Blacks in France and the villages of Bambola: general racism (…)

Blacks in France Documentary directed by journalist Aurelia Pereau and narrated by Franco-Congolese writer Alain Mabanco, 2 hours 01 minutes

Other than the color of their skin and the racism they face, blacks living in this country have little in common. They belong to different strata and social classes, come from families from different countries, adhere to this or that religion or are staunch atheists.

Some are known to the general public, such as Yannick Noah, and others are largely anonymous. For everyone, this documentary gives the floor to try to understand how they have encountered racism from a very young age and how many have more or less consciously internalized it since the day a kid threw at them at school “did you eat too much chocolate?”, or even “you Did you poop? »

One of the most instructive and moving scenes is when the black children are given two dolls, one black and one white, and asked which they prefer. And, inevitably, they prefer white. A little girl explains her preference that all her friends are white and later, she will apply cream to whiten her skin. These men and women describe the insults they regularly experience in the form of comments, jokes or annoyances. Also welcome are the songs that appeared on television in the late 1980s, called Cannibals and Ya des Papos, or even children’s show host Dorothy appearing in a bowl surrounded by black cannibals, laughing at the idea of ​​a good meal they were about to make.

Some would then return to the United States in search of symbolic figures who would give them, or give them back, the pride of being black – Arthur Ashe, Muhammad Ali, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Charlie Parker, Nina Simone… – but more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement. .

A pity, however: this fascinating documentary only touches on the deep and historical roots of this systemic racism that permeates entire societies, particularly colonial exploitation, the slave trade, and the relegation of an entire segment of humanity. citizen

Bambaula villageA film by Yoann de Montgrand and François Tchernia, narrated by Jean-Pascal Zadi, a France 3 Pays de la Loire and Hauteville Production co-production, 52 min.

In 1992, an animal park called Le Safari African was built in Port-Saint-Père, a suburb of Nantes. It is a huge zoo where visitors travel by car and with their families, to admire the African wildlife housed there and live there during the day in the open air. The company is supported by the Lower-Atlantic division and the Pays de la Loire region.

It turns out that this African safari coincides exactly with the marketing position of a local company, the Saint-Michel biscuit factory, whose flagship product is a chocolate shortbread called Bambola. He became a patron of the zoo and of course decided to rebuild it inside an Ivorian village called Bambola. And, with the green light of the government authorities, 25 men, women and children (musicians, artisans and dancers) were brought from Côte d’Ivoire, whose passports were confiscated, who were forbidden to leave the park, who lived in deplorable conditions. and who are paid half of the minimum wage. A portion of this money goes directly into the group leader’s pocket or is spent on food and accommodation. African artisans are supposed to show off their skills to the audience, but several times a day young girls are forced to dance, some topless, to the delight of onlookers of all stripes. There is no doctor to take care of them and we entrust this task to a veterinarian. It will take six months of struggle by anti-apartheid organizations, the League of Human Rights, SIMED and CGT Spectacle to close this human zoo. 1er In July 1997, the justice will officially recognize the attack on human dignity and condemn the payment of francs symbolic of the damages to the associations of the people in charge of the African safari. Those bastards were doing pretty well.

Gene Levine

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