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.