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French overseas poll

by Alex in Toulouse Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 01:46:50 PM EST

Just some interesting figures mentioned in Le Monde. Precisely a survey among French citizens of the Départements d'Outre-Mer (the overseas territories, specifically in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and Guyana), and their opinion of France, racism, etc.


It's in French, so I'm providing a few translated sample questions below, the rest is available just after this (and in particular a break down of the results per sex, age group, education level, occupation ...):

(html link will prompt to open a PDF document)
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/document/0,0-0,50-764182,0.html

----

Of the following adjectives, would you say that they are rather adequate or rather inadequate to describe France?

(1 = rather adequate / 2 = rather inadequate)

              (1)  (2)  (N/A)

Welcoming     73%  23%   4%

Racist        59%  34%   7%

Declining     54%  36%  10%

--

Do you feel that in France the following topics are discussed ... ?

(1 = too much / 2 = not enough / 3 = just right )

                (1)  (2)  (3)  (N/A)

Slavery          7%  68%  24%   1%

Colonisation     7%  65%  27%   1%

Discrimination  15%  62%  22%   1%

--

Are you in favour or opposed to a law stating that school manuals must mention the positive role of French colonsation?

Totally in favour    19%
Somewhat in favour   25%
Somewhat opposed     14%
Totally opposed      34%
(N/A)                 8%

--

Would you say that today in France, racism is ...?

Widely spread         32%
Somewhat spread       57%
Somewhat rare          9%
Very rare              1%
(N/A)                  1%

--

Today in continental France, do you feel that a black person can get elected as ... ?

           Yes  No  (N/A)

MP         75%  23%  2%

Mayor      75%  24%  1%

President  28%  68%  4%

--

Have you ever been a victim of discrimination when ...?

                                Yes  No  (N/A)

Looking for a flat..............43%  53%  4%

Looking for a job...............38%  57%  5%

Riding public transport.........30%  66%  4%

Seeking career advancement......30%  65%  5%

Dealing with administrations....28%  69%  5%

Trying to enter a cultural
or leisure establishment........18%  78%  4%

Trying to enter a universitary
establishment....................5%  86%  9%

--

Would you be in favour or not of quotas to facilitate access for minorities to certain categories of political and professional life?

Very much in favour     23%
Somewhat in favour      41%
Somewhat opposed        14%
Very much opposed       14%
(N/A)                    8%

--

Display:
Probably 100% of French people like Thierry Henry, whose parents originally lived in Martinique (initial comment to push diary into eyesight).
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 01:50:59 PM EST
Interesting diary, thanks for translating this info.  

Can you clarify for me whether "French citizens of the Départements d'Outre-Mer" means (a) French citizens living in France who were born in overseas territories, (b) citizens who were born in France to parents (or grandparents, etc.) who are from overseas territories, (c) French citizens currently living in overseas territiories, or (d) some combination of the above?  Sorry for the weird question, I just don't understand exactly who was surveyed.

Also, this distrubtion is rather interesting:

Are you in favour or opposed to a law stating that school manuals must mention the positive role of French colonsation?

Totally in favour    19%
Somewhat in favour   25%
Somewhat opposed     14%
Totally opposed      34%
(N/A)                 8%

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 06:03:45 PM EST
Good thing you asked, I had missed one detail!

The people surveyed are all living in continental France, but were either born in, or have one parent born in one of the Départements d'Outre-Mer (Martinique & Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, Réunion island in the Indian Ocean, and French Guyana, all of which are an integral part of France, ie. they have representatives in the Senate, the same administration services as continental France etc ... not to be mistaken for the Territoires d'Outre Mer and Collectivités Territoriales, which are French Polynesia, St Pierre et Miquelon, New Caledonia, Mayotte etc ie. places with a degree of autonomy).

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 06:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 06:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, this distrubtion is rather interesting:

I initially misread your comment thinking it said "rather disturbing" (probably suggested by the earlier "distrub" [sic]).

I too think it is interesting, and disturbing as well.

On the other hand, I was reassured by the results of the following quesstion:

Have you ever been a victim of discrimination when ...?

