Will American Ideas Tear France Apart?

Publié le 05/05/2021

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« Sarah Holler Term4 27/03/2021 Will American Ideas Tear France Apart? 1) Introduce the document This document is a press article written by Norimitsu Onishi, and published in the NYT in February 2021.

This article entitled “Will American Ideas tear France apart” broaches the polemical topic of “Woke Culture”, and its consequences on people’s mindsets.

“Woke culture” or “Cancel culture” are expressions used to describe a phenomenon that consists in changing some features in a culture because they are considered as racist, homophobic, chauvinistic, (…).

For instance, Agatha Christie’s novel entitled “Les dix petits nègres” has been recently renamed “Ils étaient dix”.

It is a very controversial topic since some people blame “Woke culture” for threatening a country’s cultural heritage.

2) What do a certain number of French intellectuals and political leaders blame woke culture for? As it is mentioned in the beginning of the article, a certain number of French intellectuals and political leaders consider that “Woke culture” or “cancel culture” attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage, and gnaws at national unity.

Some far-right political leaders such as Marine Le Pen consider that woke culture contributes to “abet Islamism” and to contaminate France with “the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses”. The writer even uses a hyperbole to characterize this phenomenon.

He qualifies woke culture as “an existential threat”.

3) Do the detractors of woke culture have opponents? Who are they, what are their goals? French academic students are part of the opponents of the detractors of woke culture, because they consider that “blackface” and “cultural appropriation” are unacceptable.

They are young, and they often have a left-wing vison of the world.

Thus, they try to change the world to create a fairer one, in which everyone one fits in no matter what their origins are.

4) What paradox does the journalist evoke concerning America and its influence? Onishi evokes a paradox concerning America and its influence: America is to be said “an increasingly diverse nation”.

However, this country “still recoils at the mention of race”, hasn’t yet come to terms with its colonial past, and often ignores the concern of minorities.

5) What has the director of the Opera decided to do? Who does he side with? How can you account for it? How do political leaders and journalists react to it? The new director of the Paris Opera has decided to diversify its staff and to ban blackface.

He sides with the opponents of the detractors of woke culture because he has “soaked up American culture for 10 years”.

His action has been highly criticized by the political leaders like Marine Lepen and by a famous French newspaper, Le Monde.

Indeed, they probably charged him with spreading “Cancel culture” in France, which, to them, threatens French national unity.

6) What do you know about Stephane Beaud and Gerald Noirel? What arguments do they put forward about a certain number of scientific researches on racial issues? Stephane Beaud and Gerald Noirel are “two veteran social scientists” who published a book criticizing racial studies.

From their point of view, racial studies are irrelevant and problematic. »


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