Flashback: La Haine


What we are seeing in France will be familiar to anyone who watched gangsta culture rise in the US. You take a population of young men who are oppressed by racism and who face limited opportunities, and you present them with a culture that encourages them to become exactly the sort of people the bigots think they are -- and you call this proud self-assertion and empowerment. You take men who are already suspected by the police because of their color, and you romanticize and encourage criminality so they will be really despised and mistreated. You tell them to defy oppression by embracing self-destruction.

In America, at least, gangsta is sort of a game. But in France, the barriers to ascent are higher. The prejudice is more impermeable, and the labor markets are more rigid. There really is no escape.

David Brooks om Paris sin forstadsproblematikk, sett i sammenheng med den amerikanske.