I found the number of people who have felt discrimination in those situations was less than what I had expected.  Interestingly, Alex below sees the same numbers and writes:

So it's really quite frightening that even inhabitants of France inform us in this poll that they have been subject to some form of discrimination (one in two when looking for a flat). I already knew this was a trend, it's just always worse to see it in numbers.

I am glad to find that these numbers though significant, are less than I had imagined, and also that, relatively low though they might be in my estimation, for Alex they are already "frightening" and unacceptable.  I hope this is the prevalent view on racism in France.

I am curious whether there have been similar surveys in the past, and whether and how these numbers have changed.

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 07:56:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All valid points, I must add that the 28% having been victims of discrimination with administrations worries me too. If public services like town hall, social security, hospitals or whatever discriminate, it's really bad. It may be though that it's mainly the police that's racking up the bad grades here.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 10:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Edited to correct a mistake in the last sample question on quotas (had put 28% for "somewhat opposed", but it's 14% -- else we'd have more than 100%! ... my error comes from the fact that the original PDF document also summarises all the "in favour" and all the "opposed" , thus 14 + 14 = 28)

Here's another sample question worth noting. NB: total is above 100% as multiple answers were possible. For info, 26% of those surveyed from from Martinique, 16% from Guadeloupe, 10% from La Réunion, and 6% from Guyana (this is less than the figures for each of those places in sample below, perhaps because of cases where parents came from 2 different places, but the nearness of the figures implies that everyone named his/her place of origin, but only 3/4 said French):

Do you consider yourself, first and foremost ...?

French              74%

Martinitiquais      27%

Black               25%

(French) Caribbean  23%

Guadeloupéen        18%

Réunionnais         12%

Guyanais             7%

Other                5%

N/A                  1%

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 06:36:40 PM EST
I wish they gave more information on this question. The note in the corresponding tables says "Total above 100, the interviewees "ayant pu" having been able to give two answers". It would be interesting to know what the exact question and answers were. If the question was open-ended the grouping of responses was done by the person doing the interview or the person doing the data analysis not the person being interviewed. However, if the responses were really open ended then out of the 497 people interviewed someone would have probably given an answer that fit into more than just two groups, such as "French and Black from Guadeloupe", which leads me to wonder how the question was phrased and the data coded. Some of the respondents may have thought of themselves as having one clear identity such as "French from Martinique" but that one identity is nowhere in the reported responses. Others may have answered "French and Martiquer" or "Black and French" and thought of those identities as more separate and yet of equal rank such that they would have answered both when asked what they consider themselves "avant tout" first and foremost.  What is interesting is that 92% of respondents describe themselves in such as way that they fit into more than one of the survey categories what we would be nice to know is how they actually described themselves.

I wonder what result you would get if you asked the same question for regions within metropole France. For example do you consider yourself, first and formost...?
French
Breton (from Britanny)
Basque
or even Toulousain, Bordelais or Marseillais (from Toulouse, Bordeaux or Marseille in the same way people talk of themselves as New Yorkers)

Another interesting survey question is:
For you is "le repli communautaire" (hard to translate but the closest would probably be the resurgence of cultural/religious group identification )?
53% A danger
34% A way of protecting oneself against racism and discrimination
and there were 13% Undecided respondents

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 09:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for this diary. What is your interpretation of the poll?
by ccarc on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 03:47:20 PM EST
Only one:

France is having refluxes of discriminatory opinion these days, borne not from authentic racism, but from a dangerous parallel played by Sarkozy in particular, which consists of equating immigration youths to crime.

Just a quick glance at leaks from the "crime prevention law" he is preparing, tells us as much. For example, in it it is said that in families of foreign origin, mothers must talk to their children in French at home so that their kids grow up to speak only French (!!). It is implied in my opinion that no one cares whether the son of an English factory worker at Airbus in Toulouse speaks English better than French, but that the danger rests with mothers speaking guttural languages coming possibly from the Middle East or tropical places. Imagine that ... when language becomes an issue in "crime prevention". Tsss. What's more, this kind of statement is absurd, as anyone not of forein origin, can then talk to their kids in Arabic only, since they are not targeted by the text ...

So in a France which is being further and further manipulated into believing that immigration = crime, France is becoming racist towards itself too. Because the Départements d'Outre-Mer are France. They're not populated with Malians or Senegalese black men who come to do menial jobs and "steal our money" (to quote Chirac) and our hot babes, they're populated with (majoritarily black) Frenchmen.

