police may stop them if they think they do not have a clear "field of vision" while driving. Women wearing niqab will be fined €150 (about £130) and be given a citizenship class to remind them of the republican values of secular France and gender equality. Any third party found to have coerced a woman into wearing the face covering, for example a husband or family member, risks a €30,000 fine and a year in prison."

French Minorities Push For Equality Post-Obama  1/14/2009 NPR: "With a constitution enshrining the notion of egalitarianism, France has always been considered more enlightened than America on matters of race. But Barack Obama's victory in the U.S. presidential election has underscored France's failure to achieve a colorblind society. Now, French minorities are pressing politicians to promote more diversity."

La République du mépris  10/28/2007 Les Mots Sont Importants: "Le texte qui suit est un extrait de la longue introduction du livre, qui précise ce qu’il faut entendre par « république du mépris » et par « racisme républicain », et qui présente les quatre « métaphores du racisme » analysées dans les quatre chapitres du livre : la « métaphore féministe », la « métaphore laïque », la « métaphore mémorielle » et la « métaphore libertaire »."

Racism Unfiltered in France  5/6/2007 Time: "France rejects affirmative action as incompatible with its republican ideals of color-blind equality for all citizens. Nice in theory, but that's not working in practice: discrimination continues, inequality is rife, and notions of color-blindness don't square with the rising chorus of racially loaded commentary. Color-blindness may also function to keep France blind to racial discrimination and inequality, but the rising tide of anger in the projects and racist chatter in the mainstream suggests that the French may soon have no choice but to openly confront what color-blindness prefers not to see."

Chronique du racisme républicain (2002-2007)  4/30/2007 Les Mots Sont Importants: Tout le racisme de la France.

In officially colorblind France, blacks have a dream – and now a lobby  1/12/2007 CSM: "CRAN, in defining itself as a black organization, has run into deep-rooted hostility. Its premise, that black citizens have shared aims and problems by virtue of the color of their skin, may seem obvious to outsiders. But many conservatives and academics here have complained that the group undermines the French model of assimilation by emphasizing racial differences."

Identity: France shows its true colors  6/5/2006 NYT: "With the exception of a few courageous souls, what still marks so many members of the French intellectual class is their overall commitment to the ideology of Républicanisme and its ideal of assimilation. While Paul Gilroy's "There Ain't no Black in the Union Jack" had a palpable effect on debates about what Englishness means, France has yet to produce an intellectual of comparable influence. Only by coming to terms with their own cultural imperialism will French intellectuals contribute to the challenges of better incorporating the members of minority groups into the French polity. Only then will they live up to the powerful tradition of the engaged intellectual."

France’s history wars  2/1/2006 Le Monde Diplomatique: "Nora blamed this on a recently published attack on Napoleon, another nail in the coffin of French republicanism. In December 2005 the historian Claude Ribbe published Napoleon’s Crime, which challenges the accepted view of Napoleon as military genius and founder of modern France. In this book Napoleon is presented as an anti-semite and racist, responsible for the reintroduction of slavery after its abolition by the Revolutionary Convention in 1794. Ribbe describes him as “the first racist dictator of all time” and accuses him of building a Napoleonic Reich that could only prosper through the slave trade."

French blacks skeptical of race neutrality  9/21/2005 NYT: "But French insistence on the equality of man leaves them in a bind, their black critics say, perpetuating the fiction of a society without minorities. The census in France does not list people by race. Hence, while blacks are thought to number about 1.5 million, of a total population of 59 million, no one really knows the exact number, which is estimated to be far higher."


Chirac backs hijab ban  12/17/2003 Al Jazeera: "The French president has backed a proposed new law which would ban the Islamic headscarf and other religious insignia from the classroom. Jacques Chirac said on Wednesday that a law is necesary to safeguard the nation's secular identity. He said: "The Islamic veil... the kippa and a cross that is of manifestly excessive dimensions - these have no place in the precincts of state schools. State schools will remain secular. For that a law is necessary."

