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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

On Racism in France

In a news report that no longer sounds surprising, we read that another racist attack on graves has taken place in France. However, this time it is not only the Jewish graves that have been attacked, but also some Christian and Muslim ones. From this report, one would be inclined to look for a Nazi-type group as perpetrators.

The attackers clearly had some anti-Semitic motives. However, given all the facts, I believe it is wrong to say that anti-Semitism is the only sort of racism to be found in France, or that it is a unique phenomena. It is also wrong to focus only on the anti-Semitic aspect of these attacks the way many Jewish leaders have.

Clearly, for a variety of reasons, there are racist elements in many communities in France. And the amount of healthy outrage those racists' despicable activities bring forth is a hopeful sign that France as a society takes this problem quite seriously and is quite willing to work towards solving it.

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