France debates legality of collecting ethnicity data

Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye. Ms Ndiaye has called for France change its controversial laws banning the collection of ethnic data
Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye has called for France change its controversial laws banning the collection of ethnic data

Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye has called for France to start collecting ethnicity data so the country can “see the reality” when it comes to race - but many MPs are against the practice, which is currently illegal.

Ms Ndiaye suggested the change in a column published in Le Monde newspaper. In the column, she writes about her own experience of racism in France (Ms Ndiaye moved to the country from Senegal, when she was 16).

She asks: “Why not open, in a calm and constructive way, the debate on ethnicity statistics?”

She argues that French laws are founded on what she called "republican universalism" - the idea that everyone is "the same" - without acknowledging the realities of real life.

She writes: “We should not hesitate to name things, to say that a skin colour is not neutral; that a surname or a name can have stigma attached."

Debate in France follows recent protests

The law in France is under discussion following anti-racism protests in France in ...

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