So it's really quite frightening that even inhabitants of France inform us in this poll that they have been subject to some form of discrimination (one in two when looking for a flat). I already knew this was a trend, it's just always worse to see it in numbers.

But I am an optimist and I believe that any crisis precedes better times ... so the fact that there is so much talk on all these issues will get people to confront them one day or another.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 04:20:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This "crime prevention law" sounds really scary to me. I can't believe Sarkozy wants to have control over the language people speak at home. This is absolutely ridiculous and I hope such a law never passes, not only in France but anywhere in the world. It would be a really bad hit to democracy.
by ccarc on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 04:55:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are some of the leaks now publicly available? Do you have any links? That a crime law has provisions about what language parents must speak to their children in is very disturbing! As is the immigration=crime idea.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 09:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Alexandra, it's the same law package that contains the bit about detecting potential delinquants among toddlers, on which afew wrote a diary some time back.

After checking up on this, the bit I mention on language spoken by mothers to their kids was in the 2004 preliminary report of the Commission  designated to prepare this law.

In the 2005 final report this evolved into becoming a "priority" in some cases, and no longer a "necessity" for all, with even a recognition of the potential benefits of bilingualism and tutoring in the original language of kids. Which is a notable progress.

You can read the Commission's report in French here (the preliminary report and the final report are both available):
http://www.pasde0deconduite.ras.eu.org/article.php3?id_article=26

Nevertheless, in the final report there is still a strong emphasis on the "notion" that speaking French properly is a good way to prevent crime.

Here are two excerpts from the final report (I've translated them here from page 3, and page 45), which btw seems to have been written by a gossiping douchebag:

Page 3 - Preamble
[..] The consequences of emotional unstability (impulsiveness, intolerance to frustrations, non-mastery of our language) or more generally the rejection of authority, are the genesis of this violence, this agressivity, that feeds the facts on delinquency.[..]

Page 45 - 2.4.3 Stigmatisation of immigrant populations (chapter path for this excerpt is: "2. Analysis of dysfunctions in existing politics - 4. At the level of the Ministry of Interior: Immigration)
Diversity is not an obstacle, it is an asset. So why stigmatise this or that cultural or ethnic origin. We must give these youths, while respecting their diversity, all the advantages and means necessary for them to succeed on their teenage path and parallely as citizens.
We must also deal with the state of social suffering, expressed by a part of these youths in trouble. (Alex note: labeled "stigmatisation of immigrant populations" the text jumps to "these youths" and now only "these youths in trouble", I'm serious when I say it was written by a gossiping douchebag!)
In this process, the fact of having parents of foreign origin likely to use the language of their country at home must not constitute one of the primary factors in potentially generating deviance.

There are other troubling things in this law package, including a chosen orientation of getting social workers to cooperate with mayors (read: "to denounce") regarding some people they are treating. Imagine that ... a junkie won't even go see the social worker anymore, if his/her anonymity is no longer assured.

ps: the preliminary report had said the following, page 9:

Between 1 and 3 years of age
Only parents, and in particular the mother, is in contact with the child. If the mothers are of foreign origin, they will have to force themselves to speak French at home to habituate children to only have this language to express themselves.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 10:08:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The DADVSI law on internet and copyright issues, then the "Egalité des Chances" package containing the CPE youth work contract, and now this law on "crime prevention" ... sometimes I get really scared when I read the texts that people come up with. Not just for their content, which in itself is scary, but for the way they are written: in apparent disregard for judiciary issues that will arise from interpretation problems (how can a judge work properly on a text that's shaky in terms of word choice??), and filled with non-scientific sweeping generalisations of all sorts.

How many of these people are truly qualified to represent the French? How many are true experts in the field they operate on?

by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 10:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Alex. I remember Afew's diary all too well. These laws are very strange to me. I'm glad there at least seems to be some change from the 2004 to the 2005 document but my goodness who is writing these texts??

