I have been pretty much amazed by how one of the first world countries; France, deals with immigrants. France is not dealing with what I think is the cause of the the isolation of some by mainstream culture..."Minorities" in France are not "French", because to be French is to cease to be many things in favor of "Frenchness" (what it is only those very proud french would know). To understand one self as "French" one should abandon whatever is not French...And of course that might be anything that might be "unacceptable" by "French" standards. Let's say that the most recognizable trait of "unfrechness" is to be poor... "Mais oui!" might say some...not understanding that integration consists in being flexible about the way oneself, (french), or one's culture (French) might change when there are immigrants...Difficult topic in deed, moreover when French have resisted even integration to "equal" Europeans, in the European Union, by the fear of loosing the frenchness.
I ask my self: Is it possible to be "minority" and French at the same time? "Mais oui!" might say some... But the reality says otherwise. During the early construction of the city states in Europe's late middle ages, in Paris was illegal for many to wear clothes that belonged to the few that had the power: wigs and moles! Mon dieu! Yes! At early stages of "frenchness" development those that decided who belonged and how did not, did it based on how far from muddy environments was the individual...not much has changed...and frenchness is still defined by "the location on the mole on the face"!. Social Mobility is regarded as a European right: for some europeans...and almost inexistant for those who are not. A good book about this topic.
Social Mobility for minorities (non french individuals) is not part of the idea of "frenchness". It might have it's exceptions, of course...but France is failing to offer that possibility to many.. I'm afraid that is the case in many day to day situations against what logic might say. (E.G.:age is one of the most common elements in labor selection: age discrimination is perfectly OK for employees in France,contributing to classism within european citizens). And let's keep in mind that a resume has to offer the very specific schools that only some attend being born in european territory: not very open for integration of minorities. Affirmative action anybody? I love some of the "french" traits...but to marry that perspective of "rightness" to the point of killing rationality, and succumbing to neglect real inequalities?
Rioting by some rebellious minorities, is of course fuel for the antimmigration policies. Silly silly immigrants (sans papiers) if they think that using violence anything will change in their favor.
Now,the burden is in France's government as director of "justice" and "frenchness". Are those good values that make part of the french identity going to spoils for keeping the "Frenchmen" away from the reality that the many non French experience in France? Why is it that Minorities in the US or other European cities don't go on a rampage for lack of opportunities? May be because there are options to achieve social mobility through effort or maybe not...
My point is: cultural identity has to do with the level of integration of one self and others to a common idea. Cultural identity is a construct of a group in relation to other. Men to Women, child to adult, Frech to non French...In that sense when an identity is in conflict with other identity might be for the lack of possibilities of integration, and lack of balance. Any effort to extinguish the conflict by hiding symptoms rather than attack the cause is futile.
The following is a series of reports on the state of affairs with Minorities in France form the BBC:
"In 2002 Abdel and Mohamed Djaiziri bought a small supermarket chain in one of bleakest of these estates, Les Pyramides - named after one of Paris' glitziest areas.
The Tunisian brothers then did a fateful thing. They turned the supermarket, affiliated to the Franprix chain, into a halal shop.
It was purely a business a decision, they insist: In a predominantly Muslim area, there was no point stocking pork or alcohol that would stay on the shelf.
"When a shopkeeper has a range of 15,000 products available to him, he will choose those that will sell," Abdel Djaiziri said in a recent interview."
But the mayor felt the move contributed to creating a ghetto by making life difficult for non-Muslims, and tried to get the store closed on health grounds."
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- corazon roto
- the bagel and you
- Bjork drunk and loving cats
- Guilt therefore drama
- Noses and stuff
- Can you hear me?
- So beautiful!
- lola and chia duermen
- Simple yet complex
- the current system of freedom and slavery
- Minneapolis the most fun city in the USA, EVER!
- The good samaritan
- War, money, and religion
- Slow down
- The Swiss, yummy!
- burning Paris every once in a while
- art, peace at the top
- Cartography as a tool of domination
- What's stronger: Jaws or brains?
- The dragon and the little cricket
- Rivers of silver and bood
- ohhh so pretty!
- ▼ Jan 2006 (25)