Sun Apr 15th, 2007 at 04:17:00 AM EST
The New York Times, normally considered slightly left of center in its opinion and coverage, presents a rather stark view of the racial situation in France in its Sunday coverage of the French Presidential Election:
Unwelcome Mat One of the many housing projects, or cités, that fill the suburbs throughout France, alienate their working-class residents and fuel the debate over French egalité. This one, the Pablo Picasso, is in Nanterre, west of Paris.
I'm surprised at the choice of photos shown to lead the story, because the picture of the Pablo Picasso in Nanterre is so reminiscent of US housing projects of the '60's, now considered failures and most of which are being changed. IMO the picture attempts to give the American reader an unfairly negative picture of the banlieu by comparing it to those discredited American housing projects.
While the article points the finger of blame at the conservative party, and Sarkozy in particular
"If I could get my hands on Sarkozy, I'd kill him." I had asked Mamadou, a wiry young man wearing gray camouflage pants and a tank top, what he thought of France's former minister of the interior, who is also the right's standard-bearer in this spring's presidential elections.
, it paints an unfairly racist view of France in general:
Many residents of the cités, even those who condemned the violence, insisted that given the conditions that existed there and the brutality and racism of the police, an explosion was inevitable. And even the political establishment in France, up to and including Sarkozy, concedes that racism in employment is endemic in the country. There are data that seem to demonstrate that if your name is Mohammed or Fatima, you have less than 50 percent of the chance of being hired than you do if your name is Jean or Marie. The French Republic may proclaim its commitment to equal opportunity, but few French people believe it to be genuine.
I would not have been surprised to see this presentation in the Washington Times, for example, but this slant was a little surprising in the NY Times.
As I read, or try to read, the French news on the election, I don't see this emphasis on the issue of racism. I'm imagining there is a disconnect between the french electorate, and the way this is being presented in the Anglo-American press. But looking forward to any clarification from those that really understand the French election.