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Is French white? Here’s why the question is misleading

is french white

Is French white? There is some confusion about the topic. Let’s try to explain why.

Is French white?

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s normal for the French to be a bit color-blind, the answer is no. It’s not because they want to seem less ‘racialized’ regarding race or any other discriminatory reason.

It’s a result of how France has been racially stratified since its inception as a nation. Today’s three main racial groupings in France are Caucasian (meaning white), Black African, and Arab.

Each of these groups still has cultural ties with their ancestral countries, making them feel most at home. French society is largely made up of these three groupings.

They can live anywhere in the country and speak languages that are common among them. Because of this, French people can easily distinguish between different races as long we don’t look too closely at individual cases.

What is a “French person”?

As a French citizen, you’re likely to be of one of the three main racial groupings. The country’s racial makeup is about 75% Caucasian, 15% Black African and about 5% Arab.

There are also people of other ethnicities, such as French people of Asian descent, who are often not considered part of the main racial groupings. More than 80% of the French population is either Caucasian or Arab.

Why do French people struggle to see races?

French people struggle to discern racial boundaries because they’re made up of three main racial groupings. When you’re a member of two of these racial groupings, you’re likely to be more than enough ‘evidence’ to let the other know where you are in the race.

The racial boundaries in France are much more muted than in some other countries, making race all the more unimportant to French people.

The history of race in France

The concept of race in France has a long and complicated history. Initially, the country was a colony of the Spanish empire. As you may have heard, Spain was one of the first countries to have a prominent notion of race.

The Spanish racialized the indigenous people of the Americas, categorizing them as either ‘pure’ or ‘mixed’, to set them apart from one another. The Spanish empire, which governed parts of what are now France, Spain, and Portugal, then took this racial ideology to their colonies.

At first, the racial hierarchy was very similar to that of Spain. The indigenous people in the Americas were classified as ‘mixed’, while people who looked like Spaniards were ‘pure’.

When the French took over the Spanish empire in the 18th century, they continued to use the racial hierarchy of the Spaniards with a few tweaks.

A key distinction was that the French racialized the indigenous people of the Americas as ‘Black’ instead of ‘mixed’. This allowed them to maintain their racial hierarchy while also colonizing the Americas.

How many people are part of what racial group?

The racial makeup of France is made up of three main racial groupings. The racial groupings are Caucasian, Black African, and Arab. 12 million out of 63 million is part of the Caucasian racial grouping.

Most of them are French people, but other people from European countries like Belgium, Britain, Spain, and Germany, as well as from former colonies like Canada and Algeria, are also part of this racial group.

The Black African racial group accounts for about 5% of the population and includes people from France, as well as other countries in West and Central Africa.

The remaining 65% of the population is part of the Arab racial grouping. They come from countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.

The average Frenchman’s view on race and why it matters so little

The racial history of France explains why the average French person has little knowledge of the race. It also explains why they have so little interest in it.

The racial hierarchy during French colonial rule remains largely in place, even though France no longer occupies the same racial boundaries as in the 18th century.

The racial hierarchy in France is also made up of three main racial groupings, like other Western nations. The country’s racial makeup is about 75% Caucasian, 15% Black African and about 5% Arab.

There are also people of other ethnicities, such as French people of Asian descent, who are often not considered part of the main racial groupings.

Final words

Whether French people are “just” color-blind is good, but it’s also misleading. It doesn’t matter if French people are color-blind regarding racial boundaries because they’re made up of three main racial groupings.

Their racial boundaries are muted, so the race is less important to them as a society. The racial history of France explains why the average French person has little knowledge of race and so little interest in it.

The racial hierarchy during French colonial rule remains largely in place, even though France no longer occupies the same racial boundaries as in the 18th century.

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