It’s amazing, really—this intransigent, irrational belief that the language of “colorblindness” can actually undo centuries of race-making.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-09-29 17:54Z by Steven

It’s amazing, really—this intransigent, irrational belief that the language of “colorblindness” can actually undo centuries of race-making. The French seem to believe, that through the magical power of language alone, they can talk racism into oblivion. Nevermind the fact that France spent centuries establishing racial hierarchies at home and in its colonial empire for the purpose of enriching the state. Some truly believe that words like “Republic” and “citizenship” and “indivisible” can suddenly undo processes that were produced and institutionalized over the course of four hundred years.

Crystal Fleming, “France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking,” The Huffington Post, May 7, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/crystal-fleming/frances-approach-to-fight_b_7231610.html.

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France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-09-29 17:45Z by Steven

France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking

The Huffington Post
2015-05-07

Crystal Fleming, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stony Brook University, The State University of New York

I first came to France twelve years ago during my junior year abroad. I was the first person in my family to get a passport and I could barely contain my excitement. In the winter of 2003, two years before the riots that followed the untimely deaths of 15 year old Zyed Benna and 17 year old Bouna Traore, I landed in Paris bright-eyed and bushy tailed, armed with a very shaky grasp of French and a naive fascination with this beautiful country.

As an African-American, I was vaguely aware that France did not deal with issues of race the way we do in the United States. And when I happened to forget, French white people were keen to remind me. In one of the sociology classes I took at a university in the south of France, I hesitantly raised my hand to ask a question. The white French professor had been lecturing on youth and delinquency. I asked, in my broken French, if the dynamics he described had any relation to racial or ethnic belonging. “We don’t have that kind of problem here,” he said, adding: “This isn’t the United States.” Embarrassed and flustered, I nodded and continued taking notes. After class, one of the only other black students pulled me aside: “We do have those kinds of problems here. Hang out with me and I’ll tell you about it.”…

…In France, it is illegal for the government to include race or ethnicity on the census, as doing so is framed as a violation of so-called “Republican” values, which insist that the French Republic is “indivisible” and should not be distinguished in terms of race or ethnic origin. The problem with this is that the majority population fails to acknowledge that the Republic has been making racial and ethnic distinctions for a very long time. This, too, stems from denial and ignorance. The truth is that French people who cherish dominant interpretations of “colorblind” Republicanism help maintain the racial status quo. By refusing to support the collection of statistics that could be used to generate policies and measure their effectiveness, they undermine the work of minorities and activists who are working hard to counteract the tide of Republican denial.

While some argue that France doesn’t need more data to fight racism, this almost argument is never made concerning sexism. Most people are aware that sexism exists, but it would be absurd to say: “We already know sexism exists and therefore don’t need data on gender discrimination..” Yet, this is the same kind of magical thinking that prevails in much of the so-called “anti-racist” discourse one encounters in France…

Read the entire article here.

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394. Paper Session: New Issues in Race and Identity

Posted in Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-28 02:59Z by Steven

394. Paper Session: New Issues in Race and Identity

Crossing Borders: 2015 Annual Meeting
Eastern Sociological Society
Millennium Broadway Hotel
New York, New York
2015-02-26 through 2015-03-01

Sunday, 2015-03-01, 10:15-11:45 EST (Local Time)

Presider: Vilna Bashi Treitler, Baruch College, City University of New York

  • Blacks, Latinos, Jews and Foreigners are Taking Over: How Innumeracy About Groups Shapes Public Policy Charles A. Gallagher — La Salle Uinversity
  • Limited by the Color Line: How Hypodescent Affects Responses to Mixed-Race Identity Claims Casey Lorene Stockstill — University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Siblings: the Overlooked Agents of Racial Socialization of Black/White Biracial Youth Monique Porow — Rutgers University
  • The Mulata Identity: Race, Gender, and Nation Nicole Barreto Hindert — George Mason University
  • Resurrecting Slavery: Temporal Borders, Causal Logics and Anti-racism in France Crystal Fleming — State University of New York at Stony Brook

For more information, click here.

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