0405 Race Relations in France (Fra 030—new)

Sannois Travel Blog

 › entry 30 of 201 › view all entries

I continue on west to Sannois where I follow a misleading sign that points the way to downtown, but it actually leads me to a rather boring semi-industrial strip west of the freeway…


I finally make my way back across the freeway to downtown Sannois which feels fairly urban with high rise apartments, busy streets and a particularly flowery Mairie.


Over these last few days, I’ve been trying to keep my eyes open for clues to what’s really going on here in France in terms of the relationship between those of French ancestry and those of immigrant ancestry.

  I’ve heard so many times, in the media and from folks in Morocco about how “racist” France is and how Africans and Arabs have been herded into ghettos and not blocked from getting decent jobs.   Now as I walk through dozens of French towns, I hope to discover for myself if  this is true or not.


Quite frankly, in the last 30 suburbs that I’ve explored over the last week, I simply haven’t found that to be true.  In almost every suburb I’ve seen both native French and immigrants living, working, studying and socializing together--  I’ve seen native French even in the grittier suburbs, and I’ve seen immigrants living in the upscale ones.  I’ve seen a number of well dressed Arabs and Africans who clearly hold good jobs and I’ve picked up a lot of good vibes in the interaction between people of different races.


I’m not denying that racism exists--  I know that it is a bit harder for someone with, say, a Muslim name to get certain jobs or rent an apartment in certain neighborhoods… but the large scale discrimination and ghettoization that France is often accused of, quite frankly, I haven’t been seeing it.


This is something I ponder as I wander up and down the streets of Sannois… It’s a topic I’m sure I’ll come back to as I get new insights into this issue (see also my Paris and Bagnolet entries…) but for now I just have to admit, I’m pleasantly surprised at what I’ve been observing…

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photo by: nathanphil