Racial Discrimination in France

The only time that I have been asked when will you be going back to your country, was when i worked as a community nurse in my area, and i was nursing a elderly lady who lived on a farm with her children.To begin with they did not appreciate the fact that I was not french and it took me a few months for them to accept me, during this time one of the daughters' asked me a funny question, saying Carol, when you die surely you will go back to England to be buried as you are not french so your place isn't here.

I accepted the comment as her way of thinking, but i realised that in the future i should be respectful of the French who are in THEIR country, after all I am an immigrant.

I am apparently a bit of a mongrel myself!!! Dad told me his grandfather was a polish jew who married an irish catholic girl, but then on the other side of his family there are some french roots, mum's family were dorset farmers but in the 30's her dad came to portsmouth to work in the dock yard and her mum was gosport throgh and through, but who know what was behind there, ports are such a breeding ground for mixing genes!!!Of course I now live in France and the oh is French, thank heaven we are too old to reproduce....... as he has spanish and polish roots!!!!! Move over Heinz; My Dad always said one day eveyoone would be coffee coloured, cant wait personally as I jst go bright red in the sun. To be a mixture of cultures a crossing point of traditions is wonderful, so rich, Turkey has been a country like that, invaded by so many cultures, but how rich is their diverse culture now!!!!

You're so right Annie.

Our 2 daughters revel in their Anglo, Mauritian, Indian roots, and feel very special rather than being any lesser people.

I think that perhaps we have to accept each person for his worth, his interest to us personally and accept that it takes all sorts to make the world go round! It would just be so boring if we were all the same, no point in travelling or making new friends........I think that would be hell on earth for me! I love all the mixed traditions and cultures. someone will out me straight I'm sure but american blues has a base in scottish bagpipe music........what can I say? 1 I love and the other..........!!!!!!

Plus, as a Scot you would have been legally a dual national until 1907 when the French revoked that law. An academic in Manchester appears to have published research to show that despite the Act of Union in 1707, the Auld Alliance is still valid and includes the right of the French to Scots nationality. It appears the government of the new United Kingdoms never revoked them as commonly believed. I'm all for the French revival of the Vieille Alliance, just to keep the Sassenachs in the middle in their place ;-D

wasn't a "correction", Carol, just personal info ;-)

You're quite right about the majority! We used to live in Decazeville which saw waves of immigrant workers for the mines and steel industry and now have pretty much the same here in Carmaux.

The noblesse are even less likely to be 'pure' anything than anyone else - think of all those international dynastic marriages.

I am entirely French and also entirely Scottish, both legally and in terms of how I see myself. But I am also Corsican and Vietnamese - on the French side I have to go back 6 generations before I have a direct ancestor born in metropolitan France, & I have only one grandparent who was born in Europe. And yet they all considered themselves entirely French or Scottish.

In comparison, nobody in this commune has a long ancestry in the area. One in three of the established French population has an Italian name, there are also Spanish and Portuguese names, so with the likes of yours truly almost half of us are immediately incomers at some stage or another. The phone book has absolutely no local names in and much the same applies to immediately surrounding villages. Until the Dordogne became popular after WW2 it had had far more outmigration than many other parts of France, which is how locals were replaced. Here it is often difficult to call somebody a foreigner with impunity and possibly one of the reasons the English and Dutch particularly have been able to come here in such large numbers. Then where there are people with local origins they are often in communities where patois and occasionally Occitan is dominant and the 'French' do not care too much for them either.

Your point exactly, Carol, how many 'pure' French are there?


Thanks Brian, I'm more of the former "nook dweller" at 5'10" and a bit stocky rather than a Heron ;-)

Bird with bird then. The English name Hearne is topographical for someone residing in a nook or corner of land, or a bend in a river, from the Old English 'hyrne' and Middle English 'herne'. 'Lurking in hernes, and in lanes blinde'. Chaucer Herne in Kent and Hirn in Hampshire are examples of such descriptive placenames. As 'hern' is the Middle English for Heron, there is a possibility that the name was used as a nickname for a person resembling in some way the bird.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Hearne#ixzz2GbmYHWyp

So, would you describe yourself as having long legs and a sharp beak? ;-)

My in-laws, Carol, Father-in-law was born on the farm, you can see the farm where mother-in-law was born from his farm and the family have been there "for ever". Mouysset, their surname, is the local patois for a falcon and 90% of Mouyssets are in the Aveyron, the others having gone to Paris like so many Aveyronnais to run bistros. a few others in the Tarn and Hérault. But there are parts of France where there's been almost no mixing. One of my sister-in-laws complains that she's no longer "chez elle" as she lives 8 km from where she was born

I joked with those I worked with in Brittany that they were more British than me as my ancestors came from Normandy and theirs, obviously, from the UK!

Well said. Add Oc and Basque, then move over to the Italian, German and Flemish origin people and the blur gets simply blurrier.

Bruce, get this:

Gérard Lucotte of the Institute of Molecular Anthropology in Paris. Two of his studies examined DNA extracted from some of the hair samples conserved in the Vivant-Denon reliquary, deposited in the Bertrand Museum of Châteauroux. The hair is authenticated as belonging to the French Emperor Napoléon I by Napoléon’s own signature on a letter.

