Social media calls out France’s racism, islamophobia after 2018 World Cup win
After 20 years, France won its second World Cup championship this past Sunday, beating Croatia 4-2. While many celebrated the diverse makeup of the French team in the age of a xenophobic President Trump, many on social media were quick to point out the fact that France has racist and Islamophobic policies and social life of its own.
While the World Cup had five African countries participating, including Senegal and Nigeria, they all lost during the preliminary rounds. Many started to call the French team “the sixth African team” as it was mainly comprised of African immigrants.
But one viral tweet by a Muslim law professor, Khaled Beydoun, erupted an online firestorm of a discussion on French nationality, anti-Black racism, Muslims, and immigration. He states, “Dear France, Congratulations on winning the
#WorldCup. 80% of your team is African, cut out the racism and xenophobia. 50% of your team are Muslims, cut out the Islamophobia. Africans and Muslims delivered you a second World Cup, now deliver them justice.”
Congratulations on winning the #WorldCup.
80% of your team is African, cut out the racism and xenophobia.
50% of your team are Muslims, cut out the Islamophobia.
Africans and Muslims delivered you a second World Cup, now deliver them justice.
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) July 15, 2018
This is not the first time French football has been flooded with online reactions on racism. During the Euro 2016 games, many politicians made racist claims about North African players. Didier Claude Deschamps, the manager of France’s national football team, responded by excluding from the team then popular striker, Karim Benzema, a North African player who is one of France’s leading goal scorers.
Examples of racist policies include the mass incarceration of French Muslims who make up 60-70% of the prison population while only being 12% of the general population. Anti-Black racism steeps in cultural spaces as well. Earlier this year, Black French actresses protested the racism at the Cannes festival in the French film industry.
Some also criticized the impossible lengths non-white immigrants must climb to be celebrated in French society, such as the Malian Muslim immigrant who scaled a building to save a baby and was only then offered a French citizenship.