According to University of Oklahoma socialist, Loretta Bass, “People are assumed to be French, and if you’re French, you’re assumed not to have a color of your skin,” Bass says. “There is no mechanism in place to [effectively] monitor social integration.” She also argues that. “France’s president, François Hollande’s, idea of a post-racial France doesn’t reflect the everyday experiences of France’s African immigrant population. They live in “Another France.”
One example that she gives to back up this statement has to do with the French public education system. She states that the sons and daughters of African immigrants are told that the can enjoy the same ranks as any other citizen, but in reality that is not what they feel, according to Loretta Bass.
She found in her research that African immigrant families live in isolation from the rest of French society. She states, this has caused them to have an identity crisis. She would hear the comments like this from young they young people, “I’m French on the inside, African on the out.”
Loretta Bass this is true for roughly 1.8 million people who were easily identified by their dark skin and were part of families who immigrated to France from Sub-Saharan African countries. She further maintains this by stating, “In France “[being black is] a special category, definitely … Over and over again in my interviews, people would talk about the puissance de la peau … ‘the power of skin.’”
Many of the children of Sub-Saharan immigrants are treated as outsiders by French Society causing them to internalize their sense of otherness. Loretta Bass states, this happens because people are continuously asking them where they are from and when they state France they once again ask them, where are you from? So, they state they are from Africa, even if they have never been to Africa. One woman told Loretta Bass, “‘My kids have not even been to Africa. But you ask them where they’re from, and they’ll tell you they’re from Guinea.’”
Bass states, this is much more than an identity crisis for many immigrant families. The hardships the immigrants face is the complete opposite of what they learn the French national values to be, which are liberty, equality and fraternity.
Things need to change so that everyone in France, regardless of their status, knows the true meaning of liberty, equality and fraternity.