I am not a racist

“I’m not a racist, I have many muslims/black friends”.

That’s what you hear regularly.

Well I’m not a racist but have no such friends to justify it. I’ve only had one muslim man in my private circle and I admit I wasn’t fond of him. I have never had any black friends. Maybe a few colleagues but I’m not in contact with any of them anymore.

Asians? No.

At least, I have a fair number of Jewish friends. Practicing catholic friends. Obese friends. A couple of gay friends and lesbian nieces.

None of that was a deliberate choice. When I meet someone, I believe I meet a human being, a personality, a character before anything else. Only later do I acknowledge a race, a religion, or a sexual orientation. The fact I like someone or not has no relation with its pedigree whatsoever.

But I am not a racist.

I am prejudiced against some people sometimes though… I know it’s a bad thing and I fight my preconceived judgments. I try to stay open minded but I admit I have a slightly irrational attitude of hostility or fear directed against people like… French Chinese or Russian tourists, Rom beggars, people who own a big expensive car, people who voted for Trump, people who can spend more than 5 minutes on Tik Tok, influencers, people who don’t get irony or sarcasm, people who don’t like cheese… This negative bias is completely immature and it would never ever lead to my behaving in an aggressive way.

I am not a racist.

On top of that, there are things which make me very uncomfortable or extremely angry : the new wave of tv shows featuring graphic sex scenes and nudity, messages like “Pray for Paris” ‘(which happened after the terror attacks), rap music videos ( guns, girls outfits, vocabulary… where should I begin?)… etc

BUT, I believe in freedom of speech. Unless you don’t try to incite hatred (with racist and antisemitic comments for example), you can express freely your opinions and produce any kind of art works in this country.

Agree to disagree.

The right to display Gustave Courbet’s painting The Origin of the World in any museum.

The right to protest with the members of “Manif Pour Tous”, united against gay marriage and adoption first. 

The “freedom to blaspheme”.

We, the French people, have long cherished provocation and irreverence as part of our revolutionary identity.

Freedom of speech is considered an “essential freedom” in France.  It is protected by the 1789 Declaration of Human and Civic Rights, which is incorporated by reference into the French Constitution.  It is also protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, to which France is a party.  Yet, while French law considers free speech to be an essential component of a democratic society, it is not seen as absolute.  French legislators, and French courts, seek to balance freedom of speech with other imperatives, such as other freedoms and rights, and public order. It is therefore illegal to incite others to commit a crime, even when no crime ends up being actually committed.  French law also prohibits hate speech, and speech denying or justifying the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity. 

Yesterday in France a teacher was killed.

The attack took place at about 5pm on Friday near the College du Bois d’Aulne, where the teacher taught, in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, some 30km (20 miles) north-west of central Paris. The man who beheaded the teacher waited outside the school and asked pupils to identify his target, anti-terrorism officials say. The man then posted images on social media of dead victim Samuel Paty, 47, who had shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students during a class about freedom of speech, in relation to the Charlie Hebdo case. The attacker later fired at police with an airgun before being shot dead.

Muslim leaders in France also condemned the attack. “A civilisation does not kill an innocent person, barbarism does,” Tareq Oubrou, imam of a mosque in Bordeaux, told France Inter.

What can I do, as a citizen of this country, who respects the rules of the French Republic? How should I react to the barbarism which seems to have been settling these past few years? Apart from educating my daughter about the values she needs to embrace and be open to debates, what should I teach her? How do you stay flawless and stick to examplary conduct when, on the other side, you have a mass of ignorant, unruly, violent, intolerant army members who wants to impose its own way of doing things?

I have no answer.

But still, I am not a racist.

But, just for today, I will vomit these few words hoping it eases the pain and the fear locked in my body since 15 January, 2015.

What kind of dumb piece of shit are you to believe you have the right to kill someone in this country because you feel offended by something?

What kind of monstrous beast are you to behead another human being?

What kind of illiterate individual are you to think you can make it anywhere else than in a medieval sci-fi parallel universe?

