April 16, 2024

Archive Event Highlight

Paris Event: France’s Fraught Racial Politics

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In the latest evening co-hosted by the OPC and the American Library in Paris, four seasoned journalists and an academic to discuss the country’s explosive issue of race. France’s strict color-blind policies are being severely tested: A police killing in June ignited nationwide race protests, and President Macron’s education minister this month banned girls from wearing the Muslim abaya to school. Even discussing race provokes heated arguments in France, with many French seeing America as a racist country, unlike their own, and Americans questioning whether France is ignoring the problem.


Roger Cohen, Paris Bureau Chief for the New York Times, wrote from the funeral for the police-killing victim Nahel M: “There was consensus in the crowd: If Nahel M., a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent, had been white rather than an Arab, he would not have been killed.” Read the full article.

Rokhaya Diallo, host of the podcast “Kiffe Ta Race” and Washington Post opinion columnist, wrote: “Institutional violence against minorities has been a hallmark of French life ever since the colonial era.” Read her column: “Police brutality isn’t just an American problem. It’s France’s, too

Angelique Chrisafis, Paris correspondent for The Guardian, spoke on the paper’s podcast about 2023’s “summer of grief and fury” in France. Listen here.

Guillaume Debré, Deputy head of news, TF1 Television, overseeing coverage in the evening newscast at France’s biggest private network, and author of several books on U.S. politics and France. LinkedIn profile.

Mame-Fatou Niang, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Carnegie Mellon University, and author of “Universalisme” says, “Anybody who wants to critique, to highlight the weaknesses of the system, is now accused of being separatist.” Watch the full interview.

Moderator: Vivienne Walt, Paris correspondent for TIME & Fortune Magazines, and member of the OPC Board of Governors