France: A World of Sheer Hopelessness?As an immigrant in the United States, I have come to understand one thing about life in the Diasporas: economic break-through is impossible in the absence of societal integration. While the latter is often a two-way traffic involving both the immigrant and the government/society, the impetus lies with the immigrant to learn and understand the ways, lifestyle and culture of his/her new society. This is the beginning of wisdom, then better things will follow.
Bad policies; wrong tactics
Well, maybe it is not that easy. What is going on in France is the cumulative effect of years of bad policies and wrong tactics. The fault lies not only with the French government, but also with the first generation immigrants whose progeny have been rendered into economically impotent social infidels.
France has been living in a make-believe world where race and ethnicity are not relevant issues, and have been treated as if it does not matter or even exist.
In fact, the French government does not keep official records on race or ethnicity; they believe that theirs is a colorblind society, yet there are millions of non-European immigrants in their midst!They argue that by ignoring “race”, racism and its antecedent problems will never be an issue. The riots have exposed the naivety of the French and the shallowness of their policies.
How can any serious government intervene on socioeconomic issues of employment, crime, education, health, etc, without access to solid data on race and ethnicity?
Line of Least Resistance
On the other hand, the first generation of immigrants, particularly the Africans, towed the line of least resistance. Rather than finding ways to make meaningful inroads into their adopted society, and assimilate the style and culture of their new society to the extent necessary; many withdrew, assumed a minimalist mindset, and existed in a state of self-imposed lockdown.
Today, a sizeable portion of second and even third generation French nationals of African descent can’t even speak proper and fluent French- in a country where the natives are really fussy about their language, and always appreciate well-spoken and articulated speech.
Tell me how these folks can effect any meaningful changes in their lives? How can they set themselves free and loose from the French welfare quagmire? After many years of been trapped in urban ghettos sustaining on welfare stipends, why should it surprise anyone that these youths have resolved to throwing Molotov’s cocktails?
It is only when the immigrants are ready to challenge and change the sociopolitical dynamics of their world that their plight will begin to turn positively. Waiting for the government to act is not enough. And turning Molotov’s cocktails into shot puts is nothing but mere expressions of blind, spontaneous, adolescent rage and frustration that'll frizzle out almost as soon as it begun.
My two cents
The French immigrants should take a cue from the American civil-rights movement. The cause was successful because the artivists were smart, articulate, and well educated; they were able to learn and assimilate the ways and culture of their oppressors. This was partly what made the transition possible for blacks in America then. For the actions and foresight of those great ladies and gentlemen, immigrants like me now get to live in a better society today.
This NPR audio interview speaks well to the events in France, and sort of resonates with my view on the riots: Education and intergration for the immigrants