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A black deputy mayor of Paris, Audrey Pulvar, sparked controversy on online media after she said White people (natural Europeans) should remain ‘silent spectators’ if they attend meetings where people of colour discuss racism.
A former TV host and journalist, Pulvar, told the French BFM TV on Saturday that she was ‘not shocked’ to hear that people of colour hold meetings closed to the whites. The deputy to the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, Black Pulvar referred to a high-profile incident earlier this month, which saw the National Union of Students of France (UNEF) organising meetings on racism that were off-limits to the White students.
Pulvar said that ‘people who are discriminated against for the same reasons and who feel the same way need to meet together to discuss it.’ Still, she believes it would not be quite right to outright ban the White people from attending such meetings altogether.
Instead, Pulvar suggested that a ’White woman or a White man that comes to this workshop’ could be asked to ‘be silent, to be a … silent spectator.’
The words of the politician, who leads the Socialist Party’s list at the upcoming regional elections in the French Ile-de-France region, immediately ignited a heated debate online.
The deputy mayor’s statement was branded racist and contrary to the French values. Valerie Pecresse, the President of the Regional Council of Ile-de-France, said that, in her region, no person ’should be discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. There is no such thing as ‘acceptable’ racism!’ she said in a fiery tweet.
Pecresse was supported by the French MEP Agnes Evren, who called Pulvar’s statement ‘scandalous’ and revealing the ’moral decay’ of the Left as well as ’racist sentiment’ against the ’white-skinned French.’
The leader of the patriotic National Rally (former National Front) party, Marine Le Pen, went as far as to demand the French prosecutors open a probe against Pulvar over the alleged ’racial discrimination.’
Shockingly, there was no shortage of those who rallied to Pulvar’s defence. The head of the left-wing France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, argued that the politician is by no means racist, adding that she simply defined ’what a support group is.’ He also accused her critics of ‘sexist and discriminating attitude’ and called on the Socialist Party to ‘defend their candidate.’
Typical of what mainstream media has become, a group of journalists, including Fabien Randanne and Alice Coffin, also sided with Pulvar. Coffin accused Pulvar’s critics of falsely believing that ‘their word is essential … at all times’ while Randanne said the Paris deputy mayor just explained what ’being a good ally’ means.
The debate also drew attention of the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness in President Emmanuel Marcon’s government. The minister, Franck Riester, said it was ‘necessary to do exactly the opposite to what was said by Audrey Pulvar. These comments are serious, shocking and contrary to the French universalism,’ he said in Twitter post. Source
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