3rd and final part of Al Jazeera’s Black France documentary

The last episode of this series focuses on the extreme racism and discrimination black immigrants faced during times of economic hardship and through political shifts in post-World War II France.

The 1973 oil crisis quadrupled the price of oil. The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) embargoed oil exports to countries that supported Israel in the War of Yom Kippur. France, like many other western nations, was hit hard by the price increase and plummeted into a recession.

Immigrants became the band-aid solution to France’s economic problems. The government set a goal to encourage 500,000 foreigners to return to their countries. African immigrants who stayed were forced from slums into hostels where they were further segregated and ghettoised.

Opposition to immigrants festered and, by 1977, more than half of France’s citizens said they wanted to see immigration numbers decrease.

But Africans joined workers of other nationalities in protest. A four-year rent strike spread across the country’s hostels. And then in 1981, the newly elected President Francois Mitterrand promised to regularise 130,000 undocumented workers. The government shifted its focus from mass migration of unskilled labour to skills training in the former colonies.

But many questioned France’s paternalistic attitude towards the independent African nations. And despite some change, racism and hate crimes against black people escalated.

From protests and marches to music and dance, this is the story of how black people born in France fought for equality in the face of discrimination and how they used culture as a tool to empower generations.

Black France: Part one of a three-part series looking at the history of France’s black community and their long struggle for recognition.

Source: Al Jazeera

In May 2013, France’s National Assembly successfully voted on a bill to remove the words ‘race’ and ‘racial’ from the country’s penal code.

French President Francois Hollande ran on a platform promising to eliminate the word ‘race’ from France’s constitution. But critics were quick to point out the disparity between constitutional reform and actual practice.

Between one and five million French citizens claim African or Caribbean heritage. These numbers are, however, estimates, as population censuses do not recognise race.

For over a century, black immigrants, though never officially identified as different, were treated as ‘others’.

Even today, of France’s 577 members of parliament, only five are black.

This three-part series tells the story of blacks in France – a long history of segregation, racism, protest, violence, culture and community building – from the turn of the 20th century until the present day.

The first episode of this three-part series looks back on what it meant to be both black and French in the decades before France’s African colonies achieved independence.

Black Women Blogger in Europe – France 10 – Urban Travel Girl

I’m Maureen Jenkins, and I’m madly in love with my passport! Over the years, this well-worn treasure has taken this former newspaper reporter and “citizen of the world” from Montreal to Monaco, from Barcelona to Buenos Aires, from Rome to Riyadh, and many, many points in-between. Thanks to a previous corporate communications job for a global company,  a freelance food and travel writing career – and a personal bank account that’s helped keep many an airline, hotel and bed-and-breakfast in business – I’ve traveled the globe and realize that it really is a small world, after all.

A native of Chicago, I’m now happily based outside Paris, France. My motto: ”You’re never more than one flight away from an amazing adventure!”

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