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There is also a fantasy about demography: many Americans think that, in France, Arabs have more children than other groups. Its false: as soon as the second generation, French of foreign origin have the same fertility rate as those of metropolitan origin, and the immigration flow has been very low for decades, so the first generation of immigrants doesn't represent a lot of people.

Another, belief tends to think that the children stick to their parents' culture, religion and values which, in France is not true. The re-islamization of a small part of the young French of Arab origin is a new phenomenon due to their feeling of exclusion.

I wouldn't say that integration has failed. I see more and more people from Arab origin very well integrated. That doesn't mean it's enough: too many young (and less young) people from Arab (or African) origin still face widespread discrimination and there is a lot to be done to overcome it.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 09:18:26 AM EST
Yup. Though I think I saw something indicating that second generation Arab and African immigrants have slightly more kids than the average native born, on the order of 0.1 or 0.2 children per woman.

A way of explaining it to Americans might be by analogy to immigrants in the US. Imagine Hispanics but with Hispanics numbering only half the number they do and with far lower immigration rates. Like Hispanic immigrants, Arab and African immigrants do have higher birth rates than native born Americans. Like Hispanic immigrants that drops off sharply. The gap however is smaller in both instances than with Hispanics and whites in the US, and again, the numbers are far smaller. So perhaps we can take Asians - a somewhat smaller proportion of the population than Muslims in France, but similar or higher immigration rates. Like Arabs and Muslims Asian immigrants have more kids than native born  (and like them, often more than in their native countries), though the drop off with US born Asians is even sharper than with French Muslims.  From a demographic point of view, speaking of the Arabification of France is about as absurd as speculation about an Asian majority in the US.

As far as religion goes, French Muslims are much more likely to be devout than French non-Muslims, but much less so than American Christians. That goes across the board. I'm too lazy to look it up now, but I believe fundamentalist beliefs are shared by about twenty percent of French Muslims. Twenty percent of seven percent. Sharia isn't coming to France anytime soon. And potentially violent fundamentalists are a small minority among that group. Something for the security forces to keep an eye on, but in the same way that the violent radical anti-abortion groups or white supremacist ones are something the FBI takes an interest in. That's it. One annoying public security issue among many.

What France does have is an unpleasant intersection between racism and class structure. But that should be pretty familiar to Americans. I personally believe that France should consider adopting some of the American tools against racism (affirmative action, specialized bureaus aimed at enforcing the laws against discrimination, class action lawsuits), but the reverse is also true as regards anti-poverty measures.

In general the 'Eurabia' phenomenon is racism pure and simple. We've seen it many times, applied to various groups, in both Europe and the US. Plus ca change...

by MarekNYC on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 02:13:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding to your description, it is important to note that according to studies, about half of "arab-origin" people born in France end up marrying people of another origin... Unlike most such immigrant or racial communities in the US, as far as I know.

Indeed, when police round up islamist terrorrist suspects, a significant part are converted "whites".

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 04:28:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure about that statistic. When I tried looking into it a while back it looked iffy. I can't remember the details but it had something to do with narrow definitions relating to the convolutions imposed by French restrictions on studies based on categories of race, ethnicity, or religion and thus being forced to rely on immigrant status and country of origin as proxies. In any case you actually do get fairly high rates of intermarriage among second and third generation Latinos and Asians in the US (between a third and half depending on what exactly you're looking at). Black intermarriage rates are still quite low, though rising.
by MarekNYC on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 04:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In keeping with what I guess is the spirit of Eurotrib, perhaps I should withdraw my comment and explain that all  of this stuff is actually perfectly fair, cause you know, French people do bad things, and some are racist and stuff, so everything bad said about them is true.
by MarekNYC on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 06:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come on...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 08:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry about that comment, let anger over an argument get away, and in any case I shouldn't bring a dispute from one thread over to another.
by MarekNYC on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 01:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's OK. I (as many here) appreciate your contributions and I think we shouldn't rub salt on our respective wounds.

By the way, I agree with your comment above: we have a lot to learn from each others on the racism/integration issue. However, I don't think you can easily import "tools" from a very different model. For example, it is almost impossible to implement affirmative action based on race in the French model because this is not a criterion recognised in the French society (IMHO rightly so). However, it is possible to develop affirmative action-like schemes based on social or geographical criteria. In fact we started to do so recently, but it is insufficient. And, for sure enforcing much more harshly anti-discrimination laws is possible and necessary.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 02:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please note that, before any argument on another thread, I gave your substantial comment above a 4, and am not about to take it back.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 4th, 2007 at 03:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I just have to recall ehre that reality does not matter... narratives ahve life ont heir own.. and if they perfectly fit different pieces that otherwise would break a part , theya re kept until a disonance comes...

The republcian party uses this fact all the time to present their candidates as mainstream with the help of the big media.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 04:52:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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