Citizens All? Citizens Some! The Making of the Citizen  4/18/2002 University of Binghamton: by Immanuel Wallerstein - "The way to define citizenship narrowly in practice, while retaining the principle in theory, is to create two categories of citizens. The effort started with Abbé Siéyès, just six days after the fall of the Bastille. In a report he read to the Constitutional Committee of the National Assembly on July 20-21, 1789, Siéyès proposed a distinction between passive and active rights, between passive and active citizens. Natural and civil rights, he said, are rights "for whose maintenance and development society is formed." These are passive rights. There also exist political rights, "those by which society is formed." These are active rights. And from this distinction, Siéyès drew the following conclusion: All inhabitants of a country should enjoy in it the rights of passive citizens; all have the right to the protection of their person, of their property, of their liberty, etc. But all do not have the right to play an active role in the formation of public authorities; all are not active citizens. Women (at least at the present time), children, foreigners, and those others who contribute nothing to sustaining the public establishment should not be allowed to influence public life actively. Everyone is entitled to enjoy the advantages of society, but only those who contribute to the public establishment are true stockholders (actionnaires) of the great social enterprise. They alone are truly active citizens, true members of the association."

News of Racism in Francetop

'Quenelle' performed in middle of French Parliament  5/1/2015 Jewish World: "Anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné posts picture of two young men performing inverted Nazi salute during tour of National Assembly. 'Bravo, thank you for your support! You are everywhere,' he writes."

That Super Cute Maxi Skirt Isn't Her Problem. French Racism Is.  4/30/2015 Forward 

UN panel denounces ‘trivialization’ of racism in France  4/28/2015 Press TV: "Meanwhile, Huang Yong’an, a former ambassador of the People's Republic of China and now a CERD expert, said that tourists from his country were often targeted in France, and urged Paris to take “necessary and effective measures to curb the trend of xenophobia and to ensure security and other fundamental rights of foreign people in France.”"

Islamophobia soars in France  4/21/2015 Muslim Village: "Anti-Muslim attacks have risen six-fold in the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2014, hitting 222 reported violent attacks, according to French interior ministry figures. “It is the first time we have recorded grenades being thrown or guns fired,” Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia said, stressing the unprecedented rise in Islamophobic attakcs. Racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia prevail in the country as more non-French people have been threatened by potential violent attacks."

France Announces Stronger Fight Against Racism and Anti-Semitism  4/17/2015 NYT: "Mr. Valls’s presentation of the plan did not mention racism targeting people who are black or Roma, but all racist behavior would be covered by the new measures."

France to invest $107m in fighting anti-Semitism, racism  4/17/2015 Haaretz: "“Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners and homophobia are growing in an insufferable manner in our country,” Valls told reporters in Creteil, just outside Paris, after presenting his plan. Creteil was chosen because of an attack on a young couple in their home there five months ago, Radio France Internationale reported. The attackers raped the woman and said that they believed the victims had money because they were Jewish."

France launches major anti-racism and hate speech campaign  4/17/2015 Guardian: "The government will spend €100m (£72m) on a three-year plan, including the setting up of a new unit to monitor and fight “hatred online”. “Passivity on the internet is over,” Hollande said. Teacher training will be reinforced, headteachers will be encouraged to report incidents and pupils will be taken to visit memorial sites. There will also be tougher penalties for crimes deemed to have been fuelled by racism and antisemitism. Hate speech, already a criminal offence, will be moved to France’s general penal code. It will no longer be part of a separate specialist criminal code dating back to the 19th century that deals with freedom of expression issues and offences such as incitement to racial hatred and libel. This has caused consternation among anti-racism groups, which argue that the move was unnecessary and sent a message that “repression” would end racism when in fact there should be broader work to promote equality and end discrimination across society."

The racist roots of the French FGM crusade  4/15/2015 Spiked Online: "With no actual evidence that 65,000 girls in the UK are at risk of FGM, campaigners turn to France, where a relatively successful anti-FGM campaign has been waged for several decades. Indeed, over the past 35 years, there have been 43 trials and 100 successful convictions. Yet there is a backstory here that is rarely told. The anti-FGM campaign in France, far from being unambiguously progressive, is intimately linked with state anti-immigration policies. As a result, the French anti-FGM campaign further isolates and criminalises one of the most vulnerable sections of French society: the non-EU immigrant population, especially black Africans."

Chelsea fans' racism: French police identify seven suspects  2/20/2015 Telegraph: "French prosecutors have identified seven Chelsea supporters suspected of involvement in the racial abuse of a black commuter on the Paris Métro, and have given their photographs to the Metropolitan Police. French and British police are working together to trace the group of Chelsea fans who repeatedly pushed a black man trying to board a train back on to the platform while chanting: “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” "

Charlie Hebdo fired cartoonist for anti-Semitism in 2009  1/19/2015 World Bulletin: "As mocking young Mr Sarkozy converted to Judaism for money, Sine was accused of being Anti-Semitic and faced many preassures leading him to be fired from the weekly magazine. The same magazine published cartoons even insulting the Islam Prophet Muhammad and Muslims yet explained them as “freedom of speech.”"

