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November 6, 2018 / Congau

Raceless France

The French have done it again. They have made a law against a word in an apparent effort to make their citizens not talk about what they already think about. The word is “race”. It has now been removed from the French constitution by omniscient MPs who can explain that the concept doesn’t exist anyway.

There are no races in the scientific sense, that much is true. Mankind is not strictly divided into different biological categories like dogs and other beasts. There is actually (meaning scientifically) only one human race. Very good, but who says that that is what we are talking about when using the word “race”?

There is an obvious difference in people’s outward appearance and any time we notice general differences and similarities, we naturally tend to categorize. “Redheads” and “blue objects” are categories whether or not they have any scientific basis. Many categorizations that we make are completely irrelevant for the true nature of the thing, but we still instinctively make them.

Now, the original wording of the French constitution was meant to protect against a certain irrelevant category becoming relevant. It stated that citizens are equal before the law “regardless of race, origin or religion,” but now that this first category has been removed, this particular protection doesn’t exist anymore. Is it then expected that people immediately will stop making classifications based on racial appearance and thereby cease to discriminate on such grounds?

Anyone, even the most liberal minded, notices if a person is white or black. It couldn’t be scientifically measured or even defined in absolute terms, but there is something and we notice it. Sadly, this difference has often been the cause of discrimination and it makes sense to have a law that protects against this particular behavior.

It has been argued that the faulty idea of race is already found in other terms that are supposedly more real, like “origin” or “ethnicity”, but that is clearly not the case. If a black person in France suffers discrimination because of his skin color, it is not actually caused by his origin or ethnicity, as he could be perfectly ethnic French and having lived all his life in France.

If there is no race, racial discrimination is not possible. That sounds logical enough, but it’s just a sophistic game of definition. There may be no race in the scientific sense, but there is something we all know about and this something shouldn’t be a subject for discrimination. This something, a general difference in outward appearance between human beings, exists and since we notice it, we should also be allowed to talk about it. Except in France, of course…

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