Monday, March 28, 2011

Situation I Will Analyze and Why

After further considering my final paper, I have decided to change my two aspects of colonialism from dehumanization and the mark of the plural to assimilation and dehumanization because the topic that I have chosen lends itself to these topics much more freely. Since I did my Spanish capstone on the Arab’s influence on Spain, I find it only fitting that I should do my French capstone on the Arabs in France. With this in mind, I plan to examine the current situation in France in regards to the Muslims living there and how they are treated in the French society.

Sadly, this is a very bleak aspect of French society to analyze. Throughout the past half century, many Arabs have decided to come to France to try to start a new life for themselves and their families. Through this immigration, France has seen a variety of new problems arise. These problems are quite closely related to my two terms in many cases. For example, dehumanization is almost second nature to many French citizens when talking about the Beurs (Arabs who were born on French soil). For example, in Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, the author, Jean-Benoit Nadeau, states that “during the three years [he] was in France, [he] very rarely heard anyone say anything positive about multiculturalism.” He goes on to mention that this profound distaste for Arabs penetrates almost every aspect of daily life, relating a story that when he told his taxi driver where he was staying, the driver went off on a rant about how terrible the Arab effects on society are. The author goes so far as to mention les préfets who could never seem to find enough time to devote to the Beurs as they devoted to voting French citizens.

In terms of assimilation, the Beurs have been trying but are finding this process exceedingly difficult. Nadeau discuses how the Arab immigrants had not been extended the right to vote until 2002. Fortunately, this is definitely a sign that the difficulty involved with assimilation may be beginning to break down, but there is still a long way to go before the Beurs are able to enjoy the true feeling of assimilation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Aspects of Colonialization that Interest me and why

Many of the terms that we have studied so far this year are of quintessential importance when discussing contemporary international world politics. For this reason, I have found quite a few of them to be extremely interesting to me. Some of the most prominent of these are dehumanization and the mark of the plural, which are both intimately related.

Before discussing dehumanization, it is important to understand its meaning. Within the scope of this blog, the most suitable definition for dehumanization is when a group of people, through their actions, proclaims the inferiority of another group of people. This tactic is often exploited during colonization and other ventures in which a hegemony finds it necessary to oppress another group of people. However, a notable modern day example of dehumanization is present in contemporary Israel. Here, the Jews have come back to the country as a haven from WWII Europe, but in return they have wreaked havoc on the Palestinian population. Since they are not God’s chosen people, the Jews feel they have the right to kick them out of their houses and displace the entire population.

Similarly, the mark of the plural has played a huge role in politics and shifting the hearts and minds of people for millennia. This occurs when someone (or a group) harshly generalizes a group of people. For example, in today’s media, it is far too common to hear examples of the mark of the plural when discussing Muslims. News agencies often spew out hateful talking points that fit into this category almost haphazardly, as though they do not comprehend the pain it inflicts upon the people to which it is targeted. A very recent example could be seen over the debate about the Mosque at ground zero. News broadcasters were so offended that people could consider having something that represents so much hatred at the site of one of our countries most tragic disaster sites. To a certain extent they have some merit, but the vast majority of Muslims do not feel the way the terrorists that took the towers down did; therefore, it is unbelievable racist to claim that the “run of the mill” Muslim in the United States does not have the right to freely express their religious beliefs anywhere they want.