Monday, 21 March 2011

Attitudes To Race in France and Guardian Commentators

It would appear that the French section of my blog has been somewhat underused lately, mainly due to the fact that nothing much has changed: the majority of my students/pupils still mildly irritate me, there is a tad more sun than there was a month ago and some of my French friends got treated to a flurry abuse from a drunken Scotsman. So far so good, oder? However, there has been this vague nagging at the back of my head regarding the French attitudes towards ethnic minorities in what is essentially a relatively old-fashioned provincial town. A student of mine remarked a while ago that he "hated Arabs" for no particular reason, a Vietnamese girl was subjected to a volley of supposedly "Chinese-sounding" noises by her French peers, and one of the teachers at my school had to suspend one of her pupils for saying something along the lines of, "not bad for a black guy". Now, this is no indictment of France and the French as a whole, and I accept that these are isolated incidents, but it does make one wonder about the levels of tolerance afforded to young people about the acceptability of race-related conduct.

Speaking of which, I come to my second point of today: the Guardian. Being the one-man manifestation of coalition politics, I tend to read both the Times and the Guardian, though with a slight leaning towards the former. However, it has come to my attention that two of the more mainstream opinion writers, David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker (both of whom I hold in high regard), often talk about exactly the same subjects on the same weeks. This week it was the Midsomer Murders furore (of which I am thankfully blissfully ignorant), and in past weeks they have each talked about Nick Clegg's "Alarm Clock Britain" idea and the fact that football pundits are (unsurprisingly to my mind) complete bigots, in the same week as each other. Ok, so these were possibly some of the more high-profile cultural stories of the week, but surely they could come to some agreement to take it in turns? Otherwise it becomes rather tedious listening to two sarcastic people being sarcastic about things I really don't care about.

Peace x

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