Garry Trudeau: When free speech becomes hate speech  1/18/2015 AFR: by Gary Trudeau

French Twitter Users Say #JeSuisCharlie Isn’t For Everyone  1/8/2015 Time: "Echoing the #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie) hashtag which went viral Wednesday in a show of solidarity for the newspaper’s victims, the hashtag #JeSuisAhmed is now gathering momentum online. Several have used it to point out that a Muslim man died defending a newspaper’s right to free speech, even when it had a history of mocking his own religion."

From Dieudonné to Nicolas Anelka: Hands signal new French race row  1/3/2014 Independent: "The gesture involves pointing downwards with one flattened hand, like an inverted Nazi salute, while clasping a shoulder with the other hand. The president of the French league against racism and anti-Semitism, Alain Jakubowicz, says that the gesture signifies “the sodomisation of victims of the Holocaust”. Dieudonné has started a legal action against Mr Jakubowicz for libel."

The Move to Muzzle Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala - The Bête Noire of the French Establishment  1/2/2014 CounterPunch: "Then the protests started coming in, especially concerning the final gesture seen as likening Israel to Nazi Germany. “Anti-Semitism!” was the cry, although the target was Israel (and the United States as allies in the Middle East). Calls multiplied to ban his shows, to sue him, to destroy his career. Dieudonné attempted to justify his sketch as not targeting Jews as such, but, unlike others before him, would not apologize for an offense he did not believe he had committed. Why no protests from Africans he had made fun of? Or Muslims? Or Chinese? Why should a single community react with such fury? Thus began a decade of escalation. LICRA began a long series of lawsuits against him (“incitement to racial hatred”), at first losing, but keeping up the pressure. Instead of backing down, Dieudonné went farther in his criticism of “Zionism” after each attack. Meanwhile, Dieudonné was gradually excluded from television appearances and treated as a pariah by mainstream media. It is only the recent internet profusion of images showing young people making the quenelle sign that has moved the establishment to conclude that a direct attack would be more effective than trying to ignore him."

Dieudonne: The bizarre journey of a controversial comic  12/31/2013 BBC: "Dieudonne's dalliance with the French far-right draws the headlines because it seems so bizarre. And it is true that his bandwagon attracts a fair share of ultra-nationalists and theorists of the Jewish-capitalist take-over. His ally the writer Alain Soral is a prime example. However at his stage performances many of the audience are disaffected youngsters of black and Arab immigrant background. According to Jean-Paul Gautier, author of The Dieudonne Galaxy, these people "feel abandoned by society, they don't seem to find their place in it. So basically what he is saying is - look while you're bashing your heads against the wall, the Jews are filling their pockets. And as a message it works.""

French basketball star Parker apologises after performing controversial 'quenelle' salute with comedian Dieudonne  12/30/2013 Daily Mail: 'Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions.' [Tony was properly re-educated.]

“Charlie Hebdo”, not racist? If you say so…  12/5/2013 Article 11: "Scarcely had I walked out, wearied by the dictatorial behaviour and corrupt promotion practices of the employer, than the Twin Towers fell and Caroline Fourest arrived in your editorial team. This double catastrophe set off a process of ideological reformatting which would drive off your former readers and attract new ones - a cleaner readership, more interested in a light-hearted version of the “war on terror” than the soft anarchy of [cartoonist] Gébé. Little by little, the wholesale denunciation of “beards”, veiled women and their imaginary accomplices became a central axis of your journalistic and satirical production. “Investigations” began to appear which accepted the wildest rumours as fact, like the so-called infiltration of the League of Human Rights (LDH) or European Social Forum (FSE) by a horde of bloodthirsty Salafists[2]. The new impulse underway required the magazine to renounce the unruly attitude which had been its backbone up to then, and to form alliances with the most corrupt figures of the intellectual jet-set, such as Bernard-Henri Lévy or Antoine Sfeir, cosignatories in Charlie Hebdo of a grotesque “Manifesto of the Twelve against the New Islamic Totalitarianism”[3]. Whoever could not see themselves in a worldview which opposed the civilized (Europeans) to obscurantists (Muslims) saw themselves quickly slapped with the label of “useful idiots” or “Islamo-leftists”."

