Not in the least, Robert Moore! My own family is as diverse as they come. On the one hand, I’m descended from immigrants to France on both sides and on the other, my extended family is neither all white nor all Christian, either. And that’s only the French side. The American side is the same.
For my part, I’m one of those multilingual folks so diversity has been my daily life since, um, birth.
I did expect a truly diverse society when I immigrated and what I found instead surprised me. It is diverse but many people are being either silenced or erased or treated as lesser than, and this has only gotten worse since the 2016 election. And yet, I lived in WA, one of the most liberal states in the union. But Seattle isn’t representative of the rest of Washington State and even Seattle isn’t exactly treating everyone the same.
As a result, I could never reconcile my idea of America with the reality of it.
Regarding the Yellow Vests protests in France, it’d take several separate pieces to unpack.
You aren’t wrong though: in France as in the US, some will always be more equal than others even though French society is very diverse. Growing up with an ethnic last name and being asked where I came from was discombobulating for a young kid. It started at kindergarten and never stopped. And then there were the teachers who kept asking whether I was sure I knew how to spell my last name, too.
When I moved to the UK in the mid-90s, no one batted an eyelid because no one cared, something I also experienced in the US and which was a huge positive. Independently of how one feels about the politician, Reagan’s famous quote is 100% accurate.
My paternal grandfather — an immigrant from Eastern Europe who obtained French citizenship through naturalization as a teenager in 1933 and served in the French army in WW2 — was always the Polish guy despite his many war medals so… 🤷♀️ My dad is often the Polish guy too even though he’s French, has never set foot in Poland, and the only word of Polish he knows is “Babka” (Grandma).
But France is finally changing. The problem is that nothing happened for years and now that we have a president who is trying to drag us into the 21st century, there’s a lot of tension and friction at all levels. There was much truth in Macron’s now infamous soundbite about the “Gaulois réfractaires” (Gauls resistant to change) but not everyone has a sense of humor, alas.
Merci for your comment!