The Atlantic

France Doesn’t See Race (Officially). A Blackface Performance Challenged That.

A younger generation—powered by the children and grandchildren of immigrants from France’s former African colonies—disputes a national myth.
Source: Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty

PARIS—Among the plays scheduled for Sorbonne University’s annual ancient theater festival this year was The Suppliants, by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus.

Just days before its performance in March, though, students contacted Louis-Georges Tin, the honorary president of the Representative Council of Black Associations, an antiracism group that goes by the acronym CRAN. They had news he found troubling: During the previous year’s performance, they told him, actors wore blackface; in now-removed photographs from the university’s website that advertised the festival, white actors appear in dark makeup. CRAN immediately called for a boycott.

What followed—a heated conversation that dominated opinion pages across France and reached high-level government officials—was the latest episode in the country’s ongoing struggle to grapple with race, identity, and freedom of expression. Tensions over what constitutes racism and how to combat it, and what that means for free speech, have riled college campuses from Middlebury to Manchester, but the

Sie lesen eine Vorschau. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen.

Mehr von The Atlantic

The Atlantic2 min gelesen
The Atlantic Daily: The Fight to Replace RBG
The first Saturday of fall will bring an announcement with the potential to shape American lives for years—if not decades. Plus: What our critics reviewed.
The Atlantic7 min gelesenSociety
How Princeton Opened Itself to the Ultimate Troll
The president of Princeton is in a pickle. This summer, Christopher L. Eisgruber received a letter from more than 300 faculty members at the university asserting “indifference to the effects of racism on this campus.” They called on him “to openly an
The Atlantic5 min gelesenPolitics
For Some Trump Apologists, the Cognitive Dissonance Is Just Too Much
The need to defy reality on the president’s behalf is pushing his appointees beyond the point of reason.