A few months ago, a student protests in Paris was interrupted by groups of juvenile delinquents who attacked some of the students and mostly stole some jackets, phones, MP3 players etc. A few days latter a number of kids who claimed to have taken part in the beatings were interviewed by a journalist who published an article in Le Monde exposing the racist theories of the delinquents. According to the journalist, these kids, who were from a school populated by 80% of coloured students, had planned to interrupt the protests for two reasons: to steal and to beat some white kids. The article came through as the explanation of these kids motivation but also as a description of the motivation of all the delinquents who participated in the event.
This article made a lot of noise and it was quickly followed by a petition condemning racism against white citizens launched by famous intellectuals, some of which are notoriously from the left-wing. A large number of anti-racism associations protested against this petition which some believed to be motivated by an anti-African racism.
It’s interesting to see that a first group (the delinquents) are called “racists”, by a second group (the authors of the petition), who are in turn called racists by a third group (the anti-racist associations), who, themselves are also called racists by a fourth group. This last group’s claim is that the anti racism associations, in refusing to accept that coloured kids can be racist, fail to consider them as equals and adopt instead an over-tolerant position as if members of a minority could not be anything else than victims.
Two aspects of this debate are particularly surprising: 1/ the use of the term “racist” exposes one to be called a racist right back ; 2/ some naïve minds, especially from the left-wing, believe that racism is a privilege of poor white, French, citizens.