Empty Promises?

Public Policy Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in France

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Alec G. Hargreaves Florida State University ahargreaves@fsu.edu

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The inadequacy of government efforts to curb discrimination against postcolonial minorities, referred to in everyday discourse as “Arabs,” “Muslims,” and “blacks,” is a major weakness in French public policy, feeding resentment that contributes to violent extremism. The first part of this article presents a brief overview of the main policy frames that have been adopted towards postcolonial immigrant minorities in France. The second section examines the development of public policy against racial and ethnic discrimination, highlighting serious limitations with particular reference to police racism, ethnically-based data-gathering, and the Haute Autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l'égalité (HALDE). The third section reviews evidence documenting the high levels of discrimination experienced by racial and ethnic minorities and the ineffectiveness of efforts to combat it. The fourth offers an explanatory framework for the fitful and largely unproductive nature of those efforts.

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