'Removing the word race won't end racism'


In a bid to help stamp out racism, Socialist Party presidential candidate François Hollande wants to make a small but significant amendment to article 1 of the French Constitution – the removal of the word “race”. But would that make any difference? Academic and human rights campaigner Danièle Lochak thinks not, dismissing the idea as merely “for show”. Here, in an interview with Mediapart's Carine Fouteau, she explains her reasoning.

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The first article of the French Constitution, written in 1958, asserts that France “shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion”. Recently the Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the presidential election François Hollande announced that if elected he will seek to get the Constitution changed in an attempt to fight racism. “There is no place in the [French] Republic for race,” Hollande told a meeting in Paris on 10th March. “And that is why the day after the presidential election I will ask Parliament to remove the word race from our Constitution.”