It exists since the end of the Eighteenth century as a competition of chronologies between France and the United States. American revolution or French Revolution, which preceded the other, which has been inspired by the other ?
Today we went to the Lights to the Shadows. The competition/ comparison is of a different nature and focuses on racism and police violence. On this issue highly emotional, the two sides clash in France. For some who rely on the History, compare France and the United States it is simply an insult to the black community american : how to compare their history and their sufferings to those of the black communities (and in the maghreb countries in France) ? And how to put in parallel the police violence on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a culture of racism and violence in the United States that is truly incomparable. The figures speak for themselves. More than a thousand people died as a result of the security forces in 2019 in the United States. The same year, the figure was twenty in France, three in Great Britain, zero in Japan.
France has nothing to do with the United States, but its “balance sheet” is not exemplary compared to those of other democratic countries.
In fact, in France, there is a second school of thought, which focuses on the similarities more than the differences between France and the United States. That answer to those who claim that the business Traoré and Floyd are of the same nature, and that France has no lesson to give to America ? Everything that is exaggerated is insignificant, said Talleyrand.
The notion of felt
The answer is a bit short. There is a notion that is more reference in regard to the climate, that of ” feelings “. In France the black minorities (and maghreb) are becoming more, and express it openly, victims of racism. The French police is not racist, but police officers are racist exist and with the rise of intolerance and violence in society drifts tend to increase. At the time the Republic loses control over some of its territories, members of the security forces would lose the control of themselves ?
In a more fundamental way, there is a tragedy of immeasurable that continue to haunt – even if it is, to varying degrees, the United States and France. It is, of course, slavery and its psychological consequences in the long term.
No one will confront this legacy in déboulonnant statues, and even less in smearing of red paint, and the monument to the glory of Winston Churchill in London. It is a simple provocation, shocking, and unfair. Conversely do not feel that the maintenance at the heart of the city, sculptures of famous people who are enriched by the “triangular trade” or the United States, fought to maintain the institution of slavery would demonstrate a lack of historical understanding and human compassion. In America, the sculptures of confederate generals have been for the most part erected in the early Twentieth century, in a spirit of partisan and reactionary.
The place of these sculptures is – both sides of the Atlantic – in Museums and not in places where they are put in the spotlight. It does not combat the crimes of yesterday by the excesses, the simplifications or the silence.