The French and Their Language
Though the French seem to see us as a bunch of crude cowboys (with George W doing his best to confirm the stereotype), I find it interesting that their approach to what we see as civil rights issues seems to be one of brute force, which is a cowboy way of solving social problems. The ruling that females could not wear a hijab in schools was a brute force way of getting people to assimilate or, at least, look like they are assimilating. I know of no place in the US that has passed a law forcing Muslim women to drop their head covering though in some places, they must take their head covering off long enough to get a driving license photo taken. That seems reasonable to me. The whole point of the photo is to allow the police to determine that people stopped for a driving violation or in connection with a driving accident are who they say they are. Of course, they would have to expose their faces to the police at the time.
I read today in my morning paper that France's lower house has approved a law that allows the government to chose which foreigners can live and work there and require them to learn French. In the US there are states that have made English the official language though our country hasn't. That is a far cry from demanding that every immigrant or imported worker learn English. We have here another example of the French doing their social engineering with brute force.
Clearly immigrants to the US who do not learn English may suffer economically from their choice since many jobs will be closed to them. But, so far, we do not make learning English a condition on living here. To my way of thinking it is the French who are the crude ones. They, at least, use crude methods to do their social engineering in regard to assimilation.
The French have a nasty streak of racism that, to my way of thinking, must be the origin of the actions of the French government toward Muslims and other persons of color. I recall that a prominent French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen complained about the multi-racial French soccer team that won the World Cup in 1998, saying that
it was "artificial to bring players from abroad and call it the French team," even though every member of the World Cup squad had been a French citizen for yearsThe French do not provide a good example to the world of how to deal with social problems. As in all things, one first must realize that there is a problem. The US realized this the day that Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor's police beat up civil rights activists in front of television cameras that broadcast it to the country and world. The French have still to recognize that they have very serious racial issues that need to be dealt with, including especially economic problems French citizens of color face. The beauty of denial is that one does not have to face facts. The problem with denial is that one will be forced to face facts at some point.