5 June 2008

The bastard children of France

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:23 pm by lilithhope

” “In France when you’re born poor, the whole system is set up for you to stay poor”, she says. [Faiza Guene] has called her generation of young French people born of immigrant parents the “bastard children of France”. In theory, France follows the republican model of integration where everyone is equal. But as Guène and her French teenager friends of different races went through school doors engraved with the words liberty, equality, fraternity, they realised that was a “lie”. “Young people ask themselves: why? Why can’t we have access to that? And there’s no answer. Raw, brute racism is clear, it’s easy to identify. But there’s something more subtle and dangerous, a neo-colonialist feeling that still infuses society … It’s not about racism, it’s about treating people differently.” Having foreign roots is like “a defect, a complex because we’re always being pulled back to that fact, reduced to it”. Being poor plus having foreign roots is a double smear, she says […]

She thinks the literary establishment still believes the suburbs and poor people are “not noble or interesting enough to belong to literature or fiction”. It’s fine for people from the high-rises to play football, or rap but the idea of intellectuals existing there is still taboo.

French-Algerian author Faiza Guene speaks about growing up in Seine-Sainte-Denise, Paris’ most stigmatized suburb, Verlan, and French intellectual’s stuck-up qualification of literature.