Sample History Paper on The experience of black people in France, Guyana

The experience of black people in France, Guyana

Ethnic background.

I would have to start with the history of my name, I wish there were such a meaningful story behind it, but the only information I know is that my mother and grandmother chose it. I was born in Guyana on a Sunday, a little over midnight; my mother claims I was supposed to be born on the 7th. She tells this story about her going into labor with her best friend and her best friend going into delivery first. I was born in Georgetown, Guyana, of Afro-Guyanese descent. My mother’s family grew up second class, where her father, who was of indo/afro Guyanese descent, was the family’s breadwinner. My grandfather owned a popular business in the town, making my mother’s family a local sensation. Everyone knew my mother, her family, and their bar shop. My father’s sides of the family were not so fortunate; however, they were ambitious and conscious folks who always worked hard for the things they wanted. My father is of Afro-Guyanese descent and comes from a family of 5 with his single mother. My parents met in Guyana at apparently a carnival where I was conceived & they have been together ever since.

Childhood history.

I am the second child of 5. Born in 1996, I am part of the generation right in the middle of GENZ and the millennial. The first humankind to experience the growth of technology. I experienced my first interaction with technology at the age of 7 when my mother would buy us a single gadget that was popular at the time, for example, a laptop and console, and would share it amongst all 5 of us. My childhood memories of Guyana are very faint, only a few small moments, like when my late uncle took my sister and me to get ice cream. When I introduce myself, I tell people that the age I must have left Guyana had to have been around the age of three since I cannot quite grasp memories of my earlier years in my home country. My very young parents were in pursuit of opportunity and knew that Guyana was a very stagnant place for an opportunity to raise their children. They wanted more & so they started traveling to places for a better opportunities. My mother, at age 27, with four children to care for, moved to the French quarters of Guyana, Cayenne, which was in French Guiana for some time. My mother’s great friend at the time was living in France and recommended France to be a place for a better opportunity for her children and herself. With two of her most minor children on her side, she packed her things and took a leap of faith by moving to France. My oldest sister and I stayed with my father for a year until we were reunited in 2000.

Culture shift.

France was bittersweet as a child; the experience did not feel as significant when it came down to my identity; however, according to them, my parents’ experience was not as great. They had already experienced a culture shift from being English speakers and being black, as well as other racist experiences. It was an excellent opportunity for children, but for grown people, the reality of things was too honest to enjoy the romanticizing of the French. The United States was very much, so a place that I felt was romanticized as well. Coming here to realize how filthy New York streets were, the ghettos and lack of resources in the schools, and the adultification & early sexualization of the youth, it took quite some time for me to get acclimated. However, I grew tough skin in the concrete jungle and became a wolf instead of a sheep. This realization of unknown frustrations of racism that were secretly going on in France made me interested in carrying out research on racism in France. In my research, I will dissect the hidden truth of racism in France and how it affected black people.

Purpose

When I finally graduated from high school, I was ready to start processing the many changes we had been through and the dynamic of my family. My parents have been together for the last 25 years and are still married and living happily in the United States, where they feel they could live without fear. The voluntary sensation of movement has forced me to constantly question things and ask “why?” which leads me to assume that the whole reason I got an interest in psychology and then sociology was because of this tendency of mine to question things and ask “why?” My big thing was always, “why do people do the things they do,” which is why I thought I loved psychology, but on the contrary, my true love was sociology. When I took a class on ethnicity at BMCC and understood the definition of sociology and my fascination for the brain, humankind, human interaction, and our societal issues, my big thing was always, “why do people do the things they do.” This is why I thought I loved psychology. As a result, the purpose of this research paper is to delve into the lesser-known history of racism in France and elaborate on its influence on people of African descent.

Background of Racism in France

Despite the widespread notion that racism does not exist significantly in France, racism is a severe societal concern and a significant problem in French society. Anti-Semitism, along with prejudice towards Muslims and other non-Christians, has a long history. This prejudice may be traced back to ancient times. It has been claimed that individuals of local minority groups, such as Jews, Berbers, Arabs, and Asian people, have been the targets of violent acts. According to the statistics collected by the police in 2019, there were 1,052 anti-Christian actions, 687 anti-Jewish acts, and 154 anti-Muslim acts committed against a total population of approximately 67 million people. Some racist acts have a religious meaning. According to the same statistics, there were a total of 1,142 actions categorized as “racist” but did not have a religious connotation. Anti-Semitic activities in 2019 significantly outweighed Islam-phobic incidents, according to official government figures. Even though private research has shown that France’s Muslim population is far higher than its Jewish population. This does not consider the subtle forms of prejudice that occur in the workplace and regular life (Hamilton, T. G. (2020).