To all of you, extremists of all sorts…

I was about to add a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. on how returning hate for hate only adds deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… But next time…

27 thoughts on “I am not a racist

    1. The Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures dug something enormous out. I believe strongly in the secularism of our institutions but it seems to be conflicting with the ideology of many France dwellers – mostly muslims.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve found the subject of racism to be treated differently in the US and France. In the latter country, I’ve observed that the French have attempted to use the “color-blind” method, as well as laïcité in schools, to deal with racism. Personally, I don’t think such strategies work, but at least France has tried to address the problem institutionally, whereas the US has failed time and again to make any propositions/changes to the system for minorities. Being a minority myself, I see the injustices in my country and abroad, and while it’s important to be informed and speak about it politically, it’s also imperative to address it in our everyday interactions with people, in how we talk to and treat them. It’s by starting small that I think we can slowly change, before evolving to institutional attempts to fix the system. We’ll have to see how it pans out!


    1. I don’t think ” laïcité ” (secularism in English, right?) is a way to deal with racism at all. It’s just one of the principles our republic is built on.
      I find it respectful to consider places like schools neutral in terms of religion. For me, “In God we Trust” is highly disturbing because, if I were an American citizen and an atheist, I would feel rejected. I would feel God is imposed on me. But what if I don’t believe in any kind of Gods? Does that make me a bad citizen? A fraud?

      Thank you for commenting. Dialogue is one of the keys.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is deeply disturbing on many levels. A religious fanatic who shats in his own nest. Even dead, he will promote his vile beliefs.
    Agree to disagree? Yes! It is as simple and as complicated as that. I believe everyone is important, but in this one act, this person has done so much more harm than good. We must not give him or the act a sense of importance. We must resist the urge to hate because then he will have reached his objective: to divide people who believe in freedom and information, two very powerful forces that will prevail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The vile beliefs haven’t waited for him unfortunately… The caricatures from Charlie Hebdo’s have revealed the huge gap between some religious people and the principle of secularism of our republic.
      The social media are packed with messages saying the teacher got what he deserved. Obviously, a very little number of mad faithful lunatics would go all the way and kill, but what about the enormous number of citizen who thinks the teacher was looking for trouble…


      1. I’m afraid a FRIGHTENING big number of muslim citizens do. Or so they say on social media.
        A frightening big number of non muslim citizens were thinking before this last attack we should’t add fuel to the fire and stop showing the caricatures.
        yes the world is going nuts!


  3. Chuis d’accord. Complètement. J’ai des amis de tous bord ou à peu prés. Un musulman. (Sénégalais. On a étudié ensemble). Des Juifs, des asiatique, des latinos, bien sûr…
    Mais là? Ça passe les bornes. (Ça fait longtemps d’ailleurs que les bornes sont passées. Depuis 2015… Il aura d’ailleurs fallu 5 ans pour faire un procès, celui des lampistes. Comme toujours…)
    Et puis je pense aux nombreux amis pieds-noirs que j’ai eu. Perdus de vue depuis, mais c’est pas grave). J’étais aussi par hasard à la Ciotat, tout enfant, quand ils sont (re)venus, descendus du bateau, avec de petites valises en carton… la valise ou le cercueil… Disaient-ils… Ils avaient l’air hagard. J’ai demandé à ma mère pourquoi les dames pleuraient… Y-z-ont pas vraiment eu le choix, n’est-ce pas?
    Tout ceci va mal finir, j’en ai peur… Maintenant, il semblerait que tout le monde trimbale un couteau en France. (Même mon frère aîné de 74 ans!)
    Fais bien attention à toi…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci pour ton retour. Ça fait du bien d’avoir les impressions d’un Français (Citoyen du monde!). Je pense qu’on est les seuls à pouvoir réellement apprécier ce qui ce passe en ce moment.
      Comme un deuil. Même bien entouré, personne ne peux réellement comprendre et endurer la même douleur que la tienne.
      Je repense à mon enfance dorée, élevée dans la belle banlieue parisienne (78), fille d’ouvriers au milieu de jeunes gens de bonne famille… Je n’ai pas vraiment eu conscience de ce qu’était le raciste avant la fac (et encore, j’étais à Nanterre, alors …). On en parlait beaucoup à la télé avec les “Touche pas à mon Pote”, et plus tard la manif du 1er mai 2002 où je faisais partie des 1 million de personnes descendues dans les rues pour dire «non» à Jean-Marie Le Pen, pour la première fois qualifié au second tour de l’élection présidentielle… Putain 2002 c’est pas si vieux…
      Où est-ce qu’on a merdé pour que le racisme maintenant, tant qu’il n’est pas associé à une kalash ou un couteau de boucher, ne soit pas si inquiétant que ça…?? En écrivant ces mots, j’ai du mal à croire moi-même…

