French ethnicity, a contradiction in terms?

photo by raphael Labbe

Beauty and Genius are a big help to integration in France

The controversy rages on about whether or not France should start openly gathering statistics about her ethnic minorities. (My guess is that it is one of those national distractions that must come as a boon to our sex dwarf.) It is also a completely ridiculous and hypocritical debate (see previous post). Surely the question is this: instead of eternally stigmatizing individuals born in France with the migration of their parents, why not come clean and ask them their ethnic origins? In this way, France can at last offer the possibility for these citizens (whose parents may have been born Algerian or Senegalese) to claim an extra layer of selfhood? There is a serious gap in this culture between the ideal of ‘ethno-solidarity’ (sustained by the universalism inscribed in French law) and the rather more pressing need to reduce very real inequalities. The fact is that if you’re French and Black or Muslim you’d better be either Zinedine Zidane or Patrick Viera because France’s natural intolerance towards mediocrity becomes particularly ferocious when it comes to her minorities.


2 thoughts on “French ethnicity, a contradiction in terms?

  1. Here’s the problem, I think: Liberty, equality and brother/sisterhood are all laudable aspirations but are sadly contradictory. Liberty to be stonking rich? The French affect to despise money. Equality: it is sure that all those who attend ENA may be a little more equal than others. Not having attended ENA, your sex dwarf remains a well-balanced, personality, with a chip on each shoulder. The fraternity part, nowadays often rendered as solidarity, is a curious expression of the guilt that many French people feel for those who are not and never will be equal or free. This is why heroic French people are taking big personal risks to help the encampments of pathetioc refugees misguidedly attempting to enter Britain. But while you have a point that it would be good to have better data, look where this has got us in Britain where multiculturalism has been a disaster also. So now we know that it isn’t working here, and isn’t working there.

  2. You’re so right in your definitions of Lib., Eg., and Frat. The idea of France was built around the contempt for money, so Liberte is the old-fashioned, aristocratic kind (no longer very fashionable) which allows the Enarch to pursue a life of the mind, Egalite is the fantasy that everyone should be allowed to aspire to this dream, and Fraternite is the guilt that comes with the realisation that somebody has to do the work…

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