June 17, 2008

Obama and Black People in France

france1.jpgI'm blogging a lot about Obama these days. The truth is that whether you like him or not, his candidacy and his status as the first black nominee of the Democratic Party are having repercussions around the world, and he will continue to change the national dialogue not just for African Americans but for all minorities all over the world.

Today, the New York Times printed an article about Obama's influence in France. Evidently black people in France are inspired by his candidacy and are beginning to assert themselves culturally.

It was funny because I read this paragraph:
A new black consciousness is emerging in France, lately hastened by, of all things, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States. An article in Le Monde a few days ago described how Mr. Obama is “stirring up high hopes” among blacks here. Even seeing the word “noir” (“black”) in a French newspaper was an occasion for surprise until recently.

and was thinking that it was purely intellectual and questioning, kind of like the way we privileged, middle class Asian Americans are emerging. Then I read
Meanwhile, this past weekend, 60 cars were burned and some 50 young people scuffled with police and firemen, injuring several of them, in a poor minority suburb of Vitry-le-Fran├žois, in the Marne region of northeast France.

Wow.

I hate to say it, but France and Europe may need this kind of action. They've never had a civil rights movement, and a lot of racism in Europe just simmers. Take, for example, soccer. There is so much racism in European soccer, and so little of it goes unchallenged. See this video:


I can't imagine this sort of thing continuing unchanged if the "leader of the free world" is black.

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