Paul Sugy’s editorial: “Rama Yade promotes wokism”

In his editorial this Monday, November 22, Paul Sugy, journalist at Le Figaro, reviews the membership of former minister Rama Yade to the “woke” movement and to the American anti-racist current “Black Lives Matter”.

It is an interview with L’Express dense, in which she returns to serious subjects, in particular discrimination in hiring, facial checks or the lack of diversity among the French elites. These are all subjects on which his word is obviously useful and deserves to be heard, because both France and the United States surely have a long way to go.

But Rama Yade commits at least three serious intellectual errors, and symptomatic of the excesses of part of the anti-racist movement. The first is to defend a subjective history, competing with the “official” one taught in schools or universities, which would be allegedly false: “France has rewritten its history”, she declares, without providing any explanation. demonstration.

The second is to reason only systematically: the simple fact of being white and taking advantage of the “privileges” that this color of skin is supposed to confer on us, without spreading in public apologies, makes you a racist. Intention is no longer the fault: identity or skin color is now sufficient for that.

The third, finally, is that she finally engages in an exercise in the proper demolition of her own country, on the one hand from abroad, which to begin with is not at all elegant, and on the other hand even then. that she was ministers for three years, and in particular Secretary of State in charge of human rights. If France were, as she claims, a country where racism is systemic, then Rama Yade would be one of the first cogs of this “system”.

What Rama Yade also says is that she does not express herself as a politician or as an activist, but as a researcher. And that is perhaps the most embarrassing detail of this interview. While Rama Yade is questioned about characterized forms of lynching or censorship, in particular those denounced by former New York Times journalist Bari Weiss who denounced the lack of intellectual freedom in her profession, this is what she replies : “I am not in politics, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, I am more in the position of a researcher in international relations”.

Understand by this that his opinion on racism is not only a personal opinion or the fruit of a subjective experience, but a scientific truth. By this fact alone, Rama Yade thus places herself in a position of overhang, obviously impervious to the slightest form of criticism: her self-proclaimed title (let us recall in passing that she does not belong to the academic world but that she occupies a place of choice in a great American think tank, the Atlantic Council) is a bulwark against contradiction, a moat dug between her and the infamous plebs.

And it does not matter, moreover, that she does not appeal to anything other than her own subjectivity when she says she feels a “micro-aggression” each time she passes in front of the statue of Colbert, this in defiance of any subtlety. history on the nuanced role played by the author of the Black Code in the history of the slave trade. In fact, the only real mention that Rama Yade makes to the work of researchers is to congratulate himself that the leading figures of the woke movement (Lacan, Foucault or Derrida) are French intellectuals. We did not know that she was so invested in the promotion of Made in France! Moreover, France has also invented the parking meter and Bénabar, and it does not boast of all the rooftops.

What is surprising is that Rama Yade explicitly claimed to be part of the “woke” movement while other anti-racist activists in France do not like this word, or say that it does not really exist in France. We no longer know where to turn. It is necessary to plunge back for a moment in the history of this word, “woke”, which like all the neologisms reached in record time at a high level of media notoriety, ended up being used wrongly and to through.

As Pierre Valentin reminds us in his fascinating note published by Fondapol, the word was initially used by American rappers about ten years ago, it designates awareness, that is to say the fact of being awaken about the ethnic inequalities that persist in the United States. Soon the word was proudly taken up by activists of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Except that this movement turned into a riot, and that in France many defenders of republican universalism have started to be wary of an Americanization of the anti-racist fight. The resumption of the codes of Black Lives Matter by the movement launched by Adama Traoré had, for example, nothing reassuring. This temptation, among anti-racist or feminist activists, to fall into the same pitfalls as these movements in the United States has therefore been referred to as “woke”. To which the activists concerned have often replied that they had nothing to do with the abuses raging on the other side of the Atlantic, that France is not the United States of America. Thus Michel Wievorka proudly wrote this summer in L’Express: “No, France is not invaded by Wokism! “

To those who claimed a little too quickly that France was not sinking into the same ideological errors as the United States, Rama Yade therefore provides a powerful denial. Of which act.

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