Black activist Angela Davis struck off name of French school for views on ‘systemic racism’

Authorities in the French capital region removed the name of American rights activist Angela Davis from a high school on the outskirts of Paris on Wednesday, arguing that her views on race relations were too radical.


Valérie Pécresse, a conservative leader in the Paris region, accused the university professor and former member of the Panthers of “fostering communitarian sentiment and encouraging violence” for his views.

Speaking to a committee in March, the right-winger also criticized Davis for her belief in the idea of ​​systemic racism, which she denied existed in France and said “some of the recent statements about France constitute question”.

She singled out a 2021 letter signed by Davis and other academics that accused the French government of having a “colonial mentality” that “is evident in French governance structures, especially in its treatment of people of color.” aspects of citizenship and immigration”.

On Wednesday, after months of disagreements with local teachers and the state education minister, the Pecles Ile-de-France regional government renamed the suburban school after another American civil rights icon, Rosa Parks.

The school administration chose Parkes “in the absence of any new proposals” under an amendment passed by the right-wing majority of the district’s standing council.

The 1,200-student facility opened in 2017 in the Saint-Denis district northeast of Paris, home to a large black community, named after the school and local mayor Angela Davis .

There has been fresh soul-searching in France over racism after the police killing of an Algerian teenager sparked violent riots and sparked allegations of racism by security forces.

read moreNew protests against police violence stem from decades of harassment and inequality


Education Secretary Pap Ndiaye, a black former academic and race relations expert, objected to the Pecles government’s move, telling her that “many schools and educational facilities take their names from broad references, which do not necessarily have any impact.”Consensus”.

He cites the communist philosopher Karl Marx or the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin as examples.

Several other schools have adopted the name of 79-year-old Angela Davis, ndiaye in a letter in April.

One such school in a northwestern suburb of Paris was vandalized during the riots that rocked France last week.

The idea of ​​”systemic racism” – institutionalized discrimination against non-whites – has been rejected by many on the French right, who see it as a problem in a theoretically color-blind country whose motto is “liberty, equality and fraternity”. is impossible.

“In Angela Davis’ mind, there was a strong belief that racism was systemic,” Pecles said in March. “It might be true in America, it’s certainly true in America. But it’s wrong in France, and this idea that it might be supported by a minority is actually an attack on the universalism of the French republic.”

Pecres ran for president last April with a disgraceful 4.78 percent of the vote, but she remains one of the party’s best-known national figures.

(AFP France 24 hours news)

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