International

Macron worries about ‘racialised’ French society

French president Emmanuel Macron looks on during the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France in partnership with youth and civil society, at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris on June 30, 2021. - The Forum kicked off in Mexico City in March and ends in Paris from June 30 to July 2, 2021, launching a series of actions for gender equality. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

French president Emmanuel Macron looks on during the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France in partnership with youth and civil society, at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris on June 30, 2021. - The Forum kicked off in Mexico City in March and ends in Paris from June 30 to July 2, 2021, launching a series of actions for gender equality. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

French society is becoming increasingly “racialised”, French President Emmanuel Macron has warned in comments that blamed imported U.S. social science ideas that focus on race.

“I see that our society is becoming progressively racialised,” Mr. Macron told Elle magazine in an interview. He took aim in particular at the idea of “intersectionality” — popular among left-leaning U.S. academics — that seeks to explain discrimination and poverty by examining the role played by race and gender in affecting an individual’s life chances.

“The logic of intersectionality fractures everything,” Mr. Macron said.

“I stand for universalism. I don’t agree with a fight that reduces everyone to their identity or their particularity,” he continued.

“Social difficulties are not only explained by gender and the colour of your skin, but also by social inequalities.”

He added that he could think of young white men in his hometown of Amiens or nearby Saint-Quentin in northern France “who also have immense difficulties, for different reasons, in finding a job”.

Movements against racism over the last year such as Black Lives Matter, which resonated in France after arriving from the U.S., have led to fears among some critics that the country is importing American racial and identity politics sometimes labelled as “woke culture.”

A new generation of younger French activists are increasingly vocal in denouncing the problem of racism in France and the legacy of the country’s colonial past in Africa and the West Asia.

Their opponents see the focus on race and the past as opening up unnecessary divisions and encouraging a culture in which minorities and women see themselves as constantly oppressed and discriminated against.

Mr. Macron also promised to do more to combat domestic violence and women’s health problems such as endometriosis.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 7:38:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/macron-worries-about-racialised-french-society/article35085518.ece