Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More on France

Allah points me to two stories that let me take another shot at France. Seriously, they seem so bent on supplying conservatives with material, I suspect they'd feel disappointed if we didn't comment.

First is this one, from the Christian Science Monitor. Jean-Marie Colombani, a French person, criticized Italy for institutionalized racism, after Italian writer Oriana Fallaci sold half a million copies of an "anti-Islamic book." Colombani says his adopted son, of Indian descent, is routinely harassed by Italian officials.

Having lived in Italy, I know from personal experience that many Italians don't think highly of Africans. Many do, of course, but I don't have anything like a statistic to determine whether racism is deeply entrenched. I didn't conduct surveys while I was there. I also know that profiling dark-skinned people at train stations is not necessarily racist - it can be an eminently practical thing, in a post-9/11 world. Getting back to Mike Adams' definition of racism - the belief that one race is inherently superior to another - there is nothing racist about profiling. Other, more cogent arguments might be made against profiling. But inherent racism is not one of them.

Of course, profiling might be done by a racist person. That reflects on the profiler, not on profiling.

Furthermore, evidence of Fallaci's book sales is not synonymous with evidence of acceptance of Fallaci's thesis. I routinely read things with which I disagree in whole or in part. I've even been known to buy books although I knew I would disagree with the author's argument. I've so far avoided paying money to see Fahrenheit 9/11 as a means of non-support for Michael Moore's propagandist distortions and outright lies - but that is an exceptional move for me. Liberals routinely listen to Rush Limbaugh. One of my favorite talk radio hosts is Neal Boortz, and in part that's because I frequently disagree with him.

So I think that Colombani's argument is fundamentally flawed, because neither the examples of racial profiling nor the evidence of Fallaci's book sales leads to Colombani's conclusion.

The second link is here, to a Jerusalem Post article about Jewish students being verbally assaulted at Auschwitz by three - you guessed it - Frenchmen. In other words, it is supremely ironic that Colombani can complain about Italian racism while anti-Semitic attacks in France (or in Poland, by French people with no apparent sense of history) rise unabated.