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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire #223 - Pierre Tevanian: "We spent a quiet racism racism worried" (fr) [machine translation]
Sun, 13 Jan 2013 13:37:26 +0200
Pierre Tevanian is professor of philosophy and co-founder of Collective Words are
important (SIMA). During the passage of the law on the veil in 2004, he participated in
the creation of a community school for all. He has published extensively on the issue of
the veil. ---- Nico and Salima: You lead with Sylvie Tissot site "words are important"
since 2000. Can you tell us about your work? ---- Pierre Tevanian: We critique of
political speech and political criticism of discourse and media intellectuals. It is to
deconstruct texts by background, others satirical, trying to flush out the forms and
civilized euphemized racism, sexism or contempt class. The study focuses on concepts whose
meaning is both very clear and very vague terms like "diversity", "integration",
A vague intellectual point of view as clearly defined but never very clear when put in
relation to the context - who, what talking about it? when? - For those who are affected
and those who are "dredged". When we took note of the clarity of the term, we understand
the heinous nature both politically and very effective. For the record, we can say that it
is a form of political intervention is not sufficient but necessary.
This year you have published Unveiling: the Hijab to Burqa. How was built the veil and
niqab as a problem?
To understand, we analyze precisely the discourses and contexts. Where the speech come
from? From above or below? We are always told that there is a demand for people in
benchmarks, objectives relay media, including surveys, and political goodwill which then
attempts to provide answers. Our work shows that it is exactly the opposite: start with
objective data (surveys, number of hours of TV on such a subject, etc..) Are produced more
focused analyzes (how the question was asked and how she induced response she?) and you
realize every time that the alleged "demands from below" are actually political
initiatives from above, then relayed by the media and finally accepted to wear by the
public through surveys often oriented ... The people is greater in situations of consent
in demand position.
How did it come to legitimize racist laws with secular and feminist arguments?
In many of our productions, we take the dominant discourses of the word, they are given
credit a priori, and analyzed. And then, quickly, their contradictions appear. The
argument of women's rights, for example does not. The name of feminism, voting on laws
that punish women. There is also a double standard: they say for the veil is not applied
to other gendered clothing. It was decided, and that despite what the person concerned,
that the veil is a symbol of oppression, we will not assert, for example, high heels and
Another contradiction: we built the first veiled woman as victim and alienated character
so that it is not heard. But then when it comes to punish, it becomes responsible subject.
Never before had claimed feminists restrictions of rights for women. So when a law comes
in contradiction with all the reasons, we ask: why? We realize that the goal is in fact
nothing more nor less than to see the veil. On secularism same thing: Ferry laws and the
1905 law no requirement any neutral dress, they separate the political and religious
institutions and guarantee freedom of religion and conscience. The 2004 law prohibits the
contrary expression. It is the neutrality of the public service and its agents that was
previously required, never the users. The neutrality of the public space was conceived as
a neutral space only for the public may not be.
You can do the comparison with a football match on neutral ground: neutrality allows no
support can foster both teams. The new secularism require that the teams remain neutral,
which would not play football! Finally, this neutrality is addressed only one of two
teams: the Muslims! There is therefore a first level of analysis of these laws, which
allows us to say that it is a challenge to freedom of expression, a second, which
emphasizes its gender dimension, since it is primarily women who are targeted, and a
third: in fact these laws apply only to Muslims, and are therefore racist.
Islamophobic attacks have been frequent in recent years, how can we understand them?
Even as racist attacks, while the dominant discourse tells us that it is only legitimate
criticism of a religion. Because there is always unequal treatment. Take for example the
case facilitator doing Ramadan suspended Gennevilliers: if the pattern is not explicitly
racist (a facilitator should be fit to take care of children), the problem is that we do
not deal with all zeal other cases the monitor is tired? He drinks alcohol, smokes he?
These attacks are the uninhibited expression of racism, which is expressed at the bottom
of the social scale as above, taking different forms: attacks, insults, to various forms
of discrimination and laws ... It is s' never stops: after removing their veils, girls
still have the dress too long!
In two words, I would say that the origins of racism are colonial, and about its current
revival, it can be explained in several ways. There Marxist analysis: an ideological
operation intended to divide those who should unite and join those who should be divided.
And more specifically racist dimension: a kind of panic at a specific time, an ambivalent
situation where we spend a quiet racism racism worried racism is quiet when the order
imposed unequal in Black in the Arab or Muslim is not disturbed, and there is no need to
stigmatize, to insult and make laws. However, when they become visible when they refuse
the place where they are assigned, this is where we spend a racism aggressive, talkative,
and you suddenly need to stigmatize. Radicalization current can also be interpreted
positively: dominated feel confident enough to invest the land where they dared not go
before. The written law is the last bastion of the dominant when the order was not written
before self is challenged, and that not enough was enough before ...
Interview by Nicolas Pasadena (commission racist AL) and Salima (Val-de-Marne)
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