When these language issues come up I always find it most ironic that being multi-lingual is seen as an asset for some and a sign of emotional instability for others. Some families go out of their way to have a foreign language speaking childcare provider or send their kids to expensive bilingual or foreign language schools so that their kids will learn more than one language at an early age. Learning more than one language at a time can be confusing for the adults who only understand one of the languages in question and can't follow the stage at which a child mixes the languages together and maybe, I'm being ironic here, the frustrated adult's reaction leads to emotionally unstable adults and children.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:32:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]

...mothers must talk to their children in French at home so that their kids grow up to speak only French (!!)

I wonder who is going to oversee if (when) that particular piece of legislation is passed. The authorities are going to assign each mother a supervisor to see if she abides to the law? And if she fails to do it, (either because she does not speak the language or she does not consider it part of her patriotic duty, or any other reason) they are going to take her child away and give it to another mother that will do what is necessary according to the law? That is an absurd.  
It is always interesting for me to see a "rational "solution to a problem...

So in a France which is being further and further manipulated into believing that immigration = crime, France is becoming racist towards itself too.

I see that this argument released by the government dominates within the public space, but what does the media say about it (aside form the fact that they are the broadcasters)? Is it one- side -presented- issue?  

by Harlem on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 06:40:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The main TV channels in France are complicit in a lot of ways.

For example, the sudden passion for insecurity that they displayed weeks before the presidential elections in 2002, prompted by who knows what (and including fake enquiries), is one of the reasons that led Le Pen (our resident fachist) to the 2nd round of the elections.

The papers however are generally quite independent, the Canard Enchaîné for example is a scandal-oriented satiric paper (not stars and who sleeps with who types of scandals, only well-documented financial & political scandals) that is cheap, professional, and an asset in our society.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 06:46:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is interesting. So it is an artificial situation that has been created to ignite feelings of fear that would stimulate (or trigger) hatred. What do you think is the ultimate purpose? Urge the "voluntary" depart of all immigrants... because I doubt that the government seeks on purpose the separation of the society in two layers.
by Harlem on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 08:49:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The agenda of fear about immigration is both a means of recuperating the Le Pen electoral vote (a good 17%) for the upcoming presidential elections (next year), and a part of a larger agenda ... which consists of disseminating fears at all levels so that people will be willing to accept "tough" reforms (for example: by warning that the Social Security budget has a huge deficit, when in fact it's just an accounting rearrangement that makes it suddently appear in deficit, thus preparing people to accept limitations on Social Security). Tough reforms that involve the immigration=crime parallel, include policemen in every school, videocameras everywhere etc etc (it basically reinforces the idea that we are danger of crime, and thus that anti-crime measures must be taken).

It's classic stuff, really.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 08:55:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. That explains a lot...
by Harlem on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The agenda of fear about immigration is both a means of recuperating the Le Pen electoral vote (a good 17%) for the upcoming presidential elections (next year), and a part of a larger agenda
People will still vote for the real thing, but this doesn't prevent the "mainstream" from adopting extreme-right points of view and rhetoric.

Just now there is a controversy in Britain over the British National Party, after a Labour Minister waid that 80% of whites in her constituency could imagine voting BNP in the May 4 local elections. Now everyone in labour and the Tory party is talking about luring BNP voters away from the BNP. Believe it or not, Labour is campaigning on being the true !tough on crime' party, both against the LibDems and the Tories.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly, my first comment when reading yours above, was one word, aloud (and in French, but you'll get it): "beurk".
by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
borne not from authentic racism, but from a dangerous parallel played by Sarkozy

There is no authentic racism in France, eh?

"Warming up on the touchline, a black player jogs toward fans at the Parc des Princes soccer stadium. As he gets closer, a barrage of monkey chants explodes _ "OOOH! OOOH! OOOH!"_ and racist insults fill the air. ...interviews with gang members and repeated visits to PSG games found that racist hooligans operate openly and with almost total impunity at the 43,000-seat ground on the western outskirts of the French capital."
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/04/14/D8GVVO687.html

by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read my comment: it's the "refluxes of discrimation" that are "not born of authentic racism". People who are racists don't suddenly have refluxes of discrimination, as they never quit being racists.
by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:35:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find your comment cheap. If you know enough about me on this forum you'll have read anecdotes about my experiences with racism here, such as for example a wonderful evening forced upon me by my girlfriend, in the company of a room full of racists.
by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:37:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see what's "cheap" about it. You can't balance a patently false statement by claiming to have stated your actual position elsewhere.