In France, Some Ask If Racism Is On The Rise  11/15/2013 NPR: "But things took a nasty turn about a month ago: A politician from the far-right National Front party posted a photo of Taubira next to a monkey on a Facebook page. Then a group gathered to protest the gay marriage law was caught yelling, "Monkey, go eat your banana!" The video circulated widely on YouTube. "The issue is not about the small minority of people who are deeply racist in France," says Louis-Georges Tin, head of an umbrella group of French black associations. "The issue is about the majority. Is the majority indifferent to this situation? Or is the majority against racism?""

Outrage in France over new slur on black minister  11/13/2013 AFP: "A weekly newspaper with a front page comparing a black government minister to a monkey hit newsstands in France on Wednesday, despite legal objections and a nationwide outcry over the racist slur."

Harry Roselmack : "La France raciste est de retour"  11/4/2013 Le Monde: "Et voilà qu'une minorité grandissante qui se présente comme gardienne ou salvatrice de cette République française vient briser cette prouesse cocardière. Me voilà ramené à ma condition nègre. Me voilà attablé avec d'autres Noirs parce qu'ils sont noirs. Et me voilà en train de m'offusquer d'une idiotie qui ne m'atteignait guère : le racisme."

Aboga ministra francesa por resarcir a descendientes de esclavos  5/12/2013 Prensa Latina: "La ministra francesa de Justicia, Christiane Taubira, abogó hoy por políticas públicas, entre ellas la entrega de tierras, a los descendientes de esclavos en los territorios de ultramar y África. Interrogada sobre el debate originado aquí en ocasión del Día Nacional de la Abolición de la Esclavitud y la Trata de Personas, la titular consideró que el reconocimiento de estas prácticas como un crimen contra la humanidad es una gran reparación."

Black workers 'banned from Gare du Nord during Israeli president visit'  4/14/2013 Telegraph, UK: "Mr Peres and a delegation of other senior Israelis arrived on a morning train from Belgium, and were greeted by staff from SNCF, France's national railway, and their baggage-handling subsidiary, ITIREMIA. The previous day however, a site manager told all workers at the station about the ban on black staff, and those of North African descent, because they might be Muslim."

Israël-discrimination raciale: Honte à Simon Perez, Honte à la France  4/12/2013 Libna News: "Un incident stupéfiant «à caractère raciste», mettant en cause des personnalités israéliennes de premier plan, s’est produit vendredi 8 mars 2013 à 10H30, à la Gare du Nord à bord du train Thalys en provenance de Bruxelles (Belgique) avec à son bord Shimon Perez. A l’arrivée du président israélien, sa délégation israélienne a fait l’objet d’un singulier traitement assuré sur une «base confessionnelle», d’où ont été exclus «Noirs, Arabes, en tout cas de Musulmans». L’accès du train a été interdit au chef de bord qui était noir. La manutention de l’opération avait été confiée à la société Itiremia SAS, une filiale Groupe SNCF, dont le Directeur Général est Sébastien Budillon et le chef de site Patrick Vidal."

Pour le Malien - Hommage à Mahamadou Marega  11/26/2012 Les Mots Sont Importants: "Si tel n’était pas le cas, si une vie malienne valait une vie bien française et bien blanche, il serait évident pour tout le monde que, face à un sans-papiers fuyant une expulsion – autrement dit : un homme désarmé ne mettant en danger la vie de personne – l’alternative aux décharges électriques de 50000 volts n’est ni l’arme à feu, ni l’asphyxie par le gaz, ni (comme ce fut le cas pour d’autres « bavures ») l’étranglement. Il serait évident qu’en ces circonstances, des « gardiens de la paix » dignes de ce nom, dans une « démocratie » digne de ce nom, n’ont rien de mieux à faire que de le laisser s’enfuir. Si cet « abandon », cette « abdication », ce « laxisme » vous choque, s’il vous indispose plus que la possibilité – maintes fois actualisée – d’une mort d’homme, c’est bel et bien que la chasse aux sans-papiers est devenue un impératif catégorique, une fin qui justifie tous les moyens, et que cette mort d’homme ne vaut pas d’autres morts d’homme – ou, pour le dire autrement, que cet homme ne vaut pas d’autres hommes, ne vaut pas non plus le chien ou le chat dont la mort nous désole, ne vaut en fait à peu près rien."

Why Americans See Racism Where The French See No Problem  6/8/2012 Big Think: "The French reaction to this reaction, as described by Sotinel, must strike Americans as pretty funny. It amounts to this: Oh, yeah, that one guy is black. Leave it to you race-obsessed Americans to pick that up; we hadn't noticed. We didn't really notice that. (Negative French reviews of the film complained that it was hokey, Sotinel writes, but none mentioned skin color.) To Americans, this is a willful refusal to admit the obvious, something we consider a Gallic specialty (France cannot say precisely how many Muslims live within its borders because the government is barred by law from breaking down the population by race or religion in its statistics.) To the French, the Stateside reaction is American sanctimoniousness at its worst. We're the nation that produced, oh, Beverly Hills Cop, after all. And we invented the Magic Negro. Who are we to talk?"

