French journalist convicted of “incitement to racial hatred” for saying that drug dealers are “mostly blacks and Arabs.”

Here is the story from The Guardian. See, following the article, my comment about the apparent impossibility of discussing racial issues—from the left or the right—in a country that officially denies the existence of race and ethnicity and keeps no ethnic and racial statistics.

French journalist convicted on racism charge over drug dealer comment

The controversial French journalist Eric Zemmour has been found guilty of incitement to racial hatred after telling a TV chatshow that drug dealers were mostly “blacks and Arabs.”

The Paris trial sparked a fierce debate over freedom of speech and the extent of France’s racism problem, which is poisoning the republican ideal that all citizens are equal regardless of colour. [LA replies: A good example of the fantastic logic of leftist thinking. The Guardian is suggesting that Zemmour’s “racism” contradicts the idea of “equality of all citizens regardless of color.” But if most drug dealers are blacks and Arabs, how is it a violation of “equality” if the police, in carrying out their duties and stopping and searching possible drug dealers, stop and search more blacks and Arabs than whites? Because in the mind of the left, equality of all citizens regardless of color doesn’t mean equality of all citizens under the law regardless of color, it means equality of all citizens in all human attributes, all behaviors, and all material and social outcomes regardless of color. Therefore, even to say that nonwhites commit certain crimes more than whites, is to “poison the republican ideal that all citizens are equal regardless of color.”]

Zemmour, a well-known media commentator and columnist for Le Figaro, prides himself on his outspoken defiance of what he deems political correct, woolly liberals.

He appeared on a chatshow last year when the debate turned to the question of the French police’s excessive use of stop and search powers against minorities. He said: “But why are they stopped 17 times? Why? Because most dealers are blacks and Arabs. That’s a fact.”

According to the French model, where everyone is theoretically equal under a state blind to race or religion, it is illegal to count ethnic minorities or race statistics. So there are no figures on the ethnic identity of criminals.

Zemmour was also fined for telling another TV channel that employers “had a right” to turn down black or Arab candidates. Job discrimination over race and ethnicity is thought to be widespread in France.

Zemmour, whose parents were Jewish Berbers who emigrated from Algeria in the 1950s, told the court he was not a “provocateur” but a faithful observer of reality who refused political correctness. He was backed by several centre-right politicians and some on the left.

The state prosecutor accused him of using the “old stereotype that linked immigration to crime.”

The Zemmour case has reflected an increasingly uneasy debate over immigration in France as Nicolas Sarkozy tries to win over the far-right vote before his difficult re-election battle next year.

The Front National, led by its new, young, female face, Marine Le Pen, is scoring its highest ever ratings in the polls after exploiting mistrust of Islam by criticising Muslim street prayers and halal-only restaurants.

After what was attacked as a disastrous national debate on “immigration and national identity,” Sarkozy is now seeking to outmanoeuvre the extreme right by launching a nationwide consultation on the role of Islam in the French secular state.

The debate, to be run by his ruling UMP party, will begin in April and will seek to impose rules on how Islam should work in France, which has the biggest Muslim population in Western Europe. Sarkozy told party members it was crucial because “yesterday’s racists are today’s populists.”

He said: “I don’t want prayers in the streets, or calls to prayer.” He said the decision to ban the niqab in public places from April was a good thing and now “we need to agree in principle about the place of religion.”

[end of article]

LA writes:

This mind-blowing story of a man being “convicted of incitement to racial hatred” for saying that blacks and Arabs commit drug crime more than other groups is short of facts on the case, and immediately goes off into other matters. It doesn’t even tell us whether it was a French or EU law that Zemmour was tried under, and what the penalty is. Is it a prison sentence? A fine?

What a Wonderland France is. They don’t do any ethnic counting. So they have no information on the number of blacks and Arabs who have been convicted of drug dealing (not to mention violent crime). So Zemmour would not have any statistics to back up his claim that most drug dealers are blacks and Arabs. But, ironically, at the same time, the minority activists would not have had the statistics to back up THEIR complaint about “French police’s excessive use of stop and search powers against minorities.” It was that complaint that Zemmour was replying to when he made the statement that got him in trouble.

So how can any racial issues be discussed in France? How can minorities argue that minorities are discriminated against, if there are no statistics on, say, minority arrests versus white arrests or minority employment versus white employment? In effect, they cannot argue that minorities are discriminated against. No one can complain of being discriminated against. Nor can anyone say that minorities engage disproportionately in the bad behaviors that result in whites discriminating against them. No one can say anything, on either side. The official truth—that race and ethnicity do not exist in France—rules all.

But, as we understand, blacks and Arabs do not do well in France, are not hired in many fields, are much poorer than whites, and remain residentially segregated. This is the reality underneath the official ideology of a universal nation. France claims to be an absolutely race-blind society, while it continues, in practice, to exclude nonwhites from much of the society, a fact that cannot be proven, since there are no ethnic statistics. But at the same time, when minorities do complain of being discriminated against, for example, when they say they are being stopped and searched disproportionately for drug crimes, no one is allowed to gainsay them by stating that the reason blacks and Arabs are disproportionately stopped and searched for drug crime is that they disproportionately commit drug crime. If you say that, you have “incited racial hatred”!