The fact, convenently ignored by some Europeans, is that there is a terrible race problem on your side of the pond that is almost completely swept beneath the carpet. Spain, of course, has huge uncontrolled football racism. France has adjusted her econometric reporting system to make it virtually impossible to figure out what the statistics are about the immigrant population. Britain has isolated her minorities in a handful of city slums. Germany denies citizenship to generations of immigrants. Etc.

It bugs me some times when the "Europe is terrific" sentiment goes overboard.

by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:10:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are not racist, but...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:12:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Some of my best friends are negros."
by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see what's "cheap" about it. You can't balance a patently false statement by claiming to have stated your actual position elsewhere.

Either you're a bit tired, for not being able to recognize the purpose of this diary nor the content of my statement about discrimination refluxes (why would I go through the time-consuming trouble of preparing a diary that displays survey figures in which nearly 60% of Black Frenchmen respondents responded to the very first question that "racist" was a rather adequate way to describe France ...), or you're feeling cranky about Europe, which the rest of your comment seems to illustrate.

The fact, convenently ignored by some Europeans, is that there is a terrible race problem on your side of the pond that is almost completely swept beneath the carpet.

Swept beneath the carpet by diaries such as this one, yep.

It bugs me some times when the "Europe is terrific" sentiment goes overboard.

There, see, you have issues.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok come to think of it, I reread my comment and I have to  agree with you.

Maybe I just want to see that public opionion is manipulated into being discriminatory, but there probably has to be something underneath the surface to be exploitable.

What I was trying to say was that the "reflux in discrimination" (ie. let's just call it a "rise" or "relapse" then) was propelled forward by the equation immigration=crime, but I guess you're right to say that there can only be a rise if people are predisposed to it.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My use of the word "authentic" is problematic too, you're right.

I wanted to talk only about a rise in discrimination (associating types with preconceptions), as for me racism is a different issue, based on notions such as "inferior races", "supremacy", "monkey noises at football matches" etc. I do believe that racism is not too widespread (ie. what I probably shouldn't call "authentic racism") but have nothing to substantiate this, but believe me when I say that discrimination against (black/arab) foreigners really is on the rise, and that the political agenda of equating immigration to crime is solidfying the trend.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:50:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the idea that there is not widespread racism in Europe, or in particular France--to pick on only because you are in Toulouse--might deserve more examination.

  • When in, say, Brittany, does one expect the town mayor to be black?
  • In Toulouse, how many Islamic members are there of the city council?
  • What fraction of the Paris police force is black?
  • How many blacks are in the French government?
  • Is the chairman of any of the largest 100 companies in France black?
  • What is the correlation (or non-correlation) between race and poverty in France?

I don't know the answers to these questions.
by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:13:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd love to answer your questions objectively, but they perpetuate the (false) notion that representation (or non-representation) of a particular race, can be used to measure racism. A good example of a question in return would be: how many people in France are black and are actual candidates as mayor?

But let me give it a shot ...

1) When in, say, Brittany, does one expect the town mayor to be black?

All I can tell you is that Britanny has a standing tradition of a well-below-the-national-average Le Pen (far right) vote (about half, at 8-9%).

2) In Toulouse, how many Islamic members are there of the city council?

As many as there are Catholic members I hope (none).

3) What fraction of the Paris police force is black?

No idea, but in the student demonstrations in Paris, a good deal of the undercover cops (dressed in civvies) shown arresting violent youths were black, while in the baton-wielding anti-riot crowd, only some were. Anecdotal answer only. But 1 in every 32 cops should be black, strictly statisically-speaking.

4) How many blacks are in the French government?

One (not dark though) in 32. Which again strictly statistically speaking is about right, as there are an estimated 2 million blackmen in France (out of 63 million).

5) Is the chairman of any of the largest 100 companies in France black?

No way to know this, my answer would be no, although 3 chairmen would, strictly statistically-speaking, be expected to be black.

6) What is the correlation (or non-correlation) between race and poverty in France?

Depends on what you mean by correlation, if you mean in terms of ratio, then it's not the "whites", but if it's terms of quantity, then it's the "whites".

