Paris - avoid if possible

Old Mar 7th, 2001, 02:53 PM
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I am not pretending France is a racial paradise as it is not, but here are some well-known African-Americans who moved to Paris: Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Sidney Bechet, Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Lois Jones, Edward Clark, Harold Cousins, Bud Powell, Melvin Van Peebles, Benny Carter, Bud Powell, not to mention Tina Turner (okay, she is down on the Cote d'Azur). Also, Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones lived there a while, although not as long as these others. Also, I have seen the original Dutch report on crime in various countries and it does not say that violent crime rates are higher in Western Europe; I don't know what the Economist said, but either they are wrong or you are remembering wrong. That is a British publication, and England did come up as higher than US on two violent crime rates (assault and barely roberry), but it was lower on sexual assaults. Most Western Eur. countries were lower than US on robbery and assault, the "sexual offenses" rate(not sure how that was defined) was higher than US in many W Eur countries, surprisingly, although it was very low in France. Actually, the rates in France were among the lowest of all countries on all these crime measures. There was no homicide rate to compare as the methodology involved asking people personally their experience with crime, so unfortunately you can't ask dead people. These was something called the International Crime Victims Survey and was conducted in the Netherlands; I believe that was what the Economist article was based on. I have a master's degree in statistics and demography so keep up on these things--we do not think economists know statistics, but that's an in-joke. (you know, I don't really care whether people are trolls or not, I post based on whether I find a discussion interesting or not or a question worth answering--if I would answer it from a real person, I will from a fake person, it makes no diff. to me, as I figure the discussion or information could be of use to someone; this one was not interesting to begin with but has some interest now, to me). As a professional, it does bother me when peole misquote statistics or facts (I find it very surprising that Mr. Mueller has never heard of any other famous African Americans who moved to France except Josephine Baker, and does not believe it--there have been documentaries, art shows, books, etc all around this subject; they were in the arts community though, if you were not interested in writing or music, you might not know it).
Oh, here is the reading assignment, a pretty good balanced article on African-Americans in Paris:
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 03:01 PM
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Steve, Re: "America has plenty of Hispanic citizens. My state of Colorado has a very extensive Hispanic heritage."

That's very true, Steve. But there's more to the story. I believe that most, if not all, of Colorado once belonged to Hispanics (specifically Mexicans/Mexico) until the U.S. decided to blatantly steal it under the banner of "Manifest Destiny" in the so-called "Mexican War", a war that Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, in 1948, called " of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation."

Old Mar 7th, 2001, 06:33 PM
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Don't you all get it????

France wants to remain French! Yes it's ok for a limited number of "foreigners" to reside there, and they are tolerant - to a degree - of outsiders. But their main intent is to keep France "pure". Britain isn't so different. Even though both criticize the US for our race relations, it's just a cover for their own problems with different races. And they both are afraid of being overwhelmed by those of different backgrounds and thereby diluting their national identity. Neither even pretends to be a "melting pot" like the US.

Don't you know you can't ever move to New Zealand and become a citizen unless you have a viable education and trade and enough money to guarantee that you won't become a drain on their society? New Zealand isn't alone.

Wake up! The grass is always greener. If you think you can live better elsewhere, be my guest!
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 07:15 PM
Steve Mueller
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Your credentials (a Masters in statistics) are not impressive enough to cause me to doubt the Economist.

Your post did motivate me to refer back to the edition of the Economist in which the crime statistics that you are so suspicious of were cited (Feb 24, pg. 58, A Nation of Criminals). My recollection of the burglary statistics were not entirely accurate. A person in France is less likely to be a victim of burglary than a person in the US. For burglary, the US rate is similar to that in the Netherlands, and less than that for the UK.

The other categories addressed in that article, violent crime and auto theft, had higher incidences for France than for the US. In fact, for violent crime, the US was third from the last.

Of all the African-American artists that you list as having fled racial persecution by emigrating to Paris, I have only heard of Langston Hughes, Melvin van Peebles, and Tina Turner (I suspect that if Tina was fleeing anything, it was Ike).

Of course you can inflate your list by including obscure writers or legitimate musicians that recorded one or two albums in Paris or toured France, but that stretches the credibility of your argument that France is a racial haven. Moreover, you don't know why most of these people chose to live in Paris (maybe they liked the food), and I suspect that the majority of them returned to the US.

I don't believe that Duke Ellington or Quincy Jones ever regarded Paris as home, and the notion that two of the most popular and successful musicians in the US fled to Paris because they were persecuted is absurd.

The French maintain their self-illusion of racial tolerance by claiming that the ongoing persecution of North Africans is not a racial issue, but a religious one. As the French would say "c'est absurde."
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 09:44 PM
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An "ongoing persecution of North Africans" in France, and all these years I, and all the North Africans I know and/or work with have not been aware of it ? Steve, you're "absurde" and you've just proved you don't know what you're talking about and you can't refrain from your prejudices when it comes to France.

As a French from African descent, I think I have a good idea of what the situation is like: there's a vocal extreme-right group that would like to "persecute" everybody suspected of not being perfectly white, the rest of the population doesn't really care, except at election time, France is far from perfect (as are the USA or any other country), and this whole thread is ridiculous.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 10:26 PM
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I logged in hoping there would be some backgound info sharing on Paris travel, but instead I see a full-blown discussion on politics etc. My fiance and I are going to Paris AND Barcelona for our honeymoon this July...should we cancel our trip now that I've realised there're Paris and Barcelona haters out there?

