Sunday, May 13, 2012

Term Paper Simplified...

Sooo, about that term paper...

It was enormously long.  And more or less unreadable if you have taken the class (Literary Criticism), but in short:

A vacuum was created after the Cold War for an ideological "other"* in the political landscape of Europe, and North America.  In France, Muslims filled the void after they came to be viewed as a threat in the 1970s, after Muslims in the Eastern European/Turkey region were said to have supposedly been planning a genocide of Serbs.  After this, the political climate in France demonized Muslims.  Certain fringe groups sent out pamphlets warning of the dangers of Islam (1970s to 80s).  An anti-Islamic view has been used as a platform for many politicians since then, and has led to the much-publicized anti-hijab and anti-niqaab legislation.  Recently, the politician Marine Le Pen called supposed Islamic threats "nauseating," and "disgusting."  (Of a murder of a politician that occurred -- that her political party claimed was committed by a Muslim, although evidence said otherwise.)s

The French justify the stigmatization of Muslims through two ideas:  secularism, and xenophobia.  Secularism is the belief that governments should operate entirely outside of the realm of religion.  This, applied in France, has led to the justification of the banning of hijab, as it is said to represent a "threat" to French society.  The irony is, the French government heavily subsidizes French schools -- most of which are Catholic.  So clearly, Muslims are being targeted. Xenophobia is the fear of the foreign.  This is part of the culture of France, and is actually a part of their education program. Young students are taught that it is perfectly natural to be scared or suspicious as things deemed foreign.  One of my sources was actually a Jewish-American woman living in France who was assured that she was not an immigrant, "because she was white, and middle-class."  So really, xenophobia is used as a way of justifying racism against Northern African and Middle Eastern immigrants, as justified by secularism, as justified by anti-Islamic politicians.  All of this leads to strong anti-Muslim sentiments and the laws to back these sentiments up.  And this, my friends, is all part of "French Nationalism."


*An ideological "other," in terms of literary criticism, is basically idea that exists in direct opposition to another idea.  So, in racial terms, white people sometimes view people of color as an ideological "other:"  something that is unknown, foreign, and exists in opposition to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment