‘War on African Culture’ as French Schools Ban ‘Teeth-Sucking’


Schools across France are going to war with a well-known African sign of disapproval – ‘kissing’ or ‘sucking’ teeth – by banning the “vulgar” noise in the classroom.

Explaining his decision to ban the disrespectful noise at his Parisian schools, deputy headmaster Eric Bongo said: “It’s extremely vulgar. I grew up in Africa and when I was young it was forbidden to ‘suck-teeth’ at others.

“I explained this to my colleagues and now it is forbidden at the school, just like any insult, because it is rude”.

He said it was necessary to teach pupils that while they may suck teeth or use particular language at home, it was important to adapt to a more accepted, standard “cultural code” at school in preparation for the real world, and the workplace. TheLocal.fr reports that several children have been thrown out of the classroom for making the noise, at teachers or at each other.

The noise has become increasingly common in France, as well as other Western nations as it has become more accepted in society. It has now reached a level of acceptance quite removed from a time recently when, it is claimed by the Guardian’s Hugh Muir, that doing it within earshot of a police officer could lead to arrest.

In Britain, a traffic cop escaped a jail sentence last year after reacting angrily to taxi driver Adebowale Odomosu, who repeatedly kissed his teeth at him despite being warned to desist during a traffic stop.

Odomosu, who was suspected of running taxis illegally out of Heathrow airport was grabbed around the throat by PC Robert Hughes, who squeezed until his eyes were “bulging from his head”.


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