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PARIS (AP) — The mayor of Paris said Monday that a “clear solution” has been found with organizers of a festival for black feminists, an event that had aroused her ire because four-fifths of the festival space was to be open exclusively to black women.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo had strongly criticized and threatened to cancel the upcoming Nyansapo Festival a day earlier because it was “forbidden to white people.”

In a new series of tweets on the topic, Hidalgo said her “firm” discussion with organizers had yielded a satisfactory clarification: the parts of the festival held on property would be open to everyone and “non-mixed workshops will be held elsewhere, in a strictly private setting.”

MWASI, the Afro-feminist collective sponsoring the three-day event, responded to the mayor’s latest comments by saying it hadn’t changed the festival program “an inch.”

“That’s what was planned from the beginning,” the collective said of how the public and private spaces would be assigned.

Anti-racism associations and far-right politicians in France both had criticized the event over the weekend for scheduling workshops limited to a single gender and race.

France defines itself as a country united under one common national identity, with laws against racial discrimination and to promote secularism to safeguard an ideal that began with the French Revolution.

On Sunday, Hidalgo had said she would call on authorities to prohibit the cultural festival and might call for the prosecution of its organizers on grounds of discrimination.

“I firmly condemn the organization of this event in Paris (that’s) ‘forbidden to white people,'” Hidalgo had written.

Telephone calls to MWASIwere not immediately returned Monday.

The group describes itself on its website as “an Afro-feminist collective that is part of the revolutionary liberation struggles” and is open to black and mixed-race women.

The program for the first annual Nyansapo Festival, which is set to run July 28-30 partly at a Paris cultural center, stated that 80 percent of the event space only would be accessible to black women.

Other sessions were designed to be open to black men and women from minority groups that experience racial discrimination, and one space was scheduled to be open to everyone regardless of race or gender.

Organizers said on the event’s website that “for this first edition we have chosen to put the accent on how our resistance as an Afro-feminist movement is organized.”

Prominent French rights organization SOS Racism was among civil rights groups condemning the festival, calling it “a mistake, even an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race.”

The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), meanwhile, called the festival a “regression” and said American civil rights icon “Rosa Parks must be turning in her grave.”

Identity politics remain a recurrent hot potato in a nation where collecting data based on religious and ethnic backgrounds is banned and the wearing of religious symbols — such as face-covering veils — in public is prohibited.

This approach, known to the French as “anti-communitarianism,” aims to celebrate all French citizens regardless of their community affiliations.

Last week, several women attempting to stage a “burkini party” were detained in Cannes after a ban against the full-body beachwear favored by some Muslim women was upheld in a fresh decree.

___

Philippe Sotto contributed to this story. Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

PHOTO:  Zinneke         Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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16 thoughts on “Paris Mayor Upset Over All-Black Woman Festival

  1. Sometimes especially for African/Black peoples there is a need to have a space and place to meet just for themselves, in order to confront and work out issues among themselves. El Hajj Malik Shabazz ( Min. Malcolm X ) covered this in his famous “Message to The Grassroots” speech. Other racial/ethnic groups have meetings and other gatherings without the benefit of an African/Black presence and have been doing so for centuries. They just had an African economic summit, but boldly didn’t invite any African representatives. Little was heard or done about it. This mayor from Paris, France was among the many silent voices… Just as were many of you.

  2. Passing Through! on said:

    No surprise white Europeans are racist as hell just like the white racist in Amerkkka. White supremacy is a global, nationwide sickness. “France defines itself as a country united under one common national identity, with laws against racial discrimination” GTFOH!!! They’re in fear that black people may become empowered, and France doesn’t EVER want a Barak Obama in charge of their country. That’s just a nice passive way of keeping black people in submission. They don’t want any type of ethnic festivals, parades or marches that might empower some Black or minority person into believing that they can become President and that white people aren’t superior. Donald Trump has exposed the stupid of racist, he looks like a bumbling fool in comparison to President Obama. He’s too f**king stupid to hide his ignorance, he embarrasses the good white folks (supremist) who believes that they are superior. If France is so united and equal, where are all of the black leaders and politicians?

    • Carole on said:

      Paid person stop the madness. Black people weren’t lazy when your people came over and brought us here to build this country that you stole from the Indians. We cooked for you clean house sexed your men and took care your bad ass kids lol

    • TWILA BROWN on said:

      And you’re the perfect example of superior right? With such elementary thoughts, grammar no wonder you have all the time to post ignorance…go back to freaking ya daughter and building a new trailer for your offbreeds. I’m going back to work now…#juststupid

    • My Opinion on said:

      Jackass Johnson, why don’t you go find the highest bridge and jump. You are a miserable little bigot peon, troll. Get off and stay off web sites that cater to our beautiful blackness. We know you’re jealous because you have that pale, leper skin. You are the dumbest piece of trash on the face of earth, you useless moron.

  3. African American Woman on said:

    What do we want? We cry about not being included, then we cry because we can’t have our thing…

  4. FallMornings on said:

    @John, please don’t respond to PJ’s rants. He apparently gets off on upsetting bloggers. It his thing.

    • My Opinion on said:

      Jackass Johnson, You Ofay, inbred, redneck, cracker we know you’re a hateful bigot find something better to do with you lonely miserable self. You racist hate monger as I’ve said numerous times before, you hate us so much stay off this site and others that cater to us Beautiful Black and Brown people. Your mad because we love ourselves aren’t you peckerwood?

      • African American Woman on said:

        Other groups of folks have their own societies, meeting groups, think tanks, ethnic pride groups, etc…amongst themselves in their communities…why are we the ONLY group of people who feel that we have to force our agenda and issues on everyone else…we need to worry about ourselves,meet amongst ourselves, support ourselves and each other and make goals for ourselves…damn, are we more interested in begging for the white man’s attention or making real progress in our communities???

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