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  • I've been having a tough time completely understanding what's been going on in French politics, and now this. People say all kinds of things about American politics, but at least over here overtly racist policies usually don't succeed at high levels of government.

    So, when people say Le Pen or the BNP are racist, which of these do they mean?

    • Opposed to preferential treatment programs or quotas for minorities, such as America's affirmative action, in private business.
    • Same as above, only about government
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Your list is not adequate for the French situation: minorities is not a concept that exists in French law (with the exception of women, who are a majority anyway: half of the candidates from any party must be women): everybody is either a French citizen or not.

      So officially le pen and his cronies propose to send back illegal immigrants to their countries, prevent foreign workers to bring their families, only give wellfare and "allocations familiale" (money you get from the state when you have kids) to French citizens (foreign workers will of course still pay for it!), and reserve jobs to French citizens (which illegal under European law).

      That's the official party line. What is not official but which is well understood by most people who vote for them is that racial profiling would be even worse than it is now (remember, there are no minorities in France, so you can't track racial profiling), and that the bureaucracy (cops, state officials) would be strongly anti-arabs (the legal culture of France is quite different from the one in the US, if the bureaucracy decides to ignore a law or to apply it in a totally illegal way it is very hard, impossible actually, to sue them).

      And of course the immense majority of people in the neo-nazi party is anti-semitic and anti-arabs, their security corp is organized as a private militia... nice people overall.

      One thing to remember BTW is that according to the French law a lot of kids who were born in France from foreign parents (often from Algeria or Marocco) only become definitely French when they reach 18. Not to mention lots of kids who were brought to this country when they were really young, who have grown here, but who don't necessarily have French citizenship. So we are talking discrimination against a lot of people who have always lived in France and are French for all intents and purposes, except for their citizenship and (most importantly) the color of their skin (my American wife of course would have no problem).

      • Thanks for the info. As I said, we Americans are just about completely information-less. Our media said "LePen" and "protests" and that's about it. Nearly every sentence you wrote was a revelation to me.

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers