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Although I agree to some extent with the [view] about culture and ethnicity

and not so much race . . . these groups are indeed becoming increasingly racialized. 

I'm not so sure that North Africans can pass for White that easily.


                                                                                                                       blogger Rachel Sullivan



Paris Is Burning

Or Repression of the "Fourth World"


Note to Reader: The term "fourth world " comes from a conversation I had with Amin Sharif. His view is that the term "third world" is not really appropriate to oppressed racial minorities in white countries. They do not have land which they are trying to retrieve. They suffer from being treated like the "Other" in the white man's homeland. They cannot, seemingly, be integrated, despite the pretense. This "ghettoization" was true of Fanon and others who came from the Caribbean. And this condition is true of black Americans, though they have been in America several centuries.

So Sharif argues we need to revise our theorizing, for "third world" philosophies do not speak to the needs or conditions of these fourth world peoples. Black Americans then have more in common with these racialized European populations than they have with African or Asian peoples who are still trying to recover their lands and political power over these resources. Philosophies like "black nationalism," Garveyism, Pan-African socialism would thus be relegated to the trash-bin of history, no longer relevant except as academic subjects of study.

Below are comments from the blogger Rachel Sullivan, who has been covering the Paris situation. I recommend you to take a look at what she has compiled. There are also a few excerpts from the NYTimes. . . . What is interesting in the Paris situation is that "white racism" has become such an acceptable political policy even in liberal post-war Europe, much more now a mirror of America.

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I have been blogging about racism in France on my website for the past couple months (This is one of those times where I really wish I was bilingual.).

It piqued my interest over the summer when there were several terrible apartment fires that killed many west African immigrants, in particular children.  This led me to questionwhat is going on there that all of these children are dying.  As I researched further, I did find several interesting facts that I think can add to this discussion.  

First, the French do not measure ethnicity or religion in official surveys.  It appears that they have a law akin to Propostion 54 that was proposed in California a few years ago.  This makes tracking the ethnic and religious make-up of the population nearly impossiblea great example of the flaws of the colorblind ideology.

Although I agree to some extent with the point Ben Bowser makes about this being about culture and ethnicity and not so much race in the way that Americans think of it, I think that these groups are indeed becoming increasingly racialized.  I'm not so sure that North Africans can pass for White that easily.  Even here in the US, I frequently notice the term "racial profiling" used to discuss profiling Middle Eastern Muslims. 

I also find it interesting to note that there really seems to be solidarity between the Black Africans and the North African Muslims.  The pictures I have seen very clearly show both groups protesting (However, the protests for the house fires appeared to be almost all Black). 

I know there are many eastern European immigrants in France, who are phenotypically White, and they do not seem to be facing this ghettoization and discrimination, which I think could help make this case for why race does matter. (I'm no expert on this, so maybe someone can enlighten me on this if I am wrong.) 

I also think it is important to acknowledge that the runner up in the election a few years back was a right wing extremistJean-Marie Le Pen.  He reminds me of a George Wallace like candidate, who lost by a large margin, but still had a noticeable percent of the population willing to vote for him.  

Two more points, and then I'll stop: I also think it is interesting that they have class based affirmative action but not racial or ethnic affirmative action. Clearly that model is not working.  And one last important point that I just realized yesterdayit is not immigrant youth who are rioting, for the most part it is the children of immigrants.  These are young people who have grown up in a wealthy industrialized country and expect the opportunities that come with that. . . .

PS-I have a small collection of stories about this on my website for any one interested. . . . including a few stats about unemployment and an  article that talks about the colorblind policies. 

9 Nights of Rage:

Nearly 900 vehicles were torched and 250-plus people arrested as French police desperately battled the  country's worst rioting for decades, which has now  raged for nine consecutive nights.Rachel Sullivan

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The violence has isolated the country's tough-talking, anticrime interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom some people blame for having worsened the situation with his blunt statements about "cleaning out" the "thugs" from those neighborhoods.

France has been grappling for years with growing unrest among its second- and third-generation immigrants, mostly North African Arabs, who have faced decades of high unemployment and marginalization. Critics say Mr. Sarkozy's confrontational approach has polarized the communities and the government. . . .

"We see among the rioters kids of 13 to 15, who are swept along, who are encouraged to take all the risks, and the others, the ringleaders, who are used to creating trouble - they terrorize everyone, and don't want to stop," said Franck Cannarozzo, a deputy mayor of Aulnay. "Rather than playing on their Playstations, they attack the police."

The rioting began last week in Clichy-sous-Bois after two teenagers were electrocuted when they hid in an electrical substation from the police. Local youths, who believed the police had chased the boys into the enclosure, took to the streets, setting cars on fire in protest.

"On paper we're all the same, but if your name is Mohamed, even with a good education, you can only find a job as a porter at the airport," said Kader, 23, who works at the airport. He complained that the immigrant suburbs had been neglected by the current government.Craig S. Smith, Immigrant Rioting Flares in France for Ninth Night (NYTimes, 11/5/05)

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But as the car-burning spread from Clichy-sous-Bois, the suburb where the youths died, to neighboring suburbs on Wednesday, the government expressed concern that the incident could ignite broader unrest among frustrated first- and second-generation North African immigrants, who have borne the brunt of France's economic weakness. . . .

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has seized control of the government's response from his rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, in what appears to be an effort to assuage anger in the country's North African population over Mr. Sarkozy's blunt authoritative style. Mr. Sarkozy, who had raised temperatures with tough remarks this week, did not speak Wednesday at the government's weekly question-and-answer session before the legislature. . . .

The periodic violence highlights France's failure to integrate immigrants into the country's broader society, a problem that has grown in urgency as the unemployment rate climbs. Most of the country's immigrants are housed in government-subsidized apartments on the outskirts of industrial cities. They benefit from generous welfare programs, but the government's failure to provide jobs has created a sense of disenfranchisement among the young. A highly observant form of Islam has grown popular among the mostly Muslim population.Craig S. Smith, Chirac Appeals for Calm as Violent Protests Shake Paris's Suburbs (NYTimes, 11/3/05)

posted 7 November 2005

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#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
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#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Panther Baby

A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention

By Jamal Joseph

In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring. Eddie Joseph was a high school honor student, slated to graduate early and begin college. But this was the late 1960s in Bronx’s black ghetto, and fifteen-year-old Eddie was introduced to the tenets of the Black Panther Party, which was just gaining a national foothold. By sixteen, his devotion to the cause landed him in prison on the infamous Rikers Island—charged with conspiracy as one of the Panther 21 in one of the most emblematic criminal cases of the sixties. When exonerated, Eddie—now called Jamal—became the youngest spokesperson and leader of the Panthers’ New York chapter. He joined the “revolutionary underground,” later landing back in prison. Sentenced to more than twelve years in Leavenworth, he earned three degrees there and found a new calling. He is now chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 29 March 2012 




Home  Jonathan Scott Table   Amin Sharif Table  Conversations with Kind Friends   Katrina New Orleans Flood Index

Related files:  The Fourth World and the Marxists  Paris Is Burning  Lessons from France   Letters from Young Activists  The Venezuelan Revolution   Responses to Jean Baudrillard   

The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast    Big Easy Blues  New Orleans: The American Nightmare    Black Middle Class and a Party for the Poor  The Day the Devil Has Won  Election Day Returns   Third World Traveler