Politicians, prominent intellectuals, and academics in France have voiced concern that ‘out-of-control leftism and cancel culture’ from the United States is threatening French identity.
They are arguing that American ideas on race, gender, post-colonialism – especially those coming from U.S. universities – are undermining French society and are an attack on French heritage.
The collection of intellectuals arguing that France is being contaminated by the leftism of America was buoyed on last year after French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to side with them.
In a speech in October on the ‘Fight against Separatism’, Macron warned against leaving ‘the intellectual debate to others’ as he cautioned of the ‘certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States’.
His education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also warned in October that there is a ‘battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities’.
The debate came to a head this week after the new director of the Paris Opera, Alexander Neef, released a 66-page report on diversity at the company in which he vowed to diversify staff and to ban blackface.
It came after five black members of the ballet company circulated an open letter among the Paris Opera’s 1,800 employees last summer, calling for greater diversity.
Neef was targeted for the decision by far-right leader Marine le Pen and by French newspaper Le Monde which said he ‘soaked up American culture for 10 years’ while he worked in Toronto.
This month also saw the publication of a book by social scientists Stéphane Beaud and Gérard Noiriel in which they claimed that race is a ‘bulldozer’ that destroys other subjects.
They added to the New York Times that they did not believe race should not be studied as an academic subject in France, as the secular government does not recognize it.
It follows tension over protests against police violence last summer in France, sparked as they were in the U.S. by the death in police custody of George Floyd.
The wave of protests sparked further backlash in universities, as students began to put pressure on institutions to disinvite well-known speakers.
Activists also targeted a play at Sorbonne University where white actors were to wear masks and dark make up… Via – Daily Mail UK