The French edition of 'RUE89' beg the question: Why politicians can not say "Jew" and "Arab"? Following the recent tragic events in Montauban and Toulouse policies as they can excel in verbal gymnastics. Scientist Francois Eran analyzed the situation.
The quantity and quality of neologisms impressive. Just a week editorialist Le Figaro invented the "commandos of Muslim origin," the interior minister appealed to "the Israeli community of France", the President came up with those "Muslim appearance", and the first secretary of the Socialist Party draws a line between "women Maghreb origin" and " Frenchwomen. " Whether it is a reservation or bad language, these phrases illustrate the difficulties with the definition of religion and ethnic origin of people.
But what pushes politicians and commentators to use phrases such complex language?
Director of the National Institute of Demographic Studies (Ined) Eran Francois (Francois Heran) believes that the whole reason for fear:
Part of the problem lies in the fact that, whatever the language used, to avoid criticism still will not work: some will accuse you of blindness and hypocrisy, while others will view your words as an attack on the unity of the Republic.
In addition, he notes confusion experienced by everyone who wants to define certain categories of persons based on their origin or religion (and even looks):
If you are using direct expressions and these expressions historically negative connotation, there will always be journalists, politicians and associations that are unhappy with you and accuse you of discrimination.
At the same time, if you are using veiled or descriptive expression, these disgruntled journalists, politicians and associations exist in this case! And you will fall on charges of unwillingness to accept the reality.
The search for something midway also lead to bad results. They manifested the desire to avoid embarrassing the words "Jew", "immigrant", "Arab". And excessive use of other "community", "Muslim", etc.
We turned to Francois Eran to analyze three examples who rushed into our eyes over the past few days.
1. Gean and "the Israeli community in France"
March 26 Interior Minister Claude Gean (Claude Gueant) stated the following in front of the Great Synagogue in Paris:
I have come to share the grief felt by all the Israeli community of France. This grief is shared by all the French, which I present this evening.
Analysis Francois Eran:
"I think he's just confused the words" Israeli "and" Israelites. " And also forgot that the word "Israelite" is almost out of use, because it too was extensively used during the Vichy government. It indicates a lack of historical culture.
The problem is that no one else knows what is best to say. Take, for example, an expression such as "the Jewish community." It serves to mitigate the expression "the Jews", which at the isolated use is perceived as too rough, essentialist and emotive. If you say "French Jews", it sound even better than just "the Jews."
Historian Pierre Birnbaum (Pierre Birnbaum), who has published several interesting books about anti-Semitism, has repeatedly criticized the expression "Jewish community" because it gives communitarianism.
At this point I disagree with him. The word "community" is simply playing a mitigating role. When you say "the French colony of Mexico City," indicating thereby working in Mexico, French expats, it has nothing to do with colonialism. "
2. Sarkozy faces "Muslim appearance"
March 26, Nicolas Sarkozy said in a broadcast France Info:
I remind you that two of our soldiers were … how shall I say … Muslims, at least in appearance, because one of them was a Catholic. In appearance … As they say, a noticeable difference.
Analysis Francois Eran:
"This is a very interesting example, an example of inconsistency physical appearance of the administrative or social reality: you have an Arabic name or your appearance gives your ethnicity, but in fact you are a Catholic. This causes cognitive dissonance.
A classic example of this — the descendants of slaves from the Antilles. Although they are several centuries are French citizens, they are often mistaken for black immigrants from Africa and subjected to exactly the same racial discrimination.
The discrepancy between the visible and the invisible always created problems. The Antilles, there are still sayings that show how one feature may affect the other in the case of this "dissonance". For example, a "rich black is a mulatto" — implies that the accumulation of wealth, he climbs up the social level "whiteness."
3. Aubrey and "women Maghreb origin"
March 27 Martine Aubry (Martine Aubry) said on waves of France Inter:
There are women Maghreb origin, and I do not understand why they say "woman" (…). During this quarter, and persons living Maghreb origin, and the Frenchwoman.
Analysis Francois Eran:
"Martine Aubry, apparently exclude these women from civil society. However, many people still can not understand that a person can be both an immigrant and a Frenchman. Be that as it may, more than 40% of all the generations of immigrants managed to obtain French citizenship.
Used the phrase "women Maghreb origin", she tries to avoid the words "Arabs" and "immigrants."
However, it should be noted that the majority of immigrants today are very sensitive about the term "immigrants". They can understand that, in nine cases out of ten in the public debate is the word used in the context of the indictment or as a derogatory definition.
Moreover, the word "immigrant" creates the feeling that we limit the life of one man only by his past, even if subsequently it is possible to obtain French citizenship.
In the course of our research at the National Institute of Demographic Studies, we never use the word "immigrant" because of his excessive workload.
We do not ask a person whether he is "immigrant". We ask questions about his past and the past of his family, we use words such as "home country" and "citizenship" and only then make a conclusion, "immigrant" or not in the technical sense of the word. "
4. How to become politically correct?
Francois Eran believes that political correctness, that is, ignoring racial or religious grounds, even if they are visible, — a "penance to which to aspire."
But what should you do? Should I keep myself very tactfully? Or better not to follow the words and hang labels, not worrying about the reaction of others?
Scientists believe that it all depends on the circumstances. "Find a good statement will never be easy. That is why our politicians are in such confusion when they have to improvise on the subject. They lack the linguistic resources, because most of these funds are still just does not exist. "