Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Immigration and Minorities in France.

A pretty good article in today's Herald Tribune on the problem of integration of minorities in France:
The right wing, which advocates a "chosen immigration," and the left, which anticipates a "disposable immigration," share a firm belief in French Républicanisme, a social contract that owes much to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's fantasy of an irresistible general will overcoming particular interest.
Républicanisme, the French ideological equivalent of the American dream, proposes that a universal citizen, abstracted from social and economic conditions (whether residential, religious or racial), engages in a direct relationship with the state. It reciprocates by playing down the role of such identities in the political process. In so doing, the state rejects what it perceives as political balkanization and identity politics as incompatible with the realization of the common good.
The main flaw of this near-sacrosanct ideal of Républicanisme is that it inhibits the use of antidiscrimination laws. Even while studies repeatedly reveal widespread discrimination in France, few people are motivated to seek legal redress.
The frustration and resentment expressed by French minorities is largely caused by the contradiction between a fantasized equality and real-life discrimination.


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