Racism reaches under the umbrella. This was demonstrated by an operation conducted in French Riviera from Sos Racisme at the end of July and which will lead, by the end of the summer, to the complaint against two noble establishments on the coast of Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. The teams of the French anti-racist association went into action on the morning of July 30th. Objective: to test the hospitality of the bathing establishments in the south of France and verify that there were no racist filters for those who ask for deckchairs, umbrellas and sunbeds (among other things at prices that are anything but free).
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The entire blitz was filmed and then broadcast from the site Loopsider. It provoked reactions in the French political class, up to the Ministry of Integration. Filmed by a hidden video camera, the boys of Sos Racisme showed up in pairs at the counters of the major seaside resorts on the coast. First a couple of black guys, and in two cases, the answer was peremptory: “We’re sorry everything is complete, even in the next few days, no deck chairs, no umbrella, not even in the last row.” Shortly after, two other guys showed up at the same entrances, this time from North Africa: the same answer, all sold out, no place on the golden sands of the coast.
Less than half an hour passes and the last couple sent by the association arrives, the so-called witness couple: two white boys. And as if by magic, umbrellas and deck chairs come out, not really in the front row, but in any case some places in the sun. “We are faced with a structural racism in our society, it is unbearable,” commented the radical left of France Insoumise. “It’s the reality of racism and discrimination,” tweeted Manuel Bompard, deputy and former director of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s presidential campaign. Socialist Senator Rachid Temal expressed himself in the same tones: «We are in 2022 in France and these are episodes of ordinary racism. We must strengthen the instruments of control, verification and also sanctions ».
For Sos Racisme, no surprise: “Racism does not exist only at work, when you come to a job interview, or to find a house that is to be rented or sold, racism also exists on vacation”, commented Aurore. Barbier, who coordinated the operation on the Côte d’Azur and who announced that the two plants caught in the act of racism will be denounced. Aurore had anticipated the operation with a series of telephone calls to many establishments: in several cases a name with an Arabic or African consonance was enough to make it impossible to book an umbrella, confirmed instead for more traditionally French surnames. It should be noted that on the day of the test in person, in eight other cases, the black and Maghreb boys obtained the same answers (regarding the availability of umbrellas and deck chairs) as their white peers, therefore without any discrimination at the entrance. .
“Racism is present in every moment for many of our fellow citizens, the spokespersons of the Greens of Europe Ecologie Chloé Sagaspe and Alain Coulombel deplored in a statement -. Strong decisions are needed that have profound effects ». For Eelv’s secretary Julien Bayou, “justice must be able to stop and heavily sanction unequivocally discriminatory behaviors such as those highlighted on the Côte d’Azur by Sos Racisme”.
“The result of our investigation is that out of ten private beaches tested, two showed severely discriminatory practices, Sos Racisme Secretary General Hermann Ebongue said. Of course we will denounce the two establishments, since it is important to remember that the laws of the Republic must be respected. But that’s not enough: we also intend to ask the prefect of the region and all the local representatives for an account ». The Minister for Diversity and Equal Opportunities Isabelle Rome spoke of facts that if confirmed are “very serious” and that new measures to combat discrimination will be contained “in the next national plan to fight racism and anti-Semitism”.
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