France’s far-right National Front (FN) party intends to bring suit against Christiane Taubira, a female black lawmaker. Taubira is a justice minister in the coutry with roots in the northern South American French territory of Guiana. At the age of 61, she is an outspoken advocate on racial issues as it relates to post-colonial issues in the country of France.
The suit contends that Taubira, in responding to a racial epithet by the party, posed an affront to the far-right National Front organization. “It’s blacks swinging from branches, Arabs (traveling illegally to France) by sea, gays in the Seine and Jews in the oven, etcetera,” Taubira said in her response to the media concerning the FN racism.
One of the party’s candidates had compared Taubira to a monkey. Anne-Sophie Leclere a FN party member posted a picture of Taubira on Facebook next to a monkey and said she preferred her swinging in a tree rather than in government. Taubira was instantly offended by the suggestion and responded in kind to the remark.
Florian Philippot, FN vice president, said Taubira in her position should be “cool-blooded” in the face of rough opposition. As France’s single black female lawmaker she will confront the FN party in their proposed suit against her. Philippot made note that Leclere was sanctioned for her actions and that Taubira’s response was unwarranted.
A justice ministry spokeswoman confirmed that FN had not filed a suit and state they often threaten lawsuits in public. It was assured that Leclere of the FN party will be investigated fully for her actions against Justice minister Taubira. It was confirmed that Leclere was suspended by FN officials and a spokes person for the party confirmed legal action will be sought.
The FN is one of France’s most popular parties and is poised to pick up a number of municipal seats within the country’s political arena. The country has been fraught with economic problems and people are discouraged with the current level of government. The French polls show that many citizens look on the FN in a favorable light.
Many French officials have said publicly that although there are laws against racial hate incidents little can be done to protect people of color. Many sympathize with the barrage of unwanted attention garnered by Taubira as a result of her high profile position. France’s immigrant advocates feel that the legal system is not adequate to fight such racist outburst against her.
Houria Bouteldja, spokeswoman for Les Indigenes de La Republique, said that they condemn the attacks against Taubira. Bouteldja went on to give reference to other people of color that faced similar treatment such as Barack Obama. She also said Italy’s integration minister, the country’s first black minister, had bananas hurled during an event.
It’s unclear if France’s female black lawmaker will be sued by the country’s far right national conservatives. It was noted by observers that such apparent racism actually transcends class status and high level positions do not shield individuals from scrutiny.
By Thomas Barr