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Is there a French Affirmative Action Policy?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. French policies aimed at affirmative action.
    1. The idea of bringing in affirmative action into French integration policies.
    2. The topic 'is there a French affirmative action policy?'
    3. Territorial discrimination for education.
    4. Easing access to employment for disadvantaged people.
    5. The policy 'la parite'.
  3. The absence of affirmative action programs aimed at ethnical minorities.
  4. The main criteria for affirmative action policies in France.
    1. Social and economic standards.
    2. Deficiency in nature, acknowledged by the whole society.
    3. Territorial discrimination and the importance of the environment.
  5. The differences between France and America with regards affirmative action.
  6. The word 'discrimination'.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Bibliography.

Affirmative action was born in the United States. It was originally designed to favour Black people, whose ancestors where slaves. Then, such programs extended to other underprivileged categories of the population: the disabled, the women, the Latinos. The first to use the phrase ?Affirmative action? was President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1961. The core idea was that despite civil rights laws, increasing equality required to promote Black people to upper social categories, for instance through an easier access to university. At that period were also created some jobs reserved to ethnic minorities. Nevertheless, quotas were never used to enforce this policy. The Supreme Court even stated in 2003, that quotas are against the constitution. Indeed, the federal government had to plan pro-minorities laws, without ever using the quotas. The results that came out of this policy in the United States seem to be cheering. Indeed, in 1960, only 13 % of the Black people in the United States belonged to the middle-class. Today, this figure amounts 66 %.

[...] The second obstacle to affirmative action policies aimed at ethnical minorities and women is the very idea of discrimination, which involves questioning the French meaning of equality. Accepting to discriminate reversely a category of the population requires acknowledging this category has been discriminated before. Actually, the French republican framework does not acknowledge such differences based upon one's nature. The French motto: ?Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite? emphasis its faith into equality among citizens. Therefore, the idea of privileging some people because of their origin or gender is at odds with the fact that these categories are not viewed as modifying our statute of citizen. [...]


[...] Moreover, the French equalitarian dogma, strengthened throughout the republican generations, prevents France from implementing a formal distinction among its citizens. As a consequence, we can say there is a specific French affirmative action if we consider this phrase as ?policies to promote underprivileged people?. But we cannot say there is a French affirmative action if we think about this phrase as discriminations to compensate racial prejudices. Anyway, these two policies share most of their goals. The first one is to make underprivileged people more visible and therefore to turn them into patterns for the Young. The second goal [...]


[...] On the topic of the differences between France and America as regards affirmative action, Nicolas Sarkozy, the right hand candidate running for the presidential ballots, recently re-launched the polemic on French criteria for affirmative action policies: law compels public administration to have of their staff suffering from a handicap. What is that, if not a quota? I would like someone to tell me why it is normal to have affirmative action policies aimed at women or handicapped, and why it is nor normal to extend them to coloured people?[5]?. [...]

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