Monday, November 14, 2005

We're All French Here

This post over at Armchair Capitalists is must-read-material for anyone looking for background on the French riots. I'll excerpt briefly:
This was January to July 2003 when the great debate over the veil was raging. One of my teachers, Monsieur Moysan, would take rather long digressions to rail against the evils of the veil, and how this was destroying notions of community and etc. If one wanted to retain any sort of Muslim identity, one could not be French (though getting days off for Catholic holidays was perfectly acceptable: I was much chagrined to discover that "Ascension" had nothing to do with joining the EU and everything to do with Christ's body rising to heaven). Moysan enjoyed picking on one of the three Arab students in the class, Idriss, who was not only the most intelligent member of the class, but also the most intellectually curious (and it was for this curiosity that he was mocked, but the curiosity was that of an outsider trying to figure out how the world fit together). When n=1, it is hard to draw inferences (and Moysan was from Corsica...), but...

Count this as a data point in my what's the French race situation really like model. But also, count it as a rather naked proof of how "universalism" acts as a mere cover for majoritarian norms.

Meanwhile, both D-squared Digest and Daniel Drezner point out what we're all thinking--smashing things apart and setting fire to vehicles isn't proof that the rioters are outsiders in France; if anything, it's proof they've assimilated.

No comments: