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.