“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.
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…