Because French legislation bans the government from collecting ethnic and religious census data, doing an in-depth analysis of the problem remains difficult. According to research published in 2016 by the National and Consultative Commission on Human Rights, just 8% of individuals in France feel that certain races are superior to others. The criminal code of France has anti-racist provisions. Equal treatment for all people, regardless of origin, color, or religion, is mandated under the Constitution of 1958. France was one of the first countries in history to have people of African descent serve in a national parliament (1794, 1848, then 1891 and all years after) or in a government (1931, 1932–33, 1937–38), or as a speaker in parliament (1938–1940 in the French Chamber of Deputies, 1947–1971 in the Senate), or as the commander of the antiaircraft defense of Paris in 1914–1918. It fostered the fiction of a national immunity against racism. It lightened the political opposition to legislation against racism, which would have been pointless in a country viewed as non-racist despite the development of anti-Arab violent crimes in the 1960s and 1970s.

Although France’s laws that prohibit exhibiting religious symbols are often seen as an attempt to target Muslims, many people in France perceive that their nation is an exception regarding racism. The highest administrative court in France ruled in 2016 that four different mayors did not have the authority to prohibit the wearing of “burkinis” on public beaches. The reasoning for this judgment was that it violated the fundamental principles of French law regarding freedom. The latter’s decisions were founded on the idea of “laicité,” which refers to the secular neutrality and disestablishment of the State, even though it appeared obvious to exploit confusion of the highly conservative public opinion in South-East France for obvious electoral reasons. The desegregation legislation prohibits all non-neutral signs (political and religious) on the part of all people working for the civil service, including teachers and all of the staff in a school (Hamilton, T. G. (2020). The law passed in March 2004 prohibits all conspicuous religious signs for school students.

Ethnic Divide Strategy

In French Guiana, ethnic categorization was formed within the framework of an assimilationist and discriminatory ideology that was French. This classification constituted a hierarchy of distinct communities that exhibited Western mediation. In recent years, however, a reversal of this historical and derogatory process in the form of territorialization with new mediations has been possible due to the strengthening of ethnic identity and self-identification. Indians in French Guiana were referred to as “savages” and Amerindians at the beginning of European colonization of the region. This was done because the Amerindians lived on the periphery of the colonial system. Even today, Indians continue to be stigmatized as a group that modernity or progress has little to offer because of this perception. The concept of Creole originated from the need to differentiate between black people from Africa and black people born in the colony (Spiegelman, J. D. (2022). This distinction was then used to bring out the degree of education and religion from a Western perspective. The identical difference is going to be made again later. Who in French Guiana is at the root of the current division among Creoles (Blacks), more integrated with French culture, and the Bushnenges (forest blacks), descendants of former runaway slaves of Suriname who are considered to be more primitive?

This question is relevant because of the historical conflict between the Bossal enslaved people and the Creole enslaved people. The conflict in which Guyanese Creole finds itself in connection to other ethnic groups, which sharpens its edge at the same time when there is a possibility of an approach movement, is how Guyanese Creole defines itself. This rejection arises within the border ambiguities brought about by the mistrust brought about by the assimilation ideology that the French State institutionalized. Therefore, the Creole ethnicity is in crisis in French Guiana, as well as in other parts of the Caribbean, due to non-compliance with external references (European and African) because it is difficult to (re)build a truly Creole identity (Gallibour, E. (2020). This is the case both in French Guiana and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Cultural and political tradition

Two ideas—the notion of the State and the idea of the individual—provide the foundation for the liberty that the French Revolution came to represent. Therefore, according to the political heritage of France, these liberties come standard with being human and are, as a result, natural and universal (or inalienable). The Ministry of the Interior has supplied the police with descriptors to use in place of racial classifications to categorize individuals (Zéphirin, R. (2020) more accurately. The terms “European” (including “Northern European,” “Continental European,” and “Mediterranean European”), “African/Antillean,” “Métis,” “Maghrebian,” “Middle Eastern,” “Asian,” “Indian/Pakistani,” “Latin American,” “Polynesian,” and “Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander,” as well as “Melanesiac/Canadian,” are among those that.

