Libmonster ID: UK-1237

E. B. DEMINTSEVA

Candidate of Historical Sciences

"I am a supporter of the RepublicI respect the history of Francebut I don't want it to hide its shortcomings."

Patrick Lozes

Patrick Lozes is a French citizen, born in Porto-Novo (Dahomey, since 1975 - Republic of Benin) in 1965. His father, Gabriel Lozes, was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Benin. In 1979, the family moved to France. Patrick grew up in the suburbs of Paris. Since childhood, he was fond of medicine, received a diploma in pharmacy, then studied at a commercial school, worked in pharmacological laboratories. In the late 1980s, he began to show an interest in politics, and in 1988 he began working with Francois Bayrou, then head of the Union for French Democracy (SPD) party.

In 2003, Lozes founded the Cercle d'action pour la diversite (CAPDIV) Group, which aimed to fight discrimination, and in 2005 he created the Representative Council of Associations of" Blacks " in France and was elected its president.

In 2007, he published his first book, "We, the Blacks of France "(Nous, les Noirs de France. Paris: Ed. Danger public). A year later, he was elected to the Administrative Board of the American National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), where he heads the French branch of the organization.

In 2009, he published his second book, Les Noirs sontils des Francais a part entiere (Blacks, Are They Completely French?). Paris: Ed. Larousse). P. Lozes plays a key role in the development of public policies to combat racism and discrimination in France. In his reports at the government level and in public speeches, he repeatedly stated the need to collect so-called "ethnic statistics", which, according to the leaders of the PSACHF, will help solve the problems of "blacks".

In an interview, Patrick Lozes*, President of the Conseil representatif des associations noires de France (CRAN), talks about who the"blacks" in France are, whose interests are represented by his Council, and why he insists on the need to introduce so-called "ethnic statistics"2.


* The interview was conducted as part of the study" Africans in France", supported by the Franco-Russian Center for Humanities and Social Sciences in Moscow. The expert interview represents the police of P. Lozes and the organization he heads.

page 48

Question: In your books, you write about "blacks" in France. Can we talk about the existence of a "black community" in this country today?

Answer: I'm talking about the" black population " of France. By the term "community" I mean a group of people with their own rules, laws, or a single religion. As for the "black community", what general rules can we talk about? These are people who have different religions: they may be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or have no religion at all... If you look at this group of people, you can see that they belong to different social categories. And geographically speaking, "blacks" come to France from everywhere. Today, we can't talk about a certain "black community".

Question: When you talk about the "blacks" in France, you draw attention to the problem that unites these different people in many of their characteristics. What is the problem?

Answer: Every "black" person in France, regardless of their social status, age or education, constantly faces discrimination when applying for a job and finding housing. Until 2007, the issue of discrimination against "blacks" in France was not studied. PSACHF, with the help of the sociological agency SOFRES, conducted a study that resulted in incredible results. We asked blacks if they had experienced discrimination at least once in the past 12 months. A positive response was given by 80% of the surveyed black population in France (in the overseas territories, this figure reached 60%). These people have experienced discrimination of various kinds: aggression against them - both verbally and physically; difficulties with making purchases or renting a house; constant verification of their documents; problems with the police, government agencies and social services, with their studies, in friendships and love relationships. Their experience shows that if you are "black", then you have a different life in France from the rest of the population. You are not perceived in the same way as "white" people. With our work, we want to show that the experience experienced by French "blacks" unites them into an independent group of the population. What matters is not only how they feel about themselves, but also how society sees them. Therefore, discrimination is the main issue on which the PSACF is working.

Question: Do you think it is possible to determine when discrimination is motivated by racism and when it is related to social inequality?

Answer: I think that racism and social inequality complement each other. I'll give you an example. You want to rent a house, the person who rents it out sees you ("black" - E. D.) and refuses to surrender. This is not a social issue. There are many factors to consider here. In France, many phenomena are explained as social phenomena. I don't deny it, but there are other factors. For example, our research has shown that it is possible to be a diplomat ("black" - Ed.), live in a nice house, but even there be subjected to discrimination and racist attacks. Even people of high social standing are often victims of racism. They feel doubly victimized, because their status allows them to assume that they are protected from violence and will not face it.

Question: Are there many such examples?

Answer: Look at the security guards in supermarkets: many of them are "black". Ask them if they have degrees, and you'll find out that almost everyone has them. They can't find another job. And this is a common phenomenon in France. A few years ago, dormitories burned down in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, near the Cay de la Gare metro station. It turned out that among those who lived there, there were people who held responsible positions, even worked in the Paris City Hall, but they did not have their own housing, because no one wanted to rent apartments to them.

Question: Is there a difference in France in the manifestation of racism and discrimination against "blacks" and, for example," Arabs "or"Chinese"?

Answer: I don't think there is any "discrimination specifics". It is necessary to fight discrimination in general. But I am sure that this phenomenon itself can have differences in the situation with "black", Arab or Chinese. As for the "blacks", this is largely due to history: the times of the slave trade, colonialism; in the case of immigrants from the Maghreb countries-with issues of religion, the war in Algeria, etc. Even the stereotypes formed in connection with both are different. But it is important for us to fight against inequality and discrimination in general, even if people's actions and their background are markedly different.

