Friday, September 25, 2009

Rama Yade the leader of France's Modern-Day Black Power Movement?


According to the US political blog Booker Rising French secretary Rama Yade (32) seemed to have said: "Some Folks Are Saying That I'm Leading France's Modern-Day Black Power Movement". Read the full story here

But the real news is that she will be in Washington this week, to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual legislative conference.

Short history. French President Sarkozy appointed Yade as the secretary of human rights and called her the French Condoleezza Rice. Rama Yade became, after the riots, Sarkozy’s television-friendly integration symbol during his presidential campaign. After the elections she became the only black and the youngest member of the French cabinet

But after a while Sarkozy asked her to run for the European Parliament, which she refused. After her refusal Sark became ‘disappointed’ in her and she was dropped. After a cabinet reshuffle she was appointed as the Secretary of State for Sports.

This week she will be in the US. The Washington post wrote: “The Yade act will be on tour this week in Washington, where aides said the young minister has been invited to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual legislative conference. President Obama is likely to attend, they added, inviting a comparison with the U.S. leader whose charisma, like Yade's, seems to eclipse racial considerations.”

But paper also stated that she still has to “transcend the role of Sarkozy's television-friendly integration symbol”. Read French Minister's Star Status Holds Political Promise

And maybe they are right, Rama Yade is still a symbol. I don’t doubt her commitment to the cause. In 2007 she wrote the book Noirs de France (Blacks in France) as a response about the way the French media reported the death of Afro-Caribbean people in a pension fire. Although people from the French Antilles are officially French citizens, in the newspapers they where portrayed as foreigners.

But most articles about Yade are about her appearance, not about her competence. And to be frank, it is easy to point a finger at the white establishment and yell: ‘there are no blacks in da house!’. Changes are she will become the French Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Or better, she will end up like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali became popular as politician in The Netherlands, but ended up as writer in the US.

So I hope that Yada will indeed transcend the role of Sarkozy's television-friendly integration symbol, and perhaps really become the leader of France's Modern-Day Black Power Movement.


See an interesting interview with Rama Yade

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