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Beyond soccer, racism is still rampant.

The week's news at a glance.

France

Achille MbembeLe Messager(Cameroon)France’s great national soccer team, the Blues, could have been called the Blacks, said Achille Mbembe in Yaounde’s Le Messager. Few of the star strikers and defenders who played for France in this year’s World Cup were ethnic French; instead most were of African or Arab origin. Much of the French public, and even some of the soccer players themselves, takes this multi-ethnicity as evidence that France has transcended racism. “I am not black,” declared the Guadaloupe-born defender Lilian Thuram. “I am French.” Such naïveté is at once uplifting and depressing. “To a lot of French, of course, Thuram is still simply a black, not a Frenchman.” France may have achieved equality of opportunity in sport, but it has a long way to go before other industries catch up. In politics, business, and academia, French people of color are still underrepresented. “Where is the French Colin Powell, the Condoleezza Rice, the Thurgood Marshall?” France needs to be roused from its “lethargy, its incurable vanity and narcissism,” and told that it is not, in fact, a bastion of equality. France pretends that it is “blind to race” when in reality, it is simply “blind to its own racism.”

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