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Thread: Black Lives Matter in France, Too

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  1. #1
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    Post Black Lives Matter in France, Too

    Black Lives Matter in France, Too

    By THE EDITORIAL BOARDJULY 29, 2016

    The death while in police custody of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man, in a town near Paris on July 19 set off days of violent clashes between angry minorities and police officers.

    The police first claimed that Mr. Traoré had died of a heart attack. Then, after an autopsy, the authorities blamed a severe infection. Mr. Traoré’s family demanded another autopsy, saying he entered a police van alive and well, only to be found dead at the station shortly after. That autopsy suggested Mr. Traoré had died of “asphyxia” but did not indicate how.

    The episode recalled the riots that followed the deaths in October 2005 of two minority teenagers who died of electrocution in a transformer station where they had taken refuge from pursuing police officers. This time, in a new twist for France, Mr. Traoré’s death was immediately taken up under the banner of Black Lives Matter: The hashtag #BLMFrance went viral on Twitter, and protesters at a rally against police brutality and racism in Paris on Saturday chanted “Black Lives Matter” in English.

    There are important differences between the histories of race relations in the United States and in France, where racist attitudes have roots in France’s colonial past. However, that the Black Lives Matter movement resonates in France should not surprise: Multiple reports in recent years from human rights groups have detailed an entrenched culture of impunity among the French police, leading to abuses of minorities. A 2009 study indicated that individuals identified as “black” and “North African” were six to eight times more likely to be stopped by the police in Paris than whites were.

    Unfortunately, terrorist attacks have left the French government and lawmakers in no mood to call the police to account for abuses against France’s African and North African minorities. Such abuses have multiplied under France’s state of emergency, declared by President François Hollande last November after the terrorist attacks in Paris. He had promised during his 2012 campaign to end ethnic profiling by the police, and last year a Paris appeals court found the practice to be discriminatory. Even so, the Parliament last month shelved a proposal to require the police to issue a written record to individuals stopped for identity checks — a measure aimed at tracking repeated, abusive checks — after Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve argued this was no time to cast “suspicion” on the police.

    This is a dangerous argument. The Islamic State has shown it is able to exploit feelings of anger and alienation to murderous intent. Now, more than ever, the police need to build trust with minority communities by demonstrating respect for the rights of all French citizens, whatever their faith or color, and that an evenhanded application of justice makes no exceptions for the police.


    Black Lives Matter in France, Too

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    Racial politics in France and Europe has absolutely nothing to inform racial politics in the US. Non-whites in Europe are all immigrants or their descendants. Non-whites in the Americas are either descended from slaves, are native Americans or are Asian immigrants. There is a small minority of immigrants of African descent, some from other parts of the Americas where they descended from slaves. Hispanics are whites, despite propaganda claiming the opposite.
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