Sunday, 15 May 2011
What makes a beautiful city aka... are the 'French' Racists?
The reason I ask this is not only because of recent incidents that have been reported in the news - but also because of a conversation I had with a friend ( who is French ) who - after telling me how terribly racist French people are towards black people – Paris being the worst offender – then ended her point by saying what a beautiful city it was!.
I felt the need to disagree with her in that in my opinion any city which is as racist as that could never be described as a beautiful city… in fact... quite the opposite.
It made me think though about what really does constitute a beautiful city. Is it the architecture? is it the people?...what? I tend to lean towards the view that people are what make places great – however – people can also make places very ugly –look at the Middle East.
If we say it’s people who make a city beautiful – and we accept that attitudes among the majority of the French are extremely racist then what does that say exactly... and why then do we still 'oo la la' about France?
Personally I’ve felt the ‘*French’ are racist ever since I was about nine…ish. I went to France as part of a student exchange trip and it was awful... The best part of the trip was the first morning after arrival where I woke up opened the shutters and was welcomed by the most wonderful sounds of nature. That was idyllic. Nothing else was! I couldn't have a bath as it was packed with junk so I had to use the sink – there was no alternative – I was given the worst tasting pizza I’ve ever had in my life which I’m sure was topped with **snails ( the best I’ve ever tasted was in Italy!!) and when they took me out 'sightseeing'...it was at night! and... we never left the car! not-once. Need I say more?
Sure some places look stunning at night - like London for example - but let's be real.. that's not why they did it!
Did I say it was an exchange trip – oh well forget that. The parents decided their son would not be taking part - the most plausible reason as far as I was concerned (even at nine) was that they didn’t want him to stay with a black family. 30 odd years later my view on that hasn’t changed. Good luck to them.
We did have another student come to stay though. So clearly there are some French people who are not racist. A really fun boy called Lawrence. Or' La-ron' as we called him. My parents treated him as they would their own child (minus the 'licks'!!) i'm kidding!.. there were no 'licks'... he was treated extremely well – and he had a great time...we even took him around London... in the day! Wished he could stay - but alas he had to leave..
Now - the way the ‘French’ are treating black people in France is appalling. Immigrants... and tourists alike apparently...I’ve not been for a while – but I have no reason to doubt the firsthand accounts I’ve been given... I also can’t understand why so many... especially our Black Caribbean elders seem to think a shopping trip to the port of Calais is going to France!! I asked my mum once ...why??– ' Oh well I like certain things!!'... I wanted to say 'try change your taste!! – either you see France or save yourself the hasstle and go Tesco’s - but that’s another story!)
The city of love and romance??... really.. well..maybe for some
In short I think it’s time we redefined what constitutes a beautiful city. If it’s the people - then can Paris really still be honored with that title?
*there are always exceptions
**they could have bloody asked first;-)!!
humph..don't put that shite on my plate I'm from London!!! :-)