      Demain, je prends l’avion avec ma fille pour rendre visite à ma mère qui vit toujours à Marseille (classée Rouge Ecarlate au code Covid). J’ai la terrible impression de la mettre en danger en venant passer quelques jours chez elle, tout en sachant qu’elle se meurt petit à petit de ne plus nous voir depuis le confinement… Et pour la première fois de ma vie, je me surprends à planifier mon séjour par rapport aux quartiers à éviter. J’ai vécu 12 ans dans cette ville et je n’ai jamais évité quelque quartier que ce soit….
      Comme toi, je crains désormais que le pire soit à venir… Je croyais pourtant qu’avec Charlie et Le Bataclan, on avait vécu le pire.

      Merci d’être passé. Prends soin de toi aussi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Une amie à moi est née à Evry. Il y a qq temps elle a voulu revoir le quartier de son enfance. Quand un grand noir est arrivé. “Mais qu’est-ce que tu fais là Madame?” “Ben, je suis née là…” “Non, non Madame. C’est dangereux ici. Tu peux pas rester à, viens avec moi, je t’accompagne. Il faut sortir. Tu peux pas rester là…” Et doucement il l’a ramenée “dehors.”
        Le problème c’est l’angélisme entre ” ” de ceux qui on fait rentrer des immmigrés par millions pour remplacer le vote des ouvriers qui avaient “fauté” en votant Le Pen. Sans penser une seule fois à la culture et aux pays d’origine. De l’Afrique du Nord à l’Afrique noire, une procession de dictatures, de corruption, d’abaissement des femmes. Et j’en passe et des meilleures. Je sais. J’en viens. En Guinée, où nous avons vécu, peu de temps après notre départ, nos amis Français et Guinéens ont été arrêtés, certains torturés et assassinés… Les malheureux qui viennent de là-bas n’ont aucune idée de ce que c’est que la vie “Européenne” et ils sont une proie facile pour les fanatiques… (rien qu’avec ce que j’écris là, je peux être traîné en justice en France…) Pfff.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Merci de m’ouvrir une fenêtre nouvelle sur la problématique actuelle. J’aimerais que ce genre de récit facilite au contraire le dialogue et les échanges d’idées pour essayer de trouver des solutions. On n’est pas obligé d’être tous d’accord mais l’échange, la communication, le retour d’experience…. Ça devrait compter plus que ça.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oui, ce qui n’arrange pas les choses c’est la grande ignorance de beaucoup de Français à l’égard du monde. Pour commencer, combien de nos ministres parlent correctement l’Anglais?
        (Tut, tut, tut…)


      4. Et pour ta mère… Pas de bises, pas d’embrassades… Gardez un peu vos distances. Lavez-vous à fonds quand vous arrivez chez elle. Ma fille Docteur, quand elle vient prendre les “Gniares” ici, en arrivant de l’hôpital, se douche et se change. Pas de bises, et lave-toi souvent les mains… T’inquiète. Il faut faire juste un peu attention… Biz et bon séjour chez ta mère… A+

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So much to think about here. I agree: I’m not a racist either. When someone says they don’t notice the color of another person’s skin or that we shouldn’t see it, I wonder a bit about them. Of course we see the color of someone’s skin just as we see eye color, hair color, and so on. That just doesn’t define them to me. It’s merely one descriptive part of how that person looks.

    We must be able to agree to disagree civilly, to have civil conversations about subjects where we don’t share the same values, to listen with interrupting and getting angry. Otherwise we are in deep, deep trouble…as we all too often are these days. The fact that someone, many, many someones think it’s not only no wrong but absolutely right to behead or kill someone who disagrees with them is horrifying!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear I’m not the only one to share these sorts of values! When you wrote “to listen with interrupting and getting angry”… you meant WITHOUT, right?! 😉


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