Is The Intouchables Racist?  5/25/2012 Slate: "It’s a story about a white man and a black man. The white man is rich and paralyzed from the neck down; the black man is an ex-con from the projects. The former needs a caretaker; the latter needs someone to turn his job application down, so he’ll be eligible for unemployment benefits. They meet. They clash. And, against all odds, Driss, the black man, starts working for Philippe, the white man."

'Think Like a Man’s’ Ban In France Proves It’s Hard To Be a N*gga In Paris  5/21/2012 Madame Noire: "It was not even a full month ago that we were discussing the country’s objection to the Miss Black France pageant which was being held in Paris. Opposition suggested that singling out black beauty went against the country’s nationalist identity of being Frenchmen not hyphenated factions of afro-French or Caribbean French, and so forth. The message was that the singling out of black beauty was somewhat hypocritical because in the same breath that black people in the country were asking to be included more in society, they were turning around and excluding the rest of the population from their celebration. What was missing in that discussion was an understanding of why such pageants are needed and how white beauty is celebrated in an exclusionary fashion on a non-stop basis. It’s just that when something has been the status quo for so long and those images look like the ones you see in the mirror, it’s not so easy to pick out what’s wrong with the picture."

Martinique: “Think Like A Man”, Just Not in France  5/8/2012 Global Voices: "Surprising as it may be, the answer lies in the fact that the film has an all-black cast. French cinema is often pointed at for not fairly displaying all components of the country's multiethnic population. Although the recent success of the movie Les Intouchables, which earned French African actor Omar Sy the Cesar award for Best Actor in 2012, caused great pride and hope among French nationals from Africa and the Caribbean, it was not to be the turning point for a deep and lasting change."

La France ne veut pas de couples noirs au cinéma !  5/2/2012 People Bo Kay: "Malgré cette grande réussite, selon certaines sources, le film a été déprogrammé en France car il a été jugé trop communautaire. Il faut rappeler qu'il y a dans l’État français, une stratégie socio-politique qui tend à prôner le métissage plutôt que la valorisation des communautés. Dans la comédie "Think like a man", les couples noirs sont mis en avant. Or la France favorise les couples mixtes avec ses discours politiques (Royal, Sarkozy, Mélenchon, Hollande,...) et par le biais de ses médias. Et leur propagande fonctionne puisque Yannick Noah, chanteur, ancien joueur de tennis et avant tout métis direct qui nous conseille souvent vivement de nous mélanger, est en 2012 la personnalité préférée des Français pour la huitième fois consécutive!"

Diez años de creciente racismo  3/20/2012 ABC: "Las estadísticas oficiales confirman más de 1.000 actos racistas al año en Francia. En 2009, por ejemplo, la Policía contabilizó 130 agresiones físicas racistas y 806 amenazas o actos de intimidación. Se dejan sin contabilizar comportamientos inquietantes: bares donde un perro «olfatea» a los inmigrantes que intentan entrar, barrios parisinos donde los judíos deben «atrincherarse»…"

Black Fashion Week shakes up Paris couture  3/10/2012 France 24: "However, the event’s creator is also getting slightly annoyed at the recurring questions: Why exclude certain people by labelling the event “black”? What would you think if someone launched “White Fashion Week”? Adama Paris, whose real name is Adama Ndiaye, has not been tripped up by the queries. “I would say fine, create a White Fashion Week,” she told the French press earlier this week “But guess what, the fashion world is already white.”

Rokhaya Diallo - Black, French and on the barricades against racism  2/19/2012 Afro-Europe: "Rokhaya Diallo is the founder and president of Les Indivisibles, a French organisation that uses humour and irony to fight racism and stereotypes. By raising awareness of these issues, Les Indivisibles seeks to engage the French public as well as government leaders in creating an alternative discourse. She created Les Indivisibles because of offensive statements made by politicians and other public figures during the French riots in 2005. "Only a few people responded to them", she says in an interview with Euromight. "And this is one of the reasons why I created Les Indivisibles."

Multiculturalism has failed, says French president  2/10/2011 AFP: "Of course we must all respect differences, but we do not want... a society where communities coexist side by side. "If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France," the right-wing president said."

