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Barack Obama Bringing Hope for Change to France

Black youth in France are catching a case of Barack Obama’s contagious brand of hope.

In today’s New York Times, blacks in France share how local coverage of the first black nominee from a major American party brings the taboo topic of race back into the French consciousness. One shared that seeing the word “noir” (black) appear in newspapers was an uncommon sight.

The story illustrates how each society deals with its own set of race relations differently. In France, it is against rules to conduct surveys according to race, thus leaving no relevant statistics (France doesn’t even know officially how many Africans are among its citizens). French society’s somewhat strained colorblindness tends to ignore issues that need full airing.

The most persuasive evidence of unrest — clashes with authorities and car burnings coming from minority suburbs — suggest it’s time for France to do some soul searching. But an emerging black consciousness appears in other forms too: daily conversation, books, music.

French black activists argue that just because the government says everyone is equal, reality does not follow. Now, a national discussion of the American Barack Obama might ignite an internal discussion about race in France, closing some of the information gaps brought on by imposed silence. Is it better to be conscious or unconscious of race?

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snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 9 years
that is part of stephen colbert's funny persona, and i guess he is making fun of people who make that claim. i do know a girl who claims that she doesn't see race and sometimes cannot remember what her friends look like including their ethnicity, i guess it could be true..
MindayH MindayH 9 years
Personally I do not think America is the right country to look to in addressing racism. Having a presidential candidate that is black is a start, but I don't think that we are an example. About people saying that they don't see color - I think that they mean that they don't see color as something that makes someone different.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
YAY! CHICAGO!
janneth janneth 9 years
France just ignores its racial troubles. The majority are so into a nationalistic cultural chauvinism. French food, music, movies, language are all considered to be superieure. But I wonder if membership in the EU will somehow make them address these issues concerning their immigrants.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
so jealous. not fair.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Are you kidding he eats’ like a horse. He's the one that's blessed with a fast metabolism mine moves slower than molasses.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Hush puppies are awesome. Hypno I imagine your diet must be pretty restrictive to stay that buff. And I cannot even IMAGINE the disciplne your honey has. I'm amazed at people who can be that disciplined when it comes to food. Unless he's just juicing all day... ;)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Oh I see. Pride here in S.F. is the same weekend. I'll be coming to Chicago in September for a week.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Chicago. It was last weekend. 2 weeks it's the Pride Parade and I am also cooking for that. I have no idea why I am cooking so much -when we all know its too hot to cook.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Here? Where is here?
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I made it for some friends at the PR fest/parade here last weekend.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Mmm I havn't had that in about twenty years.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Funny you said that, I made hush puppies this weekend with green tomatoes.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well I guess so before you roll me in corn meal and make a hush puppy out of me, LOL!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Not at all Hypo. I guess you have to have watch the show to really see the conversation and how it played out.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I would never suggest Oprah was slow or stupid because she is not. I'm a huge Oprah fan and she is one of the hero's on my web page so you're preaching to the choir sister. You are right I can't contextualize what every one is saying which again is why I am giving an opinion based on the excerpt that liliblue provided. I'm just surprised coming from her history and intellectual position that she would respond that way which led me to believe that maybe(she) did not understand the context of the statement.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
You can’t contextualize what someone else says or how they feel. If someone said something to each of us at the exact same time: you may take what they said totally different than how I perceived what they said. To know someone’s true intent is as simple as asking them a question on what they think and or feel about something. You can’t say Oprah was slow or stupid in this instance unless you know what the audience member meant and she did explain herself and not the viewpoint as you see when you categorized all Whites feel a certain way. I understood the use of Whites meaning all since you were not particular in your use or definition. Hypo, I understand your viewpoint as a man of color; however, that is not the majority and not a whole. I just think some people have different experience and I know I have as a woman of color.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
You can’t contextualize what someone else says or how they feel. If someone said something to each of us at the exact same time: you may take what they said totally different than how I perceived what they said. To know someone’s true intent is as simple as asking them a question on what they think and or feel about something. You can’t say Oprah was slow or stupid in this instance unless you know what the audience member meant and she did explain herself and not the viewpoint as you see when you categorized all Whites feel a certain way. I understood the use of Whites meaning all since you were not particular in your use or definition. Hypo, I understand your viewpoint as a man of color; however, that is not the majority and not a whole. I just think some people have different experience and I know I have as a woman of color.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
bellaressa I do take into consideration that not every piece is the same. There is always a majority and a minority. I'm just going by my experience as a man of color and my life experience of experiencing other peoples opinions and views. As I stated above it is only my opinion.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
To say that all people who say they are color blind in this context of Whites is a generalization. Since at the time we do not know what they meant unless you hear the context or you ask them what it means you can not assume. What means one thing to you may not be the same definition for others. Some people who say they color blind actually mean they do not see color: I have a few friends who quote this like their mantra, are they right or wrong, who am I to say. All I know is you can’t always assume.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Black as in culture and heritage is fine. The point is racial discrimination, to be of the mind set that because Oprah's skin is black she is less than I. In my opinion the point Whites are referring to when they say they are color blind is not suggesting that they don't see Oprah’s heritage or are blind to her culture. They are saying the color of her skin is a neutral point neither bad nor good.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
She told Oprah "she didn't see her as black". Like it or not our race/color shapes some of our experiences in and perceptions of the world. Would seeing Oprah as black be a bad thing? If so, why?
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
Kris, that made me so sad. :(
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
If Oprah didn't get that than she must have had an intellectual burp or something.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
That is a good point you brought up liliblu. For me it's not about being necessarily color blind. I think that when a white says they are color blind they are not negating the fact of culture and heritage. I believe what they're saying is that you are my equal and the color your skin neither makes you inferior nor superior to me.
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