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:44:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did a bit of rock overturning on the web and found these:

"Of 555 deputies representing districts in continental France, none is black or Muslim. (Minorities do hold some of the 22 seats representing France's overseas territories.)"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12396-2005Apr23.html

"Nor are there any beur mayors - out of a total of 36,000."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2027338.stm

"In Europe, we could not find one top company with a minority CEO, and few with even one minority officer at any senior level."
http://academic.udayton.edu/race/06hrights/GeoRegions/Europe/EU01.htm

by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Outside of overseas territories, ongoing (non-exhaustive list and does not include municipal councillors among which blacks/arabs are better represented):

Ms. Saliha AYADI
Regional Counsellor of Champagne-Ardennes

Ms. Djemilla AZROU-ISGHI
Assistant mayor of Strasbourg

Ms. Halima Boumedienne Thierry
Senator

Ms. Bariza Khiari
Senator

Ms. Fatima BENMEHDI
Regional Counsellor of Midi-Pyrénées

Ms. Daouia BEZAZ
Regional Counsellor of Lorraine

Ms. Yasmine BOUDJENAH
European parliament

M. Harlem DESIR
European parliament

Ms. Naïma CHARAÏ
Regional Counsellor of Aquitaine

Ms. Samia GHALI
Vice-President of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur

M. Xavier CADORET (ex Karim KADDOURI)
Mayor of St Gérand Le Puy (reelected with 84% in 2001)

M. Roger KAROUTCHI
Senator

M. Zaïr KEDADOUCHE
Technical counsellor of the President of the Republic

Ms. Elyssa KRAIEM
Regional counsellor of Haute-Normandie

M. Karim LAANAYA
Regional counsellor of Centre

M. Salima MAMI
lost in the 2nd round of the 8th Cantonal district of Lyon, 42,62% vs 57.38%

M. Driss AJBALI
lost in the 2nd round of the 7th Cantonal district of Strasbourg (a far-right HQ), 41,62% vs 56,38%:

M. Sami NAIR
European Parliament

Ms. Michèle Sabban-Allali
Vice-President of the Regional Council of Ile de France

Ms. Tokia Saïfi
Secretary of State of Sustainable Development

Ms. Forough SALAMI
Regional Councillor of Bretagne

Ms. Djamila SONZOGNI
Regional Concuillor of Alsace

Ms. Margie SUDRE
European parliament

M. Fodé SYLLA
European parliament

M. Hosny Trabelsi
Assistant mayor of Brest (main town in Britanny)

M. Kofi YAMGNANE
nicknamed the "Black Celt", elected and reelected mayor of a 100% white town in Britanny, in 1989 and 1995, then elected député in 1997, and has now been appointed by the Prime Minister as a member of the High Council of International Cooperation.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 01:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, thanks! How did you compile the list?
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 08:46:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd love to answer your questions objectively, but they perpetuate the (false) notion that representation (or non-representation) of a particular race, can be used to measure racism. A good example of a question in return would be: how many people in France are black and are actual candidates as mayor?

Incidently, in the U.S. the above would be considered a racist comment.

by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which part?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every part.
by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:23:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it is broadly accepted here that lack of representation by a minority in a given endeavor demonstrates underlying discrimination. And to argue otherwise is interpreted as a statement that there is something lacking on the part of the minority.

For example, if there are no minority mayors, one may argue that it's because there are no minority mayoral candidates. But then the question is why are there no such candidates? Lack of education? Then schools are racist. Lack of ambition? But why are minority small businessmen successful? Lack of supporting voters? Well, why won't the voters vote for a black, or a Muslim?

It is not the fault of the minority that they suffer from lack of representation, or jobs, or schooling, it is structural racism that prevents them from taking their rightful and proper place in society. Therefore, if they are not taking said place, then the society is practising discrimination, and if the minority is identifiable by race, then racism.

by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might be true if the minority is established. However, if (for instance) you ask how many Polish councillors there are in Ireland, you'll be told none.  Is that a sign of racism? It's generally second and third generation immigrants that start integrating into the political structure like that. There's a difference between long-establised minorities and newly established ones.

