To be part of a community that has been a victim of the madness of racism for millennia, and is still too often a victim, I would like to remind you of a few obvious facts.
First of all, there is no white race, no black race, no Jewish race: there is only one race, the human race; the rest are fantasies created by executioners to make their victims believe that they are inferior to them; and to believe it themselves: by designating them as a race different from their own, they can more easily grant themselves the right to treat them as sub-humans, to dehumanise them, to martyr them without too much guilt. This has been known since the earliest antiquity, when slavery was the rule, and one could, from one moment to the next, cease to be a human being and become an object in the service of the other.
Sometimes, in reaction, the victims accept themselves as different, and organise their struggle not by seeking to be equal and identical to their executioners, but by claiming that they are intrinsically, essentially, different. This is increasingly the case today: for example, some minorities claim to be races, and want to deal only with people of the same “race”; in all compartments of life.
Without seeing that it is first of all a trap set by executioners for their future victims to push them to claim themselves as a race, in order to better continue to separate them, to isolate them, to deny them the means to be full and complete actors of the common society.
This separatism is not only manifested under the pretext of a so-called racial distinction; it is also manifested by those who separate religions, or social origins, or sexual or sentimental orientations; by those who refuse to grant the same rights to all those who are different, regardless of the nature of the difference. It is also found between nations, when a nation is refused to integrate into a community in the name of differences that are deemed irreconcilable.
One can understand those victims who fall into this trap: nothing pushes one more to separate from others than the fact of not being admitted by them, of not being recognised. And we can understand the concern to overturn the logic, and rejoice to see yesterday’s victims claiming their pride in being different. Too many victims of racism have for too long internalized the criticism leveled at them. Too many minorities have resigned themselves to seeing themselves as inferior, accepting their fate with submission. Too many sacrifices have been made without a fight. The anger of those who want to separate themselves from their tormentors is therefore perfectly understandable.
But this means forgetting the essential: separatism is, first of all, the act of those who want to isolate the weakest, and only then does it become the claim of those who refuse to belong to the world of their executioners, demand their separation, and isolate themselves.
Thousands of pages have been written on universalism and essentialism; more will be written in the future. However, we should never forget one obvious fact: if pushed to the point of his own caricature, essentialism can become a trap set by racists to lock up their victims, this time with their consent.
By accepting it, the victims have everything to lose: how can they then claim to participate in a society from which they have explicitly and voluntarily separated themselves? How to exist otherwise than by this essence? How can we fail to see that the separation of the weakest only benefits the most powerful? How can we prevent others from naming the essence other than by the colour of our skin? How can we fail to see that this is part of a much wider current, which tends to isolate everyone in a bubble, from which the weakest will still not be able to emerge? How can we fail to see that by acting in this way, we reinforce the caste system, we lock up even more the society that is already fully crystallised today?
It is good to see minorities refusing to admit themselves as inferior, and showing pride in who they are. Pride in being different is vital.
But not in the name of a so-called difference in race, which does not exist. Nor of a skin colour, which cannot suffice to designate a human person. Nor of any other. Our differences are fortunately infinite.
I fully understand the need to promote the presence of minorities in all places of power and life. I am in favour of the introduction of quotas, precisely in the name of a fight against racism, sexism and social injustice. But by explicitly displaying them as being there only to create the conditions for their uselessness.
It is up to the State to offer everyone the same opportunities, with the same duties. And it does it very badly everywhere. Especially in France. This is what we must not resign ourselves to. By all means. It is at the birth of national communities that are united, open, fluid, mobile, members of the one community of all men, that we must work. Tirelessly.