The U.S. President Donald Trump was elected a few weeks ago and this was to me a confirmation of a trend that I had been discerning for some time in the media, in politics, but also in society overall. A degradation of respect or at least a certain restraint on the part of extremists of all kinds, repressed xenophobes and others who are allergic to difference.
Moreover, we see it with the more than suspicious increase of death or “murders” of African-Americans for some time…
This reflection was heavy on my mind with the last presidential election a few years ago with the slightly tinted remarks of our former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and then it continued with the remarks of French public figures, especially from politicians (men and women) who literally gave insulting speeches that did not raise much protests or reprimands. Certainly there have been some outrage and some judicial blasts coming from the black community, but at the media level, it was felt like the pouring of water on sand.
One woman politician talked about “Negroes” (Laurence Rossignol), another one mentioned “Negro music” (Henry de Lesquen), as a literary and French language enthusiast, I wondered if there were no other adjectives and names more relevant to our history and to simple decency.
Today, it is important to question the place of the black man in the western and even in the global society, since we can also observe cases of racist violence in Asian countries and particularly in the Middle East. Aside from that, it is important to understand how people speak to us and to observe well the words they use. Because it is in these words, in the choice they make and in the vocabulary they use that the respect and acceptance of these people towards our community are perceived.
It is therefore alarming to see that racist and xenophobic words are released beyond those who have those labels already attached such as the right extremist groups. We see on a daily basis how people talk about each other and especially on social networks and on the Internet with degrading remarks. And the politicians, eternal followers that they are, surf on this unfortunate wave.
It is up to us to watch for this speech because words have a weight and a reality that should not be neglected. Words bind the mind the same way chains attach the body.