Macron warns woke culture may fracture France
PARIS • Emmanuel Macron warned against the dangers of U.s.-style woke culture in France Thursday, saying that debate in the country was becoming increasingly “racialized.”
The French president said that creeping racial and identity politics risked “fracturing” the foundations of French society.
“I see that our society is becoming progressively racialized,” Macron told Elle magazine.
In particular, he took aim at “intersectionality,” a notion popular in American academia that examines discrimination and poverty through the lens of social and political identities, such as race and gender.
“The logic of intersectionality fractures everything,” said Macron.
“I stand for universalism. I don't agree with a fight that reduces everyone to their identity or their particularity. Social difficulties are not only explained by gender and the colour of your skin, but also by social inequalities.”
The centrist 43-year-old, who is expected to run for re-election next spring, added that he could think of young white men in his hometown of Amiens or nearby Saint-quentin in northern France “who also have immense difficulties, for different reasons, in finding a job.”
Compiling racial statistics is illegal in France, which is scarred by wartime ethnic profiling and is officially colour-blind. To many scholars on race, however, this is part of a long history of denial over discrimination.
Inspired by Black Lives Matter, France has seen a string of protests over the past year denouncing racism, notably where it has been linked to cases of police brutality, and the legacy of the country's colonial past.
Critics, however, have warned against importing “woke culture” from the “Anglo-saxon” world, arguing that an obsession with race and the past traps minorities and women into seeing themselves as victims of oppression and discrimination.
Elisabeth Moreno, a black junior minister for gender equality and diversity in Macron's government, recently criticized the threat of “cancel culture” and censorship in the name of political correctness.
“The `woke' culture is something very dangerous, and we shouldn't bring it to France,” she told Bloomberg.
“Everyone should fight discrimination. You can't ask someone not to speak about a topic because the person doesn't feel legitimate. It makes no sense.” She added that she refused to be seen as successful because of her gender or race, but for her accomplishments.
She said: “French universalism means that we want to recognize people per se, not because they are women or LGBT+ or because they have a different ethnicity or whatever.”