Black Lives Matter

France has a long history of racism, police brutality and oppression against Black people.

That’s something I never wrote about because I didn’t know what to say. I’m still not sure what to say.

Growing up in France as a white kid, I always knew that Black people and minorities were treated differently. I could see my Black and Arabic friends get arrested more often. I could hear “jokes” about people’s ethnicity. I could hear stories from people struggling to get a job just because they weren’t white.

I never said anything because I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do.

But I can’t remain silent while Black people all over the world are demonstrating and risking their lives just for the right to exist.

So let me make this clear: French Together is open to everyone no matter their origin or the color of their skin.

I know some people (particularly in the US) consider the Black Lives Matter movement a political issue. I disagree, it’s not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue.

As far as I’m concerned, being racist isn’t political, it’s a crime against all of humanity.

But saying that French Together is open is not enough, it’s important to also make changes.

I realize that many of the articles I published on French Together could do a much better job of highlighting the huge role Black people have played in shaping French culture and making France the country it is today.

Many of these articles will be updated in the next few weeks to rectify this. For example, I plan to feature more talented Black French speakers in articles about French books, music, podcasts, and movies.

France is a diverse and multicultural country and I know I could do a better job of showing that through the choice of images and visuals I publish on the blog. From now on, I will pay even more attention to the choice of pictures I publish on the blog.

These changes won’t happen overnight but I will work hard to make French Together a safe and inclusive French learning community for all.

I hope you will choose to join me.

Benjamin Houy

Important update: Due to a failed migration of the French Together comment system, all comments posted after 6:50 AM (Paris time) have been lost. If this includes your comment, please accept my appologies and feel free to post it again. Merci 🙂

Featured image: Maria Oswalt – Unsplash

Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn the 20% of French that truly matters. You will also find him giving blogging advice on Grow With Less.

76 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter”

  1. Benjamin, I’m really glad you’ll be putting more content in about how African, Arabic and other non French cultures have influenced the France and the French language.

    I’m Australian and when I lived in France in 2005 I definitely noticed the racial and class divides in France, and I was quite shocked! We have our own troubles here in Australia but we know we’ve done wrong by Aboriginal Australians and we are fixing it, albeit slowly, but it’s happening.

    It lifts my spirits to hear a white French person not only to relate to these struggles but to take action in a way that they can.


  2. Merci Benjamin! Thank you for the message you are sending to people of
    ALL colours. Consider yourself hugged by your old student in Queensland. For a long time I have been following your lessons with interest and enthusiasm (and chattering to my bantams in “French”) but yesterday your letter moved me to tears. I am overjoyed at your resolution. May we all be blessed with the ability to see the person rather than outside skin. Ann

  3. i know you mean well, but I prefer that you stay away from politics. not fun. i can’t get away anywhere, TV, my french classes, software class. sorry,

    • I would also prefer to stay away from politics but I can’t just stay silent when millions of people are discriminated because of the color of their skin. This isn’t about politics, it’s about being a decent human being.

      If this isn’t “fun” for you, imagine what it’s like for the vicitims of racism.

      • Wow well said Benjamin!

        Pam your selfishness astounds me! Black people are suffering huge injustices and some are even being KILLED because of their colour and all you can say is – “Don’t bother me with facts like this that spoil my fun” Please try to find a little bit of compassion for your fellow human beings

  4. The way George died was disgraceful and no one deserves to be treated this way. However, the black lives matter protests do not help any cause as these people are damaging the property of innocent people, injuring other humans and there have been deaths. I have no sympathy for these protesters as they are criminals. They need to look at the background of George before they turn him into a saint. I have spent a lot of time in the USA and met many wonderful black people who are just like you and I, law abiding people with the same feelings and dreams. Sorry but this needs a reality check.

  5. Thank you Benjamin.

    Everyone in the world is part of the solution to this huge problem.

    I give so much thanks that I do not consider myself in any way racist, and hope I respect humans everywhere.

    Me claiming to be anti -racist, but not being prepared to speak up, and stand out in the crowd , is a poor response from me, that will allow these issues to go on forever.

    So much inequality. We all need to be highligthing inequality based on skin colour and ethnicity everywhere we see it.

    It is time for everyone to speak up for the terrible world wide problem existing today.


  6. Thank you for reminding us that we, as individuals, can do our bit in fighting racism, but also for demonstrating that businesses can be part of the solution. I shall be more aware of looking for visible steps that the businesses I deal with are being diligent in their equality policies.

  7. The world is not “black and white”, but colourful, and in many shades of these awesome colours. As an ochre skinned person, i find so much hypocrisy. Because racism often can be so subtle.


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