Let our next greatest achievement be realizing the dream of full equality for all of us ...

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Mayor of Paris Seeks to Ban City’s 1st Afro-Feminist Festival Because It Excludes ‘White People’

Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images
Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Paris is buggin’. Or at least its mayor is. She says she will ask the city to formally ban Paris’ first Afro-feminist festival on the grounds that it is discriminatory against “white people.”

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Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo made her announcement on Twitter, adding that she reserved the right “to prosecute the organizers for discrimination,” because 80 percent of the festival will not be open to everyone.

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The Nyansapo festival, which says its objective is to build “Afro-feminist strategies to end racial, patriarchal, colonial and capitalist violence,” is scheduled to take place July 28-30.

Organized by the Afro-feminist collective Mwasi, the festival was set to take place in four venues—with three of the four gatherings to be exclusively for black women, black people and “women experiencing the racist hegemony,” while the fourth one would be open to everyone.

Telesur reports that the mayor’s statemen came after supporters of the far right—including the racist National Front party headed by Marie LePen—took to social media over the weekend to decry the event in what the festival’s organizers deem a “campaign of disinformation and fake news orchestrated by the extreme right.”

Interestingly, so-called anti-racist organizations like Licra joined the fray, as did SOS Racisme, which, according to The Guardian, described the Afro-feminist event as “a mistake, even an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race” (because, hey, nothing brings whites together like anti-blackness).

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Defending their event in a statement, Mwasi noted that no one seemed to have a problem with [white] women-only groups and also said it was “saddened to see some anti-racist associations let themselves be manipulated.”

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Mwasi also denounced the fact that a socialist mayor could echo the claims of the far right and said that the festival never publicly “prohibited white people,” as Hidalgo claimed.

Mwasi further noted that only the public event is to take place in a venue owned by the city of Paris, and therefore, the mayor has no jurisdiction over the others.

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Read more at Telesur and The Guardian.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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DISCUSSION

weapon-a
weapon-a the first try suffers no trolls

The trolls on this site... SMGDH... They are so obsessed with people of color having *ANYTHING* which doesn’t include them, that they can’t resist adding unhinged comments which are dismissive, insulting, ignorant, and add nothing to the conversation. I genuinely wonder what is wrong with people who feel the need to spend hours of their lives commenting on a site they actively despise.

Anyway...This sounds more like a symposium than a pure festival. Conferences exclusive to a particular group to work on issue resolution is not uncommon. If Frenchmen of Irish ancestry scheduled conferences to work towards resolving issues they face in France or in Ireland, people might give them sideeye, but would they really object when those issues to be discussed are genuine? It’s bullshit false equivalence when racist, and violent groups try to exclude people. This isn’t that. There are very real, *substantial* issues that people of color experience in Europe in general, and specifically France. Those issues need a forum for discussion which won’t be disrupted by trolls and others who would attempt to derail that good work. My reading is that the actual festival part of this *is* open to everyone.