French Word of the Day: noir (new-ar)- black
I don’t normally get political on this blog, but this event came just in time for the start of Black History Month in the States.
French Elle has published a controversial article about how black women are now becoming more “chic” because they’ve embraced the style of the “white-geoisie” (not my term).
The article appears to rely generally on thug stereotypes. A better explanation can be found here.
Although Elle has taken it down, I found it here. (Or part of it, at least.)
An open letter was sent to Le Monde entitled “When Will a Black Woman Appear on the Cover of Elle?” and can be found here in its original French.
Americans largely get labelled as racists, so I always find it interesting when things like this come from other countries. One thing the open letter criticizes is how the article focuses on the black women in America, completely ignoring the black population of France.
Some points from their talk:
- Not all of the women listed in the article as black are even black
- Styles being touted as black, such as those worn by Nicki Minaj, are worn by others (such as the Japanese)
- to say “the black community” is incorrect because there are so many different black communities
- to say “black-geoisie” instead of simply “bourgeoisie” makes them a completely different group, separating them
They point out that while the article tried to start out as showing how blacks had gained more of an equal ground, it fell into clichés that made it completely racist and shocking for 2012.
I’ve always found this tension an interesting part of modern French culture. I think a lot of times it gets ignored, but it’s always right there.