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One thing that Le Canard Enchainé loves to do one in a while is unearth old newspaper articles from the 30s or other periods which show the same kind of hate for Poles as we see today for Arabs in the hard right discourse. Some language similarities are fascinating, in particular things like "they are religious fanatics, they refuse to become secular", "they are a lot more different from us this time than previous immigrants", "they stick to their own and don't want to integrate" beyond the usual they steal our jobs, our wealth, etc...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 09:04:55 AM EST
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It is probably unavoidable that we look at the situation of other people through the prism of out own experiences. The American experience with immigration was that race was a major factor in the ability of people to successfully integrate. In the late 19th C there was significant prejudice against the later European immigrants such as Poles, Eastern Jews, Italians, etc. similar to what you are describing in France during the 1930s. However, this did not prove to be a permanent situation and these groups became assimilated in a generation or two.

The situation was very different for Africans, Asians and aboriginal Americans. They were excluded from assimilation and it took the major social upheavals of the 1950-60s to begin to change the situation. The question that come to my mind about the situation of people from Africa in France is how much the perception of racial difference may be a factor. Are they simply regarded as foreigners who need to learn French culture or are they regarded as inherently alter? I don't claim to know the answer, but I'd be interested in knowing what people in France think about this.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 10:09:32 AM EST
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