A minister from multiracial France: “At 25 I knew I was black”


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,France It is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. It guarantees equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of origin, caste or religion. Thus, by 2018, the first article of the French Constitution began. But that year, all representatives of the National Assembly voted please remove the word “race” And, instead, add one more: “sex”. At the time, Pap Nadiye, a noted historian, dared to say that he felt it was a “regression” that the word caste was withdrawn. “It is true that the notion has been invalidated from a scientific point of view, but it continues to affect the organization of society,” he defends. Ndiaye believes what a “good gesture” can have a “negative effect” in the fight against racism. Four years later, Ndiaye is appointed Minister of Education Emmanuel Macron And all the French press agrees: This is the new French executive’s biggest surprise. Because of his (African) origins, because of the unpredictability of his appointment (he was not in the pool) and because of his career (he has an impeccable academic record and no political sponsors).

Born to a Senegalese father and a French mother, 56-year-old Nadia is seen as man of diplomacy and consensus Against his predecessor, Jean-Michel Blancar, who rejected the mandate worsened by strikes and criticism from the entire academic community due to his handling of the COVID protocol. The current head of education knows the world of blackboards and desks very well. His mother was a professor of natural sciences; His partner, Jean Lazarus, is director of the Department of Sociology at the Sciences Po in Paris and has himself taught for years at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris.

His first posting as Minister of Education was at the Bois-d’Alene Institute, a very symbolic location in Conflans-Saint-Honorin, a town of about 30,000 residents north of the capital. At the same time, in October 2020, history teachers Samuel Petio He was beheaded for showing cartoons of Muhammad in the classroom. Most of Petty’s colleagues still have not recovered from the trauma of the incident that Blanker, the former head of education, described as “9/11 teachers”. “When I took over, I thought of Samuel Petty,” Nadia said. “Because he was murdered, of course, but also because he was a historian, like me. I’ve re-read ‘Color Negro. [la tesis universitaria de Paty], and I have found some of my interests as a researcher. Being a minister I thought I would have to come here to talk to you about the inauguration of my mandate.”

“I Realized At 25 I Was Black”

Pap Nadiye’s father, Tidion N’Diye, was the first student in sub-Saharan Africa to graduate as an engineer from the National School of Bridges and Roads in Paris. In the capital he met Simone and they had two children, Pap and Mary. The younger sister devoted herself to literature; She published her first novel when she was only 17, and in 2009 she received the Goncourt Award for ‘Three Strong Women’. Both brothers adopted their father’s surname – who abandoned them when they were very young and whom they have only seen on a few occasions – in different ways. He chose India. Dad just shrugged off the apostasy: “It was impractical,” he claimed. And, while Marie dropped her studies to devote herself to writing, her brother was an outstanding student at some of the most prestigious public institutions in France and the United States.

“I realized when I was 25 that I was black.” At that age, the now minister of education received a scholarship to the University of Virginia—years later he learned he had given it to her based on the principle of positive discrimination—and it was in the United States, not France, where he understood that is Skin color is a cause of violence, but also to mobilization, Far more than in his country of origin. “I started thinking about the racial question. 30 years ago, the subject was marginalized in the university sector in France,” he said in another interview.

Upon his return from the US five years later, he began working at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), where he specialized in racism and, above all, Racial discrimination in France and America, He was one of the first to deal with the racism associated with colonialism in France. He was one of the first to deal with the racism associated with colonialism in France and is an expert black study (Black Studies), which examines the history and culture of the African diaspora. A journey of life that has led Nadiye, the author of the famous essay black statusHas been branded by various political representatives of the French extreme right as an indigenous or an anti-white and anti-police fanatic.

It aims to write a history of France without erasing the most painful aspects of colonization and immigration. Because France lives, even if it is forbidden to say so, A country where racism is the order of the day. According to the latest report by the National Advisory Commission on Human Rights, as of 2020, 56% of descendants of immigrants from sub-Saharan African countries have felt discrimination at school and 49.9% at work. Ndiaye himself starred in an anecdote, which at a glance suggests that racism had been normalized in France. In a municipal library he offered to enroll in a French Reformation course. “Once nothing happens, but if it happens a million times, it is unbearable. To be French, however, is to be white”, she then countered.

In 2019, he was appointed scientific advisor for the exhibition ‘The Black Model’ at the Musée d’Orsay, which is dedicated to the representation of black men and women in the history of art. The museum, which had to change the titles of many of the works on display because they contained the word “black”, also restored the dignity of some models who were until then practically anonymous, such as Haitian Joseph, the protagonist of L. portrait of josephby Gricoult and who also posed for the painter in the famous painting Jellyfish fleet. Following his collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay, in 2021 Nadia was appointed director of National Museum of Immigration History, a kind of ‘ugly brother’ of French museums, formerly also known as the Museum of the Colonies and the Museum of African and Maritime Art. His arrival at the art gallery is a reunion with his past as well as his history.

That Sin Rivers is a minister of education, an act of justice or, at least, a symbol. It was written a few days earlier by former socialist deputy Jean-Christophe Combadalis World. “Her nomination sends a signal to all men and women of expatriate origin. A journey like hers is possible with a share of exemplary and sacrifice”.

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