Interestingly, there's been a concerted effort by some of the parties here to speed that up, partially because our immigrants are mostly EU and thus have voting rights in local elections.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:44:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if that's the case or not. Certainly there have been a lot of undocumented workers demonstrating in the U.S. recently, and they are by definition first generation immigrants because if they're born here they're automatically citizens.
by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:47:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that makes them second generation. But I could be wrong. That's what I meant by second generation anyway: the children of immigrants. Which means that they're not immigrant of course. Must fix phrasing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:49:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. I completely misunderstood you. Ignore my last comment.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 12:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidently, in the U.S. the above would be considered a racist comment.

In Europe your statement on my statement would be considered interesting.

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 01:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidently, in the U.S. the above would be considered a racist comment.

I supposed I could have added "how many of them are charismatic", or "how many of them are convincing", or "how many of them have a sound program", or "how many of them are candidates within parties with an actual chance" ...

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 02:29:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All of which come across as racist in the US discourse.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 03:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just found out by chance that the polling agency, CSA, that conducted the poll you highlight in this diary did a poll used in the annual 2005 report by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l'Homme (CNCDH) (National comission on human rights in France) that found  one in three French declare themselves as raciste, an 8% increase from last year. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of 1011 people in mid november 2005 and thus was probably also influence by the riots of last fall. For more in French here are two articles:
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3226,36-752993@51-730637,0.html
http://www.afrik.com/article9635.html
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, firstly he does not say what you claim he says. He did not say that there was no racism in Europe/France/whatever.

Secondly - and this isn't entirely relevant to your comment - I am getting increasingly short-tempered with Americans who expect Europeans to have the same view on racial issues that they do.

Let's be very clear: the US and Europe do not have the same race issues.

Drawing comparisons between the treatment of US blacks and EU blacks is inappropriate: I suspect that the correct comparison would be the immigrant Hispanic population. I've got to the stage where I'm beginning to  believe a lot of Americans want Europe to be racist in the same way as the US so that they can feel better about the US.

Europe has its problems on this, and they're significant problems, but they're the problems of relatively recent immigration, not of the two hundred year old remnants of a slave state. Conflating European racism with US racism is unhelpful: what do you then do with racism against white East Europeans in Ireland? It's not because they're darker in complexion, it's because they're different and new and change is threatening and it's always easy to blame the new guy for everything.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:43:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree you can't transfer the US understanding of race relations into the EU context without great misunderstanding.

The framework within which to understand racism in the European context (and I think there are great variations across EU countries) is colonialism and immigration the two are often related but not always (for example France's immigrants from Algeria or Senegal are both part of the French history of immigration and colonialism).

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:01:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its massively complicated: the Irish reaction is conditioned by Irish experiences abroad and our history of colonialism in ways I don't even begin to understand. It's also mixed up with class and socio-economic position in complicated ways.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe's problems with racism are "the problems of relatively recent immigration"? How do you figure that? 1000 years of trouble with the "Moors" in Spain doesn't have anything to do with it? Britain's conquering India 200 years ago and luring South Asians to come over to be exploited doesn't have anything to do with it? France's ambiguous relationship with the remains of her African colonial empire doesn't have anything to do with it?
by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You missed the coolies smoking opium down the docks.

For most Europeans other races were only a rumour until 50 years ago or so: we had our hands full being racist against the guy three fields away. And of course colonialism has an influence and colours the issue. That still doesn't mean that the issues are the same.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the issues aren't even homogenous. Different member states have different racisms against different groups for slightly different historical and sociological reasons.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:24:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
exactly.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:26:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should add this doesn't make the racism or discrimination any less virulent unfortunately.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:30:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 11:37:06 AM EST
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Also maybe part of the problem is that I have no idea what you mean by "refluxes of racism." Perhaps there is a linguistic issue at play here.
by asdf on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:12:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think by "reflux" Alex may mean "ebb" as in "ebb and flow" = "flujo y reflujo" (in Spanish: I expect something similar in French).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"reflux of discrimination" was my attempt to translate the expression "relent de discrimination" in French.

A "relent" in this expression is a foul smell in your mouth which makes you feel like vomiting, something you don't really control, which goes and comes back (particularly after a night of heavy drinking for example)

by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:25:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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