Monday, April 13, 2009

French Obama.... not yet!

As we have mentioned before on this blog (here and here), Obama’s election has resulted into some soul-searching in France with regard to racial minorities and their lack of political representation.

This New York Times article sums up the real issue here: the reason why French minorities do not have access to political leadership is not racism, it is cronyism (also called “copinage” in French). Although cronyism is not exclusively French (and does exist in the U.S. - read here, or here) and the holding of leadership positions by the old guard.

Their [the French minorities’] frustration stems not from an electorate open-minded enough to vote in a gay mayor of Paris, they say, but from their own political parties, whose lack of transparency is a tool that the old guard uses to retain its grip on power.
Their situation is compounded by the absence of party primaries, with candidates selected instead “on the basis of alliances, networks and intrigue,” according to Mr. Sabeg. That disadvantages minority politicians, who lack the contacts of those who have passed through the elite colleges that forge the French governing class.


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