French Government Responds To Terror Attacks With Campaign Against ‘Populism’

French Ministry of Labour, Employment, Vocational Training and Social Dialogue

The left wing French government has unveiled a  €100 million campaign against “racism” — despite terror attacks last year being committed by Muslims against non-Muslims.

Evidently finding populism more of a threat to the country than Islamic terrorism, the French government launched its first major communications campaign to “fight racism and discrimination” as part of a wider strategy announced last year.

Giant posters portray job seekers with their faces split in half — white and non-white — with the tagline “Skills First.” Next to the white side are messages such as: “You start Monday” and “Welcome to the team”; while on the non-white side, messages such as: “You don’t have the right profile” and “We’ll get back to you” appear.

The posters claim that depending on their name and address, some candidates are four times more likely to be asked to interview than others.  This is despite real-world evidence showing that employers actually discriminate in favour of candidates living in “ghettos”, or those who have a migrant background.

Candidates with a migrant background or who are living in “sensitive urban zones”  — people with migrant backgrounds comprising the vast majority of residents in these areas  — had a one in 10 chance of getting an interview, compared to a one in 8 chance for those living elsewhere.

Despite this gap being small, the French government piloted a scheme in 2009 in which CVs were anonymous, meaning that they did not state the candidates’ names, ages or addresses.

The scheme intended to “reduce the opportunity gap,” working on the assumption that employers were failing to interview as many people with migrant backgrounds and from “ghettos” because of racial prejudice.

However, reviewing the pilot scheme, researchers concluded that the interview rate differential becomes even more unfavourable to those from minority backgrounds and from these urban zones.

These “unexpected” results could be related to the fact that “named” CVs allow the recruiter to be more “understanding of the deficiencies” of the applicant (such as “ ‘holes’ in their curriculum and less experience”) being due to their social conditions.

The recruiter may then operate a form of “positive discrimination” by inviting applicants to interview that they otherwise would not have unless they understood their backgrounds – which negates the implication by such initiatives that employers are systematically racist.

The new plan, which the government says will span three years, includes a variety of proposals “from deepening sanctions and the Internet fight against hate speech, to launching school and citizen education programmes,” DW reported.

Gilles Clavreul, head of DILCRA (the “Interministerial Delegate for the fight against racism and anti-Semitism”), the government body overseeing the campaign, said:

“We cannot just sit and watch rising populism, extremism and radicalism in all its forms become a threat in the middle of our Republic.”

As part of the campaign, DILCRA launched six 30-second TV spots re-enacting “real life” racist and anti-Semitic acts such as a black man being beaten up, “distraught” Muslims discovering a pig’s head attached to a mosque gate, and the words “death to Jews” written on the door of a synagogue.


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