Survey: French Becoming More Racist

Reuters, March 21, 2006

PARIS, France—One third of French people say they are racist, a French human rights watchdog said on Tuesday, after a survey that showed an increase from last year in the number of people who acknowledged being racist.

Some 33 percent of 1,011 people surveyed face-to-face by pollsters CSA said they were “somewhat” or “a little” racist, up 8 percentage points from last year, according to an annual report by the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights.

The poll asked the question “When it comes to you personally, would you say you are . . . ” followed by a list of options: somewhat racist, a bit racist, not racist, not very racist, not racist at all and don’t want to say.

The poll revealed deep economic and social anxiety, Joel Thoraval, the commission’s president, said in a statement released to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

“Despite the efforts deployed to fight racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia there is still a long way to go,” he said.

The report, presented to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, was conducted from November 17-22, 2005, immediately after several weeks of rioting in poor suburbs around the country.

Thousands of cars were torched by youths who said they faced discrimination, police harassment and lack of access to jobs. Youth unemployment is as high as 50 percent in some poor urban areas.

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