Old Mar 8th, 2001, 03:41 AM
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Oh, dear, as little Billy Goat Gruff, may I point out that 40% of black men in Britain have a white partner and this rises to 50% in the under 25 group. I recently read an interview with black British basketball player in which he said that he had hardly realised that he was black until he went to the USA. OK the UK is not perfect in its race relations, but having lived on both side of the Atlantic, I would say that it is a more integrated society.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 04:23 AM
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Not a performer, but the first black women to receive a pilot's license, Bessie Coleman, received her training and license in France because no one in the United States would teach her to fly.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 05:31 AM
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Later that night, Sam Bruce boarded the RER, heading for CDG, to board TWA and return to the USA ASAP. He closed his eyes, hoping to push away the memory of the "meduse" incident and the knifelike laughter. But then his revery was interrupted by the sounds of a struggle. O God, it was a full-scale melee aboil in the back of the train. Steve and Georgeo and Hitler and Yehudi and Josephine Baker and Tina Turner were a mass of writhing, raging flesh. At the end of his short rope, Sam rose up and screamed, "Is there no safe harbor in this world of torment?" Tina peeled herself from the pileup, stalked her way to Sam on stiletto heels, stopped coyly before him, and kicked him viciously in the groin. "Take that, ya filthy little troll," she spat.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 05:59 AM
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Kudos to Jack - I hope that's not the end of the story...

Exactly what this ridiculous thread needed.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 06:29 AM
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Shalom Annie,

You and yours should cancel your trip to Paris and Barcelona. Come and visit the lovely State of Israel.

Old Mar 8th, 2001, 06:46 AM
Steve Mueller
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I suggest you open your eyes and look around. Do you ever watch the news or read a newspaper?

A March 2000 Harris poll reported that 60% of French citizens believe that there are "too many foreigners." Before you attribute this to non-racist xenophobia, you should know that 38% of respondents were more specific - there are "too many blacks."

I doubt that anything will challenge your head-in-the-sand view of Europe, but you may want to read an article published in the Washington Post (June 11, 2000) titled "Racism Persists in France Despite Egalitarian Creed."

Racism exists in the US, but I believe that it is becoming more and more marginalized. In parts of Europe, the opposite seems to be occurring.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 06:47 AM
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To SamBruce's chagrin, all the flight attendants were French, as TWA (Troll Wagon Airlines) couldn't find enough rude Americans to employ. He tried desperately to get someone's attention (and an icepack) but he was ignored while the attendants filed their nails and smoked.

Across the aisle, an Indian man leaned forward and said, "Would you like a packet of lovely postcards? Just 10 francs." SamBruce was beside himself (mostly because no one else would sit next to him) and spewed statistics with the fervor of Chris Matthews.

And then, to add insult to injury, dinner was Haggis-in-a-Tube TM and the bar cart had no cognac.

Suddenly the GE phone in front of him rang. It was his mistress, and she had bad news. She was leaving him for a new man; a man who knew *good* cigars and never stepped in dog pooh. SamBruce was crushed, but then

"We'll always have Paris"....

Old Mar 8th, 2001, 08:13 AM
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After reading through the last 20 posts - as much as I would like to add a bit of levity - I would like to remind everyone who are sitting comfortably in front of their computer screen that there are modern day "holocausts" occuring right now. There are people being killed and displaced because of their nationality / religion / sexual orientation / race / gender. If you aren't doing something about the present injustices occuring in this world - if you concern yourself with only "your people" - then you have not really learned anything from our collective world history.

Old Mar 8th, 2001, 08:33 AM
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Some people keep saying that this is a troll and has nothing to do with travel. I see probably at least one question a week dealing with something like is it safe for a Black person in Germany or a mixed couple in France and so on. This conversation helps us answer those questions.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 09:55 AM
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Most of you all have entirely too much time on your hands. Get back to work!!

P.S. Go to Paris, be polite, enjoy the food, the wine, the art. If you can't, or if you don't. Go home. Do not return.
Then book your next vacation for Atlantic City, or Newark. Now THERE'S a good time!!!!
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 10:11 AM
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Hello Americans,

We don't mind you come to Paris for a few days, but please do not bring guns or gun-waiving young "uncivilised" adolescents with you.

Who is SamBruce? The story Miss Elvira tells sounds like her own - a typical story of "hungry" American females coming to Paris to look for romance and got used, abused and jilted by Parisian males.

Now, Mr. Sam is what I would call a Franco-phile. Although he not likes Paris, he knows how to get a mistress in Paris and do the "5 to 7."


Old Mar 8th, 2001, 10:31 AM
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James Baldwin may be obscure to the general public, but his works are well respected among the literati. He was quite outspoken about how common racism is in France. He chose to live there despite this fact.
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 11:02 AM
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Wow, this thread reminds me so much of my trip tp France. We stayed in this great little hotel with a red awning, I can't recall the name. It was close to the subway, there was a great pastry shop right aroun the corner...
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 11:44 AM
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None of this is helping me with my trip. Please move this bickering to a chat room.

Thanks, everyone, for nothing.

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