Question: You have already described in a few words the history and origins of the current manifestations of racism against "blacks". Could you elaborate on this topic in more detail?

Answer: France has not stayed away from such a historical phenomenon as the slave trade. We do not forget that once upon a time Europeans could have consciously participated in such actions as the seizure of Crimea.

page 49

people into slavery. A whole hierarchical pyramid was built, with its own stereotypes, in which Europeans were at the top. In France, slavery lasted for more than one day, moreover, the so-called Black Code (Code noire) was created (introduced in 1685, a set of rules for the daily life of black slaves in the French islands. - Ed.). Today, the topic of slavery in France remains one of the most controversial in science and politics; this is the question, which they prefer to keep silent about, if possible. However, it is this historical period that has left its mark on today's attitude towards "blacks". You need to talk about your past. If you keep silent about the "unpleasant" moments of history, it will be impossible to understand much of what is happening today. The knowledge of history does not serve to accuse anyone of anything, but to explain events. I am a supporter of the Republic, I respect the history of France, but I don't want it to hide its shortcomings. You can't hide the truth that affects millions of people today.

Question: Are there many scientists studying racism and discrimination in France today?

Answer: Yes, a lot. Pap Ndiaye 3, Katrin Kotri-Vidrovic 4, Philippe Dewitt 5. That's what they write about. But the task of the PSACF is not to tell the historian what and how he should write. We recognize two ways to combat discrimination. Some other associations struggle with racism by trying to influence individuals, but this is time-consuming and usually ineffective. We are fighting against the manifestations of racism as a phenomenon. And secondly, we openly talk about those moments of history that are not mentioned.

Question: Many people associate your name with the use of the term "ethnic statistics". Could you explain why the PSACF and you, as its president, advocate the need to collect so-called "ethnic statistics"?

Answer: It is very difficult to fight a phenomenon that you don't know. In France, there are many manifestations of discrimination, and most of them are not directly directed actions. Racists don't tell you anything. They just don't give you a job because you're "black". And there is no statistical information on this issue. We advocate the collection of "ethnic statistics", but not to measure discrimination, but to identify it, to make it obvious.6 If there are no numbers, you can't do this. The question is not whether I am" for "or" against "collecting" ethnic statistics". Rather, it is necessary to raise the question of what form it will exist in.

When we founded the PSACF in 2007, the issue of "ethnic statistics" was taboo in French society. But we don't want to count ethnic groups (ethnie 7), but groups that are discriminated against. "White" and "black" are not ethnic groups. It is important for us to see discrimination and evaluate it. And show when discrimination is becoming more pronounced in French society.

I would like to mention a few criteria that we adhere to when insisting on collecting "ethnic statistics". First of all, I would like to emphasize that this happens anonymously and at the request of the interviewees, that is, you answer the question only if you want to. And, finally, you decide how to write yourself down, how you think, whether French society sees you as "black", "Arab-Maghrebin" or otherwise.8

Today we find more and more supporters of the idea of "ethnic statistics". Whether this will be implemented, we'll wait and see.


1 Here and later I will use" black " in quotation marks, although in French texts quotation marks are omitted. In France, this concept is widespread, has no negative connotations and refers to people with black skin color, regardless of citizenship and country of residence.

2 The question of the legitimacy of collecting "ethnic statistics" is now widely discussed among both politicians and scientists in France.

3 See, for example: Ndiaye P. La condition noire. Essai sur une minorite francaise, P., 2008.

4 См., например: Cotry-Vidrovitch C. L'Afrique occidentale au temps des francais: colonisateurs et colonises. 1860 - 1960. P., 1992, p. 107 - 110.

5 See, for example: Dewitte Ph. Les mouvements negres en France: 1919 - 1939, P., 1985.

6 The opposite view exists in French political and academic circles, according to which there is no reason to say that the fight against discrimination is impossible without "ethnic statistics". For more information, see: Blum A. Disputes about ethnic statistics in France - in the collection: Ethnic categories and Statistics, Moscow, 2008.

7 For more information about the use of the term "ethnie" and its controversial translation into Russian, see E. Filippova's article "Ethnic categories and Statistics in France: Notes of an outsider" - in the collection " Ethnic Categories...". I will allow myself to translate it in the text as "ethnos".

8 Since the controversy over "ethnic statistics" divides the French political and scientific community into two camps, I will quote the opposite point of view on this issue from the French sociologist and demographer A. Blum: "Respondents never identify themselves independently...; their self-identification depends on the categories established by scientists. The incompleteness of this approach is primarily due to a lack of in-depth analysis of the discrimination process itself. After all, discrimination is the result of fitting an individual into a certain category, even if this fit is ethnoracial, external in nature and only partially coincides with self-identification. Of course, discrimination is a fact that is overlooked in the individual's perception, and therefore it is partly justified to compare it with how people perceive themselves. However, this is only one aspect of discrimination, and it would be wrong to reduce the whole phenomenon to this one aspect" (Disputes about ethnic statistics in France.., p. 159).

 


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E. B. DEMINTSEVA, PATRICK LOZES ON RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION // London: British Digital Library (ELIBRARY.ORG.UK). Updated: 16.08.2023. URL: https://elibrary.org.uk/m/articles/view/-PATRICK-LOZES-ON-RACISM-AND-DISCRIMINATION (date of access: 15.04.2024).

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