According to Lucotte’s most recent work, Napoléon I belongs to the Y-haplogroup E1b1b1c1*, as determined by the study of 10 NRY-SNPs (non-recombinant Y-single nucleotide polymorphisms). As expected, Charles Napoléon, a current collateral male descendant of Napoléon I (see chart on the left), belongs to this same Y‑haplogroup (as determined by a set of 37 non-recombinant Y-microsatellites).
Ironically for a French Emperor and proud Corsican, Napoléon I carried paternal DNA that is most typical of the so-called Moors. The haplogroup E1b1b1c1—defined by mutation M34—was found at its highest concentration in Ethiopia and in the Near East, especially among Jordanians (31%), Ethiopian Amhara (24%), Ethiopian Jews (14%), Ethiopian Wolayta, and Ethiopian Oromo (8%). Other groups with high frequency of this haplogroup live in North Africa (Algerian Kabyles 11%), the northern Fertile Crescent (Southeastern Turkish 4%), and the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen 8%). In Europe the haplogroup E1b1b1c1 is found predominantly in the south, especially in groups that have had significant gene flow from North Africa, such as Sicilians (7%), Sardinians (4%), and Southern Mainland Italians (2%). Corsicans, predictably, have a lower frequency of E1b1b1c1, only 1.4%. So while the fact that Napoléon I belongs to the haplogroup E1b1b1c1 is not surprising per se, there is more to this story.

Anyway Bruce, that is an example of an exemplary Frenchman. I do not understand a word because I am a social anthropologist and never touched any of this kind of thing. But on the racism point scoring in France it gives them grounds for being very, very careful. ;-)

Personally I think, like most European countries, the French have a confused idea about what being French actually means. There is the Republican theory that being a French citizen,makes all equal, which means that gathering information based on ethnicity is illegal, as is enacting policy targeted at any ethnic group illegal in theory, just ask the Romanies whether that is true. In the Ille de France I have experienced my old HR department of a very large company veto candidates based on their post codes, in Montpellier I saw my boss veto my preferred candidate for a post based on his name, yes it did have an "al" in it.

Here in the Languedoc what does it mean to be French? We have had wave after wave of political and economic immigration, from the Italian and Spanish economic migrants of the late 19 and early 20th century, the political refugees from the Spanish Civil War, which literally transformed the border populations, then of course the huge influx of political refugees from Algeria, both haki and pied noir, as well as a smaller scale from Morocco, as well as the ongoing economic immigration from the other side of the Med. You are now as likely to hear Polish spoken amongst pickers at the time of the vendange as you are Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese as French, the sex workers who have the misfortune of working the route nationales are more likely to speak Albanian then French.

Then there is the whole Catalan identity, which is much more cultural than the other side of the border where it is more political, but still it hardly gives a stable idea of the French identity. No wonder the French are confused. We English speakers are a drop in the Ocean in comparison.

Bruce, handle that with care. That WAS the classical anthropological view. The notion has largely been dismissed because the taxonomy does not really work now that we understand genetics which we did not when the five races theory was used. Take the Caucasoid typology, but bear in mind that we have many ways of taking that apart such as the origins of Indo-Celtic and Indo-Germanic groups in Asia, Pakistan being roughly the centre of the area. Then other Caucasians are of Farsi origin, thus Mongoloid in origin whereas others are of an Asian-East African origin, which is Arabic type peoples, thus many Spanish, Portuguese and Italians having a concentration from those gene pools might not be considered Europeans! But they are. Then we know that Napoleon's genes revealed ancestry from all over, but some 4000 back (I think, if not less) the East African gene pool, so a good example of who was not of purest European ancestry, which does not really exist. More recent work, the Leakeys and so on, show that of the human beings on our planet now the origin of all of them is in East Africa. The other groups decline and became extinct although I believe very recent research has begun to show 'Neanderthal' and other type traces in some people's genes. At present all serious research indicates there is one single race and what has developed is the outcome of concentrations of genes in particular places that align with such things as environmental and dietary adaptation to give us distinct ethnic groups. Ethnic groups and races are not the same.

So many people talk of RACIAL discrimination without understanding the word. there are only 5 races i the world......

1Mongoloid (Asian and American Indian)
2) Caucasoid (European)
3) Australoid (Australian and oceanic)
4) Negroid (east African black)
5) Capoid (south African black)

So, most French are the same race as most British. Nationality is different.

we find that, as a mixed race family, the French tend to be less 2 faced and patronising than Brits. If they have feelings about race, they are more likely to say so.


I worked in Peru on and off from 1970 until 1988. I kept a permanent room in a 'shanty town', La Planeta, with a community leader, it was built on a former municipal rubbish tip known as El Monton (the mountain) that gave off noxious, quite toxic fumes at time. I also knew the worst of the worst of the squatted settlements in the desert on the edge of Lima and have a load of photographs to remind myself, otherwise I was in a very poor village in the mountains where people came from and returned to. I also have pictures of their joyful festivals, dancing and general joie de vivre. They lived with TB widespread, malnutrition normal and so much more but they were fantastic. Their wish to succeed in having a better life won over all hardships. I have more recent pictures of some of the places. They now have solid structures instead of straw mat houses and plastic sheet tents, roads are surfaced and clean, trees are planted and obviously well looked after and even the permanent fog that made my old pictures look milky has cleared. Never once did those people give me a hard time because I was a foreigner who was obviously not poor, instead they would smile, joke and offer me their only food (I had fortunately always JUST eaten...). In Europe when we harbour prejudices, to compare with the tolerance of those people makes us look lacking in real dignity as they had all too often.

Bisengo ya mokili!

I've spent quite a long time in Zaire (at the time) and always really enjoyed it, people are splendid despite the hardships of their life.

Nicely put, Brian, I often joke that Gerald De Palmas wrote "un homme sans racines" for me!

Not forgetting that there's "anglais" and "anglais", as I wrote, most of my "anglais" has been very positive and friendly and as I am English it fits, although I can understand how it annoys Scots, Welsh, Irish, Americans etc.