Guerlain’s racist and denialist scent  10/22/2010 Afrik News: "From Port-au-Prince where I was on Friday, October 15, the words uttered by Jean-Paul Guerlain, aired live on French national television: "I do not know if negroes ever worked much, but anyway ..." stunk to high heavens. France, as a matter of fact, transported more than a million men, women and children (from Africa) to Haiti for over one hundred and fifty years. That human trade left nearly six million dead bodies in Africa (five deaths for one live slave, according to the most optimistic estimates). The average life expectancy among those "negroes", who Mr. Guerlain doubts were ever hardworking enough, was five years."

Sarkozy's immigration tough talk backfires  8/23/2010 AFP: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy's tough talk on Gypsies and immigrants faced a fierce backlash Monday, drawing fire from the right, the left and the Church while failing to boost him in the polls. With two years to go before he seeks re-election and with his popularity at an all time low, Sarkozy has this month attempted to recapture the political initiative with a populist racially-tinged law and order message. Police have begun rounding up and expelling Roma from Eastern Europe and dismantling unauthorised Gypsy campgrounds, while Sarkozy has threatened to strip some French but foreign-born criminals of their nationality. Early opinion polls appeared to show that a majority of voters approved of the crackdown, but an initial surge of interest does not seem to have translated into a boost to the president's personal standing."

Racism towards Blacks in Morocco and Maghreb, a taboo topic  7/29/2010 Afrik News: This article is about racism towards blacks among people in the Magreb, who number over 5 million in France.

French admit they are racist  5/30/2010 Telegraph, UK: "One in seven French people admit to being racist and many have prejudicial views of immigrants, homosexuals, blacks, Arab and Jews, according to a survey released on Sunday."

Alexandre Dumas the Black-Frenchman: France Attempt to Steal Black History Creates Row  4/30/2010 Rasta Livewire 

French race row: unspeakable truths?  3/29/2010 France 24: "Controversial French polemicist Eric Zemmour, who writes an editoral column for Le Figaro, stirred up a hornet's nest last week when he said on Canal Plus television that immigrants to France were more closely monitored by the police because most drug traffickers are blacks and Arabs. Are these all unspeakable truths in France?"

Dumas film with white actor Depardieu sparks race row  2/19/2010 BBC: "Patrick Lozes, President of the Council of Black Associations of France, feels that Dumas' African heritage has been deliberately suppressed for the big screen. "It's very shocking and it is insulting. "It is a way of saying that we don't have any black actor who has the talent to play Alexander Dumas, which of course is not true."

Remembering the Assassination of Dulcie September, Chairlady of the ANC France Bureau  3/31/2009 Cameroun Link: "On March 29, 1988 Dulcie September, a 52 years old colored female activist and community organizer, representative of the African National Congress (ANC) in France, Switzerland and Luxemburg was assassinated in Paris. The incident took place between 9.45 and 10am local time when she was about to open the office of the antiapartheid group. Having relocated to the vicinity of the Seine River in 1984, September had been an active representative of the ANC, which was struggling to assert rights of the black majority of South Africa. Since France provided a substantial proportion of South Africa’s military and naval arsenal, September’s major role was to rally support from the area and lobby for disinvestment and full economic sanctions against the racist regime. The assassination of Dulcie September generated much speculation and confusion over the identity and the motives of its perpetrators. Its ccircumstances are still unclear, as the identity of the killers was never disclosed. In the course of the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), former security police officer Eugene de Kock designated Jean-Paul Guerrier, a French mercenary, as the ringleader of the murder. It remains that no one has so far been officially identified and persecuted per se. Some independent sources have argued that the coup took place with the complicity of the French secret service. France officially closed the prosecution and investigation on July 1992 for lack of evidence. One fact, which can be fully debated today, however, and which may have considerably greater influence on our understanding of the circumstances surrounding the sudden loss of Dulcie September, is that the connection to French authorities has never been formally/diplomatically established. "

La mémoire d’Alexandre Dumas enfin célébrée en plein Paris  3/27/2009 Pambazuka: "Cet important monument en hommage au général Alexandre Dumas, financé par la ville de Paris après un vote unanime sur une proposition de l’écrivain Claude Ribbe en 2002, viendra s’associer à celui de Gustave Doré (1883) consacré à Alexandre Dumas, fils du général et auteur des Trois Mousquetaires, ainsi qu’à celui de René de Saint-Marceaux (1906) consacré à Alexandre Dumas fils, petit fils du général, auteur de La dame aux Camélias et inspirateur de La Traviata. Il remplacera une statue d’Alphonse de Perrin de Moncel, installée l’hiver 1912-1913 et abattue par les collaborateurs en 1943 parce que les origines afro-antillaises du général Dumas y étaient particulièrement mises en valeur."