Under French and EU law, Heather MacDonald would have been convicted many times of “incitement of racial hatred,” for her important articles in City Journal and the New York Times (see this, this, and this) providing the statistics on black gun crime in New York City as the reason why the police stop and search blacks for guns more often than they stop and search whites. The police are not targeting blacks in order to target blacks. They are trying to stop gun crime. To do this, they concentrate on the neighborhoods where gun crime is concentrated, which are black neighborhoods. This naturally results in the “disproportionate” stopping and searching of blacks. To point out these realities would be, if we had French-style laws in America, a crime.

- end of initial entry -

Matthew C. writes:

You wrote:

“But at the same time, when minorities do complain of being discriminated against, for example, when they say they are being arrested disproportionately for drug crimes, no one is allowed to gainsay them by stating that the reason blacks and Arabs are disproportionately arrested for drug crime is that they disproportionately commit drug crime.”

It seems that the appropriate response to such a minority complaint is simply to say “Prove it”. On the one hand, if the minority begins to cite statistics to prove his point, then he is using ethnic statistics which evidently can only exist is some unofficial form in France. His statistics can thus be attacked on that basis. On the other hand, it he has no statistics then he has no evidence to back up his claim. Either way, the person who says “prove it” wins the argument.

LA replies:

On one hand, your idea makes sense. On the other, it means feeding into the same Alice-in-Wonderland French protocol by which racial realities cannot be discussed.

Paul K. writes:

Your post, “French journalist convicted of ‘incitement to racial hatred’,” reminded me of a recent “blogging heads” debate between Vesla Weaver, a left-wing professor at the University of Virginia, and Heather MacDonald on the subject of whether blacks are disproportionately charged with crime due to systemic racism. MacDonald demolished this argument by pointing out that arrests of blacks correspond with descriptions given in reports filed by victims, themselves overwhelmingly black. Then Weaver switched tactics. She blamed blacks’ crime rate on injustice, and demanded to know if MacDonald agreed with this, or else thought that blacks somehow had a predisposition to violence. MacDonald denied she thought that, and blamed the crime problem on the prevalence of single motherhood among blacks. Of course, this is a weak evasion, as the same traits that lead to crime also lead to lack of family formation, unemployment, drug use, and every other problem associated with the underclass. But under the existing rules of polite discussion, MacDonald cannot propose this as a possibility. In fact, everywhere on earth it can be observed that blacks commit violent crime at a rate beyond that of any other racial group. Majority black countries that are sufficiently organized to keep crime statistics, such as South Africa and Jamaica, have astonishingly high murder rates.

What particularly irked me was that as Weaver used this line of argument, she got a look of vicious satisfaction on her face, as if knowing that MacDonald could not defend herself with the unspeakable truth.

LA replies:

Excellent point. MacDonald goes up to a point on race differences, but no further. She will point out different racial behaviors, but she will not say that race itself is a factor in those behaviors. If she were asked why black high school seniors are four years behind whites in reading and math abilities, she would probably follow the Thernstroms’ evasive lead and say that this is because there aren’t enough charter schools.

* * *

February 20

Here is a January 14, 2011 article in the Australian that provides some evidence, from a former Socialist minister, supporting Eric Zemmour’s statement that most drug dealers are black or Arab:

French ethnic taboos on trial

RACIAL tensions in France have been laid bare at the trial of one of the country’s high-profile journalists accused of inciting hatred.

Eric Zemmour, 52, who has made his name breaching taboos on television and radio, is on trial after a complaint from five anti-discrimination groups

It was logical, he said in a TV broadcast, that police often checked the papers of minorities “because it is a fact that most drug dealers are black and Arab”.

French law forbids the collection or publication of statistics on racial origin, so he cannot prove the accuracy of his statement, although his accusers say the truth is irrelevant.

Zemmour has seized on the case to highlight what he sees as a refusal to face reality over ethnic matters. “I am not a provocateur. I say what I believe and what I see. Sometimes the reality is unbearable and brutal,” he told the court. “This is about freedom of expression. When you describe reality, you are treated as a criminal.”

The case has given Zemmour hero status with that sector of the public increasingly sympathetic to the argument of right-wing parties that France indulges immigrants from the former African and Caribbean colonies.

Marine Le Pen, about to succeed her father, Jean-Marie, as leader of the anti-immigrant National Front, watched Zemmour speaking outside the Paris Criminal Court and told The Times: “France is the only country in Europe where you are not allowed to state something that is true.”

Jean-Pierre Chevenement, a former Socialist Party senior minister, wrote to the court in his favour. “No doubt Mr Zemmour used overly blunt language but, alas, what he said was not materially untrue.” Police records showed more than 50 per cent of names of young convicts were “of Arab or African origin”, he said. .

The SOS Racism group, which led the criminal complaint, said of Zemmour: “He considers that blacks and Arabs must be suspect per se and he says it from a powerful media platform. We are very attached to freedom of expression, but that does not mean singling out groups for public contempt.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 19, 2011 08:57 AM | Send

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