Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet is Professor of Public Law at Rennes 1 University and vice-president of the French Association of Constitutional Law.
That's it, here we go again! It has been at least forty years that we have been brought out periodically from the closet of the perfectly preposterous idea to delete the word "race" from the Constitution. Each day suffices his clientelist declaration. It is now the Minister responsible for the City and Housing who takes up an above-ground and perfectly worn claim giving the measure of his casualness. The Lépine contest for diverse demagoguery is in full swing. After the dismaying sermon of Jean-Marc Ayrault calling to debolt Colbert, one of the most brilliant administrators and jurists in the history of France, the Constitution of General De Gaulle is accused of racism.
Let us recall the impugned provision of article 1 of the Constitution: " France ensures the equality of all citizens before the law without distinction of origin, race or religion".It is necessary to give a name to the difference which separates a Black from a White.
The proposal to repeal is all the more surprising since it always comes from the same subsidized pharmacies that thrive in anti-racism activism and of which the word "race", allegedly hated, is the essential fuel. Why then do these people who owe their fortune to the race ask for the suppression of what makes their goodwill? This strategy which leads to wanting to saw the branch on which one is seated is perfectly incoherent, but the ways of diversity militancy are particularly impenetrable.
If you spend your time denouncing the discrimination and violence committed by whites against blacks, you have to give a name to the difference that separates a black from a white and on which discrimination or discrimination takes place. violence involved. For this specific case, it could be admitted that since the adjectives used designate colors, it would be possible to replace the word "race" by that of "color" in the Constitution. The agitators of the complaint would then fight against "colorism" and would now be called "anti-colorists". We must admit, however, that we do not see at all what they would gain from it, or what "progress" would result for French society.Arabs, Asians, Amerindians, Latins, Jews or Slavs would be penalized by this reduction to a skin color which is not their main characteristic.
The 1965 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of "Racial" Discrimination states in its article 1 that the latter expression covers "any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, ancestry or national or ethnic origin ”. That is to say, it targets a broad spectrum whose color is only one aspect.
A concept that is too narrow would indeed exclude discrimination relating to physical criteria other than skin color (features, morphology, hair texture, eye slit, etc.) that we have always classified for convenience under the term generic "race" without bothering anyone. Arabs, Asians, Amerindians, Latins, Jews or Slavs would certainly be penalized by this reduction to a skin color which is not their main characteristic. In addition, the mestizos, the majority in our overseas communities, would find it difficult to accuse half of them of discriminating against the other.
The field of activity of the so-called “anti-racist” struggle also goes far beyond the case of binary black / white opposition and was even initially focused on anti-Semitism. This is how the Marchandeau Decree-Law of April 21, 1939, the first French repressive text adopted in France in reaction to an anti-Jewish press campaign, had already retained the origin-race-religion trilogy, taken up by the Pleven law of 1972 on press crimes. The current Criminal Code is full of references to race, as are the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, the European Convention on Human Rights. man of 1950 and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed in Lisbon in 2007. In addition, all the Constitutions of our neighbors (Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.) obviously retain the word "race" so that we really does not see what justification or explanation there could be to delete this term in the French Constitution alone, and while replacing it with another term would be counterproductive.
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The assertion of scientists that the biological race does not interest their mattresses and journals, but should not be confused with political and legal terminology, which is intended for citizens and must therefore correspond to their understanding and common sense . The purpose of a democratic standard is to be understood by the greatest number and what the French would retain from the deletion of the word "race" in article 1 of the Constitution is that racial discrimination is now permitted in France! Is this really what the minister wants?
Let's not touch the Constitution!