A Paris musician's story: 'I got rid of everything Asian-related so I'd seem as white as possible'

France — Report

As part of Mediapart's ongoing series about everyday hate in France, Céline, aged 24, who is now a musician in Paris, and who was born in France to a French father and a Mongolian mother, describes how she suffered from racism during her childhood in the west of the country. The harm was caused, she says, by racism in general and prejudices about women of Asian origin in particular, prejudices linked to the hyper-sexualisation and fetishization of the body. Léa Dang reports.

'I thought I'd blend in': the naturalised Congo-born woman who adopted a French first name


Late in 2022 the far-right polemicist and former presidential candidate Éric Zemmour stood trial accused of verbal abuse of a racial nature. This followed a comment he made to television presenter Hapsatou Sy that African names such as hers were an “insult to France”; the verdict will be delivered in January. As part of a series about people who have suffered everyday hatred in France, Mediapart spoke to a young woman who came here from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 as a child and who herself later chose to adopt a more “French-sounding” first name - in her case, Caroline. At the time, she says, the far-right were knocking on the doors of power, she wanted to become a French citizen and she felt her new name would help her 'blend in' with French society. Instead, says Caroline, she lost her way. Lou Syrah reports.

French footballers banned from wearing headscarves stage their own tournament

France — Report

Wearing a headscarf or hijab during a football match is authorised by the sport's world governing body FIFA. But they remained banned for official games in France. A group of Muslim women players are fighting against this discriminatory policy and are calling on the French football authorities, the Fédération Française de Football (FFF), to change their rules. As part of that battle the group, known as Les Hijabeuses, organised a football tournament on the outskirts of Paris. Mickaël Correia reports.

Because ‘our time has come'

France — Opinion

A fiery debate has erupted in France over the holding of meetings on issues of discrimination to which are admitted only those who are affected by such prejudice. In this opinion article, Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel says the furore over such gatherings is but the latest offensive against the self-organisation of those who are dominated in society, whether that be because of their appearance, religion, gender or social condition.

French parliament outlaws accent discrimination

France — Link

The French lower house, the National Assembly, has adopted legislation making linguistic discrimination an offence along with racism, sexism and other outlawed bigotry.

PSG announce 'probe' into Mediapart ethnic profiling revelations

France — Link

French football club Paris Saint-Germain said on Thursday it was investigating Mediapart's revelations that its youth talent scouts were required to report on players' ethnic origins in a scheme of racial discrimination against those who were black and of Arab family origin.

French online property rentals 'blocking those with Arabic names'

France — Link

An anti-discrimination association is preparing legal action against property owners advertising holiday homes online who a French radio investigation has found turned away potential renters with North African names for no reason other than their Arabic names, a practice described by one journalist as affecting 'tonnes of people each day'. 

Paris authorities champion the obese in anti-discrimination event

France — Link

The Paris City Hall is this week staging an event highlighting discrimination forms including a catwalk show of  rounded models who will parade to raise awareness that overweight people are subject to prejudice that results in intolerable social 'rejection, disdain' and 'hostility'.

Outrage over French estate agent advert specifying 'no blacks'

France — Link

The racist advert, placed in an estate agent's office in a Paris suburb and subsequently photographed and posted on social media, demanded that candidates to become tenants of an apartment should be of French nationality and not black.

French rail firm SNCF found guilty of discriminating against Moroccan staff

France — Link

Railway company ordered to pay 150 million euros damages to more than 800 contract workers recruited in the 1960s and 1970s.

Racism is main jobs obstacle for France's second-generation immigrants

France — Link

Reports says that discrimination is 'main source of inequality' in France for young men of sub-Saharan African or north African origins.

Why being gay, a woman or from an immigrant background is still bad for your career in modern France

France — Analysis

Discrimination is alive and kicking in France, according to a study by the state's official statistical agency INSEE. Whether it involves education, career progression, pay or getting access to housing, there are obstacles and hurdles at all levels of society for disabled, women and gay people as well as those from immigrant backgrounds. Nor does having good qualifications always make the situation better - indeed, in some cases the inequality gets worse higher up the workplace ladder. As Carine Fouteau reports, the study suggests there is a real need for more concrete action despite the pledges and fine words from President Hollande and his government.

Roma 'prohibited' by drivers from travelling on Paris buses

France — Investigation

The French citizens’ rights watchdog, the Défenseur des droits, is investigating a complaint that a bus driver with the Paris public transport system, the RATP, refused to let three young Roma men with valid travel passes climb aboard his vehicle, allegedly saying ‘dirty Romanians, you’re like dogs’. Witnesses have come forward to confirm the incident which, as Carine Fouteau reports, is just one of a series involving allegedly discriminatory behaviour against Roma by RATP staff, and which drivers' union officials say they “cannot deny” happen.

The small, the fat and the not-so-pretty, victims of a vast and secret discrimination

France — Analysis

An official French citizens’ rights watchdog has launched an investigation into allegedly discriminatory recruitment practices by fashionable US clothes retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch, which is accused of selecting only physically attractive people as sales staff for its French stores. As Michaël Hajdenberg reports, the affair highlights a problem that several studies show affects vast numbers of people on the job market, whose professional opportunities are daily compromised by a secret discrimination over their weight, size or blemishes.

Air France fined in pro-Palestinian activist case

France — Link

French court has found airline guilty of discrimination for removing a pro-Palestinian activist from a flight to Israel because she was not Jewish.