French Politics, Culture & Society
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French Politics, Culture & Society

Editor: Herrick Chapman, New York University

Volume 34 / 2016, 3 issues per volume (spring, summer, and winter)

Subjects: Contemporary French Studies, Politics, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, Cultural Studies

The journal of the Conference Group on French Politics & Society. It is jointly sponsored by the Institute of French Studies at New York University and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University

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Who is Afraid of Blacks in France? The Black Question: The Name Taboo, the Number Taboo

Louis-Georges Tin


In 2005, black people in France decided to create a national organization: the CRAN. The country had lived for decades on the myth of human rights and equality, and as a result, minorities were invisible, and were expected to remain so. Therefore, the two most important goals of the CRAN have been: to give a name, to give a figure. The taboo of the name was broken when black people decided to stand up for what they are, to call themselves "black," however unusual this might sound in French public discourse; the taboo of the figure was also broken when the CRAN decided to launch the issue of ethnic statistics in France. Until then, blacks would not exist as such in this country, and racial discrimination would remain ignored for the most part. But since this campaign was launched, ethnic statistics have become an important issue. The debate is still going on.

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