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Jerome. I'm not so sanguine as you appear to be. I moved to France and Paris in 1991 and lived in the 18th for ten years before moving to the country. As long ago as then I could see the hatred and despair on the faces of the Muslim youth. I told my French wife that this will explode some day. How many Muslims are judges in France? How many are on the police force and how many go to L'ENA?
I feel that the Muslims ( and I don't us that term to mean a religion) are far less integrated in the society than the blacks in America. Of course America is a country of immigrants and it is used to absorbing. But I don't think this is over by a long shot and I don't see the will on the part of the French to solve the problem.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 08:36:29 AM EST
A lot are in the police (and the army), and quite a few are énarques. But they become invisible. When you're énarque (or when you're an engineer or some equivalent position), your origins totally disappear - you are in, you're an énarque (or engineer), and the rest doesn't matter.

We only see those that fail, because those that integrate are invisible. Still too many fail, and we certainly must do something about it - but they are not the majority.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't realize that. Thanks.
P.S. When I get back to France I'm going to speak to my sister-in-law who is enarque to get some more details. She finished in '93.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:27:51 AM EST
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Well, the non integrated people may be invisible. What is visible (to me) are the thousands and thousands of satellite dishes on their balconies, roof tops and next to their living room windows. (Very much like in the DDR.) These folks are not only immigrants they are also after - dinner - refugees. There is something wrong when they collectively emigrate every night to watch Arab television programms. They never really left their home countries and never really arrived in France. And the kids never understood where they live.  

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:32:48 AM EST
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Yes, I'm not at all as convinced as some that these groups of immigrants will integrate into the larger society in the foreseeable future, no matter what good will and good policy is applied to the problem.

Traditionally integration of immigrants would be most problematic when the country of origin was right across the border, and the people concerned stayed rooted in their cross border culture. These days, as the parent poster noted, any country is right across the border, as this very forum is an example of. Add to that the religious identity politics, and the outlook is pretty bleak.

The question is, is there hope of a meaningful integration and a lessening of conflicts before a massive backlash, reaching deep into the moderate, and even left wing, parts of the population, provides fuel for a hardline right wing resurgence throughout Europe. Being politically correct is starting to look mighty like whistling past the graveyard these days.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Alexander G Rubio (alexander.rubio@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 11:26:26 AM EST
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Perhaps one problem is the expectation that integration will go smoothly and quickly. The history of immigrants in America is one of multiple back-and-forth trips to the old country, many people who came went back, and long-term connections with relatives and cultures that span generations. People whose families came here from Italy or Ireland in the 1930s still visit their cousins "back home." They clearly identify with their traditional culture. My grandmother kept in touch with her relatives in England 100 years after the family had come over here.

It takes a LONG TIME for people to integrate. The New World has this expectation built in, but if anything the United States is probably better at it than other places like Canada and South America where the connections to England, France, Spain, and Portugal are still very strong. For a country without the expectation of immigration as part of it's culture, the process can be expected to take even longer. Like a hundred years or so.

by asdf on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 12:26:24 PM EST
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I even think today you integrate not that slower than eighty or hundred years ago. Even if people in the old days also went back to their home country, it was much more difficult for poor people to go back then as it is today, where you can hop in the air plane anytime.

What is more difficult today is that you have more exposure mentally to the new country's culture and the old one due to the internet and communication possibilities compared to hundred years ago.

In the old day you had to accept that your are "stuck" in the new world and tried to make the best out of it. The average immigrant in the old days was most likely so poor arriving in the new country that he couldn't afford to "make a trip back home" that easily.

Today's immigrants stay culturally at home and just come physically to the new country to make some money. If they don't achieve that (and remain unemployed), but on the other hand are that well secured through a functioning social security net (like in France - at least to the point that they don't become homeless or hungry), immigrants get paralysed.

They can't go home (being ashamed to not have made money in the new world) and the can't really integrate and make it in the new world either.

So, they get pretty depressed and frustrated mentally.
It seems to me that in the old days all immigrants were finally proud to have made it in the new country and had not only integrated but often over-identified with the new country. I don't think that's so clearly the case anymore for today's immigrants from African countries into Europe.

by mimi on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:38:09 PM EST
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Today's immigrants stay culturally at home and just come physically to the new country to make some money.

This, I think, is a very common and wrong view from outside. What you perceive as staying culturally at home is most probably staying somewhere halfway between old home and new home.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 03:54:04 AM EST
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Ritter, what's wrong with watching Arab television while in France? There certainly are people who isolate themselves from those around them, but for most, what I see is people with connections to multiple cultures - and kids not not understanding where they live, but understanding more than one place.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 03:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is 'a lot'?  The answer is that nobody knows because there are no statistics as a matter of policy and law. The stuff I read concerning Sciences Po's controversial pilot affirmative action plan indicated that the numbers of blacks and arabs there before the plan was created was tiny. The first non-white prefect was only named a few years ago. If there are black or arab generals or senior police officials they never appear in the media. Back in the day Mitterrand created an affirmative action program for the working class for ENA. Sure, the grand bourgeois alumni weren't thrilled, but the left supported it on the same sort of grounds as the US left supports affirmative action here. But whenever the topic of affirmative action for non-whites comes up, the left shies away as if it were radioactive.
by MarekNYC on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 01:14:35 PM EST
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One thing to note is that the high profile posts you describe as white only are usually occupied by people fifty or older. The Arab immigration occured in the sixties and seventies mostly, and the immigrants were around twenty to thirty years old then. Their older children raised in France are maybe forty now. Quite simply, they  have not yet reached this kind of positions.


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 05:59:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm, after three hundred years one should think that the blacks of America would be finally "intergrated". It took quite a while ...

I have to admit that I just wonder why you compare apples and oranges. I think the Muslim youth that is involved in burning cars and throwing stones in France are third generation immigrants at the most. Am I wrong in that assumption?

Blacks were never immigrants to the US, they were slaves. Aside from newly immigrating blacks from the carribean and the very new and few immigrants from African countries today, I would say there are no black immigrants in the US to which you could compare the immigrant population in France. You think I am wrong?

by mimi on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 02:44:01 PM EST
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There are a moderate number of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean: about 60,000 and 80,000 per year.
by asdf on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 04:02:51 PM EST
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Since when do they immigrate from Africa in the past in these numbers.? I was aware about immigration from the Caribbeans in those numbers and also since a long time, but wouldn't have thought that 60,000 Africans came yearly to the US during the last fifty years.
by mimi on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:42:52 PM EST
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They do. Mostly it's educated people from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and a few other sub-Saharan places. It's on one of the government labor statistics pages but I can't find it right now...
by asdf on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 11:19:00 PM EST
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