Writer Malik Nashad Sharpe believes that it’s possible to mourn those lost in the Charlie Hebdo attack and stand with those that have been harmed by racist and Islamophobic sentiments in France.

Today, I mourn with French society, especially the families who have lost their loved ones to violence during yesterday’s attack at Charlie Hebdo. I also stand in solidarity with all of the Brown people in France, who, because of media fear-mongering, and Islamist-blame-gaming, will be further excluded from French society by State-condoned racism.

I’m not French, but one doesn’t need to be in order to see how deeply racism runs throughout French, and Western, societies. The ruthless murders of cartoonists– cultural producers who were questionably using their art to dispel (or perpetuate?) racism to an already discriminatory public in the name of free speech–and the counter-attacks against everyday Muslims, who would prefer this incident not be blamed on their entire, diverse, multi-faceted community, provides us with another opportunity to think through solutions to violence issued on behalf of the State and those retaliating to such violence in the form of extremism.

France, like every Western country, ruthlessly excludes Brown/Black people by using discourses of exceptionalism to dispel claims of State-perpetuated racism in order to protect racist hatred under the guise of free speech. Take a look at the Parisian suburbs, Clichy-sous-Bois and Seine-Saint-Denis. Look back at France’s imperialist occupation of Algeria, or the French parliament, and one can easily tease out how obviously anti-Black/Brown French culture has been and become.

But France is not alone, anti-blackness runs deep throughout the West, most particularly among White people who have enslaved Brown/Blacks, have deprived us, murdered us, appropriated our cultures and claimed them as their own, lynched us, isolated us, and tortured us, in the name of the State.

Read more at the Feminist Wire.

Photo: Charlie Hebdo

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