Some people argue that the desire of politicians to adhere to these ideas is the root cause of the failure of ethnic minority groups to be recognized. Many of Europe’s states’ legal and political systems have come to acknowledge the presence of the continent’s many ethnic minority groups (Zéphirin, R. (2020). In certain jurisdictions, migrants are granted special rights, such as the ability to get an education in their mother tongue if they live in such states. On the other hand, France does not acknowledge these rights since the country only acknowledges rights in the context of citizenship and human classification.

In this context, the State has supported initiatives that favor integration. In particular, the government has pushed for individuals born outside of France but have since earned French citizenship to be counted as French citizens regardless of their racial or cultural backgrounds. Rather than identifying as Algerian, Moroccan, or Arab, many Arab Muslims in France choose to identify just as Muslims (Hamilton, T. G. (2020). This is founded more on the importance of community and family relationships than adherence to any religion. When compared to the way the term is perceived to be used in North America and the United Kingdom, where the emphasis is placed on cultural components, it is said that the concept of ethnicity, when used in France, ignores the reference to reference to race.

Conclusion

The immigration of black people into the United States has made it more challenging to have scientific knowledge of the disparities between black people and white people in that country. However, when taken as a whole, the figures conceal a significant variation among black immigrants. When taken as a whole, several aspects of black immigrants’ social and economic outcomes are analogous to those of black people born and raised in the United States. The intricate patterns of social and economic outcomes among black immigrants have significant repercussions for measuring black-white disparity in the United States. The growth in the number of people of African descent that has relocated to the United States will significantly impact the physical well-being and economic success of the black population in that country. In other words, failure to account for black immigration when analyzing black/white inequalities may lead to erroneous evaluations of the progress achieved by black Americans and changes in the severity of racism and discrimination suffered by all blacks in the United States. This could lead to erroneous conclusions about the progress achieved by black Americans and shifts in the severity of racism and discrimination suffered by all blacks in the United States. This may harm the quality of life for black people in the United States and the quality of life for black people who immigrate to the United States. Because of this, academics in the United States need to make a concerted effort to disaggregate the black population to accurately assess the changes that have occurred in the disparities between blacks and whites. This is because black immigrants are growing and becoming more diverse worldwide.

References

Beriss, D. (2018). Black skins, French voices: Caribbean ethnicity and activism in urban France. Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9780429502040/black-skins-french-voices-david-beriss

Camus, J. Y. (2006). The commemoration of slavery in France and the emergence of black political consciousness. European Legacy11(6), 647–655. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10848770600918281

Gallibour, E. (2020). Ethnic communities, access to housing and exclusion: the case of the Haitian immigrants of French Guyana. In Ethnicity and Housing (pp. 53-60). Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003073253-9/ethnic-communities-access-housing-exclusion-case-haitian-immigrants-french-guyana-eric-gallibour.

Gomes, F. (2003). Other Black Atlantic borders: escape routes, ‘Mocambo,’ and fears of sedition in Brazil and French Guiana (eighteenth to nineteenth centuries). New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids77(3-4), 253-287. https://brill.com/view/journals/nwig/77/3-4/article-p253_3.xml

Grosfoguel, R. (1999). Introduction:” cultural racism” and colonial Caribbean migrants in core zones of the capitalist world economy. Review (Fernand Braudel Center), 409-434. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40241468

Hamilton, T. G. (2020). Black immigrants and the changing portrait of Black America. Annual Review of Sociologypp. 46, 295–313. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-soc-121919-054728

Spiegelman, J. D. (2022). Racism, Colonialism, and the Limits of Diversity: The Racialized “Other” in French Foreign Language Textbooks. In Diversity and Decolonization in French Studies (pp. 51-64). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-95357-7_4

Zéphirin, R. (2020). Composition of the Population and Its Spatial Distribution. In Political Demography and Urban Governance in French Guyana (pp. 29–41). Palgrave Pivot, Singapore. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-15-3832-2_3