Paris marchers support Guadeloupe strikers  2/22/2009 AP 

After squalls in the Caribbean, Sarkozy faces a storm at home  2/22/2009 Observer: "The country's worst violence since the riots of 2005 saw youths burning cars and charging police night after night. This time the riots were not in the rundown estates that surround many French cities but in the poverty-stricken alleys of Pointe-à-Pitre, on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where per capita income is half that of mainland France and the unemployment rate three times higher. The violence resonated with a tense and angry public in France itself. The 430,000 people of Guadeloupe are theoretically citizens of the republic like those of Lille, Lyon or Paris and, though many of the roots of the protests lie deep in the colonial past, the slogans and demands of the rioters were very contemporary, focusing on pouvoir d'achat, the famous lack of buying power in the face of high prices and stagnant wages that is the main grievance of all the French."

Guadeloupe : Paris dit "statut", le LKP crie "faux débat"  2/22/2009 Rue 89: "Békés et "métro" ont en commun la couleur de la peau -blanche. Mais Elie Domota, leader du LKP, affirme qu'on "cherche à le discréditer en le taxant de racisme" alors que les békés concentrent près d'un quart des richesses pour 1% de la population: "Parler de société esclavagiste n'a rien à voir avec parler de couleur de peau." Sur place, pourtant, la question est loin d'être absente. C'est ce que montre le tollé suscité par un documentaire diffusé par Canal + le 30 janvier où l'on voit un béké octogénaire présenté comme "l'industriel le plus puissant de l'île" revendiquer "la pureté de la race". Mais c'est aussi ce que montrent les accusations contre les renforts policiers qui viendraient "casser du nègre"."

Les Guadeloupéens saluent la mémoire de Jacques Bino  2/22/2009 RF1: "Les hommages au défunt ont alterné avec les appels à poursuivre la grève générale. Le leader guadeloupéen du Collectif contre l’exploitation (LKP), Elie Domota, a pris la parole, rappelant que « l’heure est toujours à la mobilisation ». Jacques Bino est en quelque sorte devenu le martyr de la lutte syndicale, même si les circonstances de sa mort restent encore à éclaircir. Le moment le plus émouvant de la cérémonie a été celui de la fermeture du cercueil, quand la foule a entonné le chant des grévistes : « La Guadeloupe, c’est à nous, La Guadeloupe c’est pas à eux ». Ce fut un moment de communion pour les deux à trois mille personnes réunies qui ont gardé le poing levé jusqu’à la fin de leur chant."

Tourists flee Guadeloupe as civil war looms  2/20/2009 Private post on "Protests have spread to a number of France’s other overseas territories, including neighbouring Martinique, where protesters have also taken to the streets with demands that are similar to those expressed in Guadeloupe. Demonstrations have been mounted in French Guyana, in South America and La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, as well."

France pledges $730M to head off Caribbean riots  2/20/2009 CNN 

More violence on third night of protests  2/20/2009 Jamaica Gleaner: "Rioters fired at police, stormed a city hall and burned several stores in a third night of violence on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, officials said yesterday, as France proposed to boost salaries to end the monthlong strike. More than 500 police were deployed overnight across the island, with dozens arriving by helicopter in the southern coastal town of Sainte-Anne, where youths had forced their way into the city hall. The building was not vandalised, although several businesses in the area were looted and set on fire, Mayor Richard Yacou said."

Guadeloupe strikes: Shots fired at French security forces  2/19/2009 Telegraph: "The focus of the riots, which began on January 20, has shifted away from the immediate demands for better wages. Demonstrators are now demanding an end to domination of the economy by "Bekes," the local name for white families that trace their roots to the colonial landlords and sugar plantation slave owners of the 17th and 18th centuries. Racial strains have been aggravated by the strong position of traditional land owning families that possess as much as 90 per cent of its estimated wealth. Landowners also control the island's shops and food distribution networks, which are popularly believed to overcharge for imported goods, a situation that undercuts the value of state subsidies to the island. As the strike started, one prominent member of a Beke family, Alain Huyghues-Despointes fuelled public anger by criticising mixed-race marriages and stating a personal preference to "preserve his race." "

France sends police to quell Guadeloupe riots  2/18/2009 AFP: "Union representative Jacques Bino, aged in his 50s, was shot dead overnight when he drove up to a roadblock manned by armed youths in Pointe-a-Pitre, the island's main city."

