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The trouble with communauté

March 24, 2009

Strange things are happening across the English Channel. First, Sarkozy has just taken France back into Nato’s military command. Now, according to the Guardian and other British papers, the French government plans to break another taboo by finding ways of collecting ethnic and racial data. People could now be asked in surveys about their ethnic or racial ‘community’, e.g. black, white, North African or Asian. The Guardian’s reporter goes on to say that this proposal has

caused outrage from both left and rightwing politicians and intellectuals in France, where the very word “community” is seen as an affront to the republican ideal. The British approach of multiculturalism is seen as dangerously divisive.

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