comsc US Politics | AMERICAblog News: Paris rioting continues for another night - PM drags his feet
Join Email List | About us | AMERICAblog Gay
Elections | Economic Crisis | Jobs | TSA | Limbaugh | Fun Stuff

Paris rioting continues for another night - PM drags his feet

| Reddit | Tumblr | Digg | FARK

Silver-spoon-in-the-mouth and never elected Prime Minister Villepin has finally reached out to the troubled neighborhoods around Paris that have been rioting. Impressive display of leadership after riots have spread for nine nights. In a nutshell, this problem is all about racism and lack of opportunity based on race. The areas that are rioting are home to Arab, North African and African communities and these are the people who have been rejected by France though I would say you can find similar situations across Europe.

For years Europeans have loved to talk about racism in America and yes, it has been a problem and continues to be a problem. One big difference as I see it is that in the US there have been attempts to address this problem. Americans also talk about the problem whereas in Europe, it's not widely discussed or debated and people just ignore it all. Whenever I have raised the subject here, people will tell me about laws in place, blah, blah, blah but the reality is if you have color in your skin and have a name that doesn't look European, your opportunities are very limited. Nobody is asking to be given jobs but they want fairness and hope.

Earlier this year in France there was talk of having people remove their names from their resumes because it was proven that those with Arabic sounding names had a substantially lower chance of being hired. Much like in the old south, people who are note white can get lousy, low paying jobs to sweep floors but oh no, don't ask for anything more. There have been some fields where these people could rise above this (IT possibly being one) but in general there is such desperation within these poor areas because people do not see their situations improving. Especially now with the sagging economy and 10% unemployment, these are people who stand even less of a chance to get jobs and get ahead. Unemployment in these areas runs very high, often two or more times the national rate.

I'm completely against the violence but am not surprised by it. I almost wonder how it has managed to stay calm for so long because these areas just never seem to improve even after two or three generations. Without jobs and without seeing any future, this is what happens. Broadly speaking, there is no sense of understanding of the problem but what is disturbing is that Interior Minister Sarkozy previously was one of the few in government who talked about the problem but his recent comments have been very inflammatory, making each night of rioting worse.

Whenever the rioting finally stops, France and Europe are going to have to get serious and take a long hard look at their own policies and figure out how to create opportunity for everyone, regardless of name or skin color. The problem over here though is that people really hate change so change is going to take time. Villepin's nine days of foot dragging and finger pointing (with his political competitor Sarkozy) before setting a meeting with community leaders speaks volumes for the government's inability to even recognize that a major problem exists.

This is a long term problem that won't get better until somebody in government gets serious about addressing the racism.

blog comments powered by Disqus