The Case of Maurice Sinet The Antisemitism Incitement Craze  8/5/2008 Counterpunch: "“Jean Sarkozy, worthy son of his father and already a UMP councillor, emerged almost to applause after his court case for not stopping after an accident on his scooter. The prosecutor even asked for him to be cleared. You have to remember that the plaintiff was an Arab,” Siné wrote. But that is not what got 79-year-old Siné fired from the magazine that he has been working with for the last 20 years. At the end of the cartoon Siné writes that Jean Sarkozy would “go far in life.” Two days later, Claude Askolovitch, a French-Jewish radio host denounced the article as anti-Semitic."

The French Fuhrer: Genocidal Napoleon was as barbaric as Hitler, historian claims  7/24/2008 Daily Mail: "Non-combatants, too, were raped and slaughtered. According to contemporary accounts, the French used dogs to rip black prisoners to pieces before a crowd at an amphitheatre. Allegdly on Napoleon's orders, sulphur was extracted from Haitian volcanoes and burned to produce poisonous sulphur dioxide, which was then used to gas black Haitians in the holds of ships - more than 100,000 of them, according to records. The use of these primitive gas chambers was confirmed by contemporaries. Antoine Metral, who in 1825 published his history of the French expedition to Haiti, writes of piles of dead bodies everywhere, stacked in charnel-houses."

Lettre ouverte à M.Nicolas Sarkozy à propos du général Dumas  11/19/2007 Claude Ribbe 

The Problem with Frenchness  11/9/2005 Juan Cole: "What I would rather comment on, however, is the myths that have governed many rightwing American comments on the tragic events. Actually, I can only think that the disturbances must produce a huge ice cream headache for the dittoheads. French of European heritage pitted against French of African and North African heritage? How could they ever pick a side?"

France's Le Pen: The Colonial Mind at Work  5/2/2002 "Against the incendiary background of the Palestine conflict, at least a few French Jews revel in his anti-Muslim rhetoric; one community leader, Roger Cukierman, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Le Pen's strong showing would send Muslims "a message to keep quiet."

La gauche bat le pavé pour battre le FN  4/23/2002 Liberation: 10,000+ demonstrators in each of many French cities, mostly young, protest rght wing extremist Le Pen: "a colère de la jeunesse a éclaté dans la rue. Après les manifestations de la nuit de dimanche à lundi, près de 150 000 personnes ont défilé hier dans une trentaine de villes, dont des dizaines de milliers de lycéens et d'étudiants qui avaient déserté leurs établissements. Souvent spontanées, les manifestations se sont succédé tout au long de la journée, rapidement grossies par des militants d'extrême gau che, mais aussi Verts, communistes, socialis tes, syndicalistes et membres d'associations (Ligue des droits de l'Homme, Attac, Ras l'Front, SOS racisme). Partout, rythmée par les tambours et parfois accompagnée par des cracheurs de feu, la foule a scandé des slogans hostiles à Jean-Marie Le Pen et au «F-Haine» : «A bas le Front» ou «F comme fasciste, N comme nazi», «Votez escroc, pas facho». De source policière, ils étaient à chaque fois plus de 10 000 à Nancy, Rouen, Lille, Strasbourg. Autant à Paris, où quel ques centaines de personnes ont bloqué la circulation sur le boulevard périphérique dans la soirée pendant quarante minutes, avant l'intervention des forces de l'ordre. Dans le quartier de la Bastille vers 22 heures, quelques jeunes ont lancé des barres de fer et des bouteilles de bière sur le cordon policier qui leur barrait le passage. Des incidents rapidement contenus par l'intervention d'autres manifestants."

Le Pen sends Europe reeling a little more to the right  4/23/2002 Sydney Morning Herald 

Political bombshell as Le Pen wins spot in French presidential final  4/22/2002 Yahoo: "The 73-year-old leader of the National Front (FN), widely condemned for his hardline views on immigration, won over 17 percent of the vote, and will now confront his arch-rival President Jacques Chirac in the deciding second round on May 5, according to provisional results."


Les Mots Sont Importants -

Broken Mirrors: Race, Historical Memory, and Citizenship in 20th/21st-Century France, Chapter 6, Geoffroy de Laforcade, Norfolk State University

Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France

Decolonial Translation Group

Parti des Indigènes de la République

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala - YouTube Channel

Réseau National de Lutte Contre les Discriminations à l'École



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