Sunday, November 06, 2005

le Racisme

There has been an element of "how do you like them apples?" running around the blogosphere, unfortunately, in connection with the French riots. Folks, it wasn't nice when people said we had it coming on 9/11, and it isn't nice for us to do the same. Regardless of cause, effect, or cure innocent people are getting hurt. No, I'm not talking about the rioters -- they deserve a good old-fashoned Malaysian caning. Especially the vicious animals that set a handicapped woman on fire.

That said, I will confess to a certain icy intellectual curiosity regarding how the French government plans to show the world (and the cowboy USA) the correct way to deal with such difficulties. Certainly their methods are different than ours, and I'm not very impressed with them. What are they going to do, wait for the high price of gasoline to curtail the available supply of Molotov cocktails?

Who knows what really started the violence. Maybe it was planned, maybe it was just the tiny spark that fell on dry tinder. The French government is largely to blame and not for the usual frequently spouted reasons. Why should anyone take a job if they can live on welfare? On the other hand, why make the effort to get a job if you know you will be turned down? For all the Europeans like to speak of American racism, they practice it a lot more than we do.

- how many high government officals in any European country have what you might call a permanent tan?
- how many mixed marriages exist in these countries?
- how many friends of different ethnicity does a typical European have?
- how many Europeans have participated in a festival or ceremony not of their own culture?

I feel this personally because I have friends in France. An interracial couple. Not even worthy of comment in good ole cowboy America ... not any more. They have had problems over there, though. They have a child, too. I wonder what the future holds for that kid. I worry. For them, and for Europe. Europe kept telling itself it was better, more intellectual, more multicultural and sensitive, not like those Americans. Somehow that translated in all the visibly foreign magically ending up in the same slums but it could not possibly be because of racism. See, they don't even keep statistics on race so it is impossible. Really.

They don't have to keep statistics. Did you know schoolchildren are examined in their proficiency and accent in French over there? Do you think perhaps a child growing up in an immigrant household might get poor marks in "proper accent"? Maybe that's why they just don't show up on the lists for the prestigious universities. Yeah, America had, and has, a problem with racism. Thing is, we know it. And we recognize it when we see it too.

J' accuse.


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