Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oui, Nous Pouvons!

Oddly, I haven't seen any conservative sites write about this:

Inspired by Barack Obama, the French first lady and other leading figures say it's high time for France to stamp out racism and shake up a white political and social elite that smacks of colonial times.

A manifesto published Sunday — subtitled "Oui, nous pouvons!", the French translation of Obama's campaign slogan "Yes, we can!" — urges affirmative action-like policies and other steps to turn French ideals of equality into reality for millions of blacks, Arabs and other alienated minorities.

"Our prejudices are insidious," Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a singer and wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy, said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, which published the manifesto. She said she hoped the "Obama effect" would reshape French society.

Nations across Europe rejoiced over Obama's victory, seeing it as a triumph for American democracy and a world weary of President George W. Bush. But Obama's election also illustrated an uncomfortable truth: how far European countries with big minority populations have to go getting nonwhites into positions of power.

Grass-roots groups in France and Britain are trying to turn Obama's election into electoral gains for minorities at home. Sunday's manifesto suggests France's elites are taking notice, too.

"The election of Barack Obama highlights via a cruel contrast the shortcomings of the French Republic, and the distance that separates us from a country whose citizens knew how to go beyond the racial question and elect a man who happens to be black as president," the appeal said.

"What a lesson!" it went on. "We French ... should listen to it well."

And I remember how the conservatives crowed when France elected Sarkozy, and how they were becoming more like us. Now instead of crowing, I guess they are just eating some instead. If nothing else, Obama's winning of the election might just cause a lot of people to take a hard look at themselves and change some of their negative attitudes. Wouldn't it be so nice to live in a better world?

It would be tres magnifique!

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