Discussions of systemic racism in France provoke backlash
- Recent rows in French government and civil society have pitted anti-racism activists against government officials over discussions of the state and other political institutions’ role in propagating racial inequality.
- Journalist Rokhaya Diallo was removed from France’s national digital council only a week after her appointment following a campaign by right-wing activists and officials that targeted her for, among other things, her discussions of “institutional racism.”
- The same use of the term by the teachers union SUD-Education 93 led Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to indicate he will pursue complaints against the organization as well as for having hosted workshops reserved for people of color.
“French race row erupts as feminist forced off advisory body” (The Guardian | December 2017)
“Blanquer porte plainte contre un syndicat qui a utilisé l’expression «racisme d’Etat»” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)
“Les ateliers « en non-mixité raciale » du syndicat SUD-Education 93 créent une polémique” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)
“When will France admit that police racism is systemic?” (The Guardian | March 2017)
Estates of Emergency
France’s notorious housing estates–akin to housing projects in the U.S.–have long existed as symbols of an unintegrated France. Though President François Hollande has pledged to address the long-standing segregation that divides Paris’s poor banlieues from its more affluent city center, rampant unemployment, limited educational opportunities, crime, and stigmatization continue largely unchecked. The Guardian reflects on conditions in Paris’s most notorious estates a decade after riots forced what one banlieue mayor has called “social and territorial apartheid” into the national consciousness.
“‘Nothing’s changed’: 10 years after French riots, banlieues remain in crisis” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Ed Alcock/The Guardian)
Paris appeals court finds discriminatory police tactics violated minorities’ rights, reversing lower court’s decision
- The court ruled that in five of the 13 cases on appeal, police carried out discriminatory “stop-and-frisk” ID checks that resulted in no legal action against the individuals, all of Arab or African descent.
- In addition to awarding damages to the plaintiffs, the ruling also requires police to record and distribute the objective grounds on which stops are initiated, as the ID checks have been difficult to file complaints over because they have not been recorded.
- Of concern to legal and community observers is that the other eight cases were found to be legal because the checks took place in areas where behavior deemed suspicious by police is more likely to indicate illegal activity, i.e. in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“We struck at the heart of the system by attacking the state. … This is a big victory for our clients. But it’s also a big victory for everyone, notably young people, black or North African, who each day are controlled (by police) mainly because of the color of their skin.”
Read the full story from AP at Yahoo! News.
(Image Credit: Francois Mori/AP, via Yahoo! News)