With Harvard holding its first black-only graduation this year and various schools creating black only dorms and safe spaces, “separate but equal” seems to be on the resurgence in America (something I wrote about ten years ago). However, Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has stood firm against all forms of discrimination and barred the black feminist festival in the French capital because it is “prohibited to white people.” She said that racial discrimination in any form or for any purpose will not be tolerated.
This was to be the first Nyansapo Festival and would have July 28-30 at a cultural centre in Paris as “an event rooted in black feminism, activism, and on a European scale.” Nyansapo means “wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience.” In this case, it also means segregation on the basis of race.
We have spent years discussing the horrific rollback on free speech in France
. However, on the issue of discrimination, the French remain firm and have taken a decidedly different view from many in the United States. The event was called “an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race”. The International League against Racism and Antisemitism even declared “Rosa Parks would be turning in her grave.”
Yet, many academics and students in the United States are readily embracing segregated housing, schools, graduations, and even recreation on the basis of race or gender. Just as this country is right about free speech, I share the view of the French on the widening efforts to embrace segregation as a positive tool for group identity in our schools.
What do you think?