Let’s Unpack Some Stuff Before We Go to France

 I’ve had a few people “warn” me about France. 

“They have the same issues we have and there are places that are just as racist as any place here.”

Maybe. 

I know racism exists everywhere. I don’t know that it’s ingrained in the French culture the way it is here in ours. We were built on racism. This country was literally stolen by white men from non-white people, then built on the backs of slaves; first the indigenous flavor, then they started importing the African variety. 

When that’s the foundation for a nation it’s hard to be out-racismed. 

And in case you still think they’re both the same, consider that time the United States asked the French to treat African American soldiers like, well, like America did

So yeah, I am sure there will be incidents of racism aplenty there,  but I have a tough time imagining someone driving out of their way to find a supermarket full of people of another race just to mow them down with a firearm. 

The other thing people like warning me about is the attitude of Parisians. I’ve talked about this in other posts, but I will say it again – I love how direct, even blunt, Parisians can be. That is my jam. No wondering if someone means what they say, no bullshit frivolities. I am looking forward to it. 

“You know, you won’t get to vote.”

Yeah. But I take solace in the knowledge that the French are an engaged people. That a bad day of voter turnout (72%) is better than the best day in the US (66%). They protest and they vote. Because they understand that those are two sides of the same coin in a democracy. That is why they have some of the strongest societal protections in the world. 

And before you get all “socialism this, socialism that,” just remember that socialism is nothing more than an allocation of tax dollars to pay for things. In the US the bulk of that goes to the military so, you can think of the US military as the largest socialist program in the world. In France those tax dollars go to programs that benefit the most citizens; infrastructure and healthcare for example. 

So even though I won’t get to vote, I have a lot more faith that the people of France will be less inclined to elect a shithead who would dehumanize me. 

I think France will suit me just fine. I just wonder if I’ll ever want to come back.

 


 


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