Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wasmer on Statistics

A sensible article by Etienne Wasmer on the need for ethnic and racial statistics and the political value of having them. And another piece in Le Monde.

2 comments:

Jean Granville said...

This is outrageous, pure and simple.

First, Mr Wasner, we French are not the ones who have to "accept the other". It is "the other" who has to make the French accept him first. He is the one who decided to come, nobody forced him. So please, let's put our priorities in order.

Then, Mr Wasner has already decided that the problem to be solved is discrimination.
No. The main problem is an excessive immigration. Immigration is fine just as long as you can assimilate immigrants. When there are too many of them, that becomes impossible and problems occur. It happens to be the case that most recent immigrants are either arab or black, and therefore, if immgigrants don't integrate well, the ethnic statistics will tell us that Blacks and Arabs seem to be pushed aside. And no doubt, racism will be invoked as the primary factor here. Indeed, invoking any other factor will be deemed racist.
Now, think about it: the French basically did not ask for the massive immigration which took place over the years. But when people protested, politicians told them that everything would be fine because immigrants were going to assimilate just like Italians and Poles did before the war, and Portuguese and Spaniard after them.
And now, what are those same politicians telling the people? They are saying that the recent immigrants don't integrate so well after all, but this is all the fault of the racist French people and, therefore, racist French people are to make some room for them through preferencial policies. They have to "accept the other".
So this is not only an intellectually flawed reasoning, it is mean-spirited and dishonest, but of course, it makes perfect sence for politicians who have to take whole new populations of voters into account.

Third point, race or ethnicity is or is not a factor, but you can't have it both ways. If it is a factor, then ethnic statistics make sense, but racists also have a point. I think not. But if we start collecting information about ethnic factors, we will make the nicest present to every racist and antisemitic maniac in the country. Not that there are so many of them, but there are some. We'll soon find out anyway.
My point here is that race is not a factor for the very reason that make racism wrong. Some geneticians like Albert Jacquard say that race simply don't exist. Whether or not race exist, we decided long ago that it did not exist legally, which is reasonable enough for me. Let's just keep it that way.

Fourth point, how can a brain-equiped human being think for a second that Sabeg is not aiming at affirmative action policies? This is transparent. And anyway you put it, affirmative action means either quotas or any other form of favoritism based on race, ethnicity, origins, religion or something like that.
And by the way, Jews probably have a better memory of what ethnic statistics can be used for. I don't think it a coincidence that Simone Veil opposed the modification of the constitution's preamble, and she is right, of course.

So why are some French so keen to go for "positive discrimination"? Because they can. Immigrants and other groups have formed "communities" which are becoming powerful enough to ask the majority for a tribute. Social peace is just becoming a bit more expensive.

And before I get catalogued as another neo-nazi nuts, let me make a few things clear: I am not racist in any way, I'm perfectly OK with the cultural enrichment which can be brought by immigration, I am happy that dozens of peoples and cultures aggregated to the French nation over the centuries and I know that a nation is not a block. Some ancesters of mine were immigrants too and they did what was required to be part of the French people. They did not ask the French people to adapt to them, to "accept the other".

Arthur Goldhammer said...

I reply to Granville in a post on the main blog:
http://artgoldhammer.blogspot.com/2009/03/racial-statistics.html