Whose Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité? Black in France Today

In 2007 French artist Alexis Peskine voiced his anger in his exhibition "The French Evolution: Race, Politics & the 2005 Riots”  at the Museum of contempory African Diasporan Arts in the US.  But has anything changed after the riots?

Because Peskine's exhibition symbolizes the reality, this is what the New York Times wrote. "The glass door to the gallery is decorated with the icons used to designate men’s and women’s restrooms and with France’s motto, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.” 

Just inside is another door made of wood with broken windows that says “Hors Service” (or “Out of Service”). The doors simultaneously evoke Jim Crow-era segregation in the United States and suggest that France is unable to offer liberty, equality and fraternity to all of its citizens, especially those whose parents or grandparents immigrated from former French colonies.

Next is “The French Evolution (Mariam’),” a portrait in profile of a young Senegalese model wearing the red Phrygian cap, an ancient symbol of liberty. The title is a play on Marianne, the official symbol of the French republic depicted in Delacroix’s 1830 “Liberty Leading the People,” and Mariama, a popular Senegalese name. "

Check the full story at http://www.nytimes.com/

After the riots

The Museum of contempory African Diasporan Arts wrote, "The French Evolution is a solo exhibition by emerging artist Alexis Peskine in which Peskine reflects on the diverse identities that make up France, yet neglected in public perceptions of French culture. 

Emerging artist Alexis Peskine has created several large-scale images to showcase the intense politics that has been overtaking his native country of France for the past decade. 

Emigration from Africa and other continents has transformed France into a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society, through portions of the population have not yet dealt with this changing reality. 

Peskine’s works reveal an opposing view of La Douce France, a view demonstrating the marginalization of people of color within this country. 

Through The French Evolution, we hope to expose viewer to another world co-existing within France, but unknown to outsiders."  Check the great images of the exhibition at Museum of contempory African Diasporan Arts

Video: Years later, roots of French riots remain

Video: French suburbs 30 years of tensions

The word 'race' removed

In 2018 the French Parliament removed the word ‘race’ from the French constitution. The new version reads: “France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic. It ensures equality before the law for all citizens, without distinction of sex, origin, or religion.”

But the word 'Noir' which means 'Black' in French is still a taboo word in France. 

Race still matters in France. In June 2020, while the U.S. took to the streets demanding justice for George Floyd, Parisians reignited their calls for justice for Adama Traoré. A Black man who died exactly 4 years ago in 2016 while being detained by the French national guard.

Updated Dec 22th, 2022


  1. Been there and still here in France since 1982 and fortunately my name is not Mohammed but Rodney.
    I am an Afro-American, living in a small village of 140 inhabitants, near Pau in the south of France, and discovered while researching my soon to be published book Words of a Demented Wiseman that racism is linked to the histories of the countries of origin of the Profiler and the one(s) Profiled! Why does the French police change their attitude when they discover that I am an American after being stopped for an I.D. check?
    Is it a small step towards equality when you are no longer afraid of those who are paid to protect you? As stated above, fortunately my name is not Mohammed.


  2. Pr Mohammed the fist lawyer in history coming with liberté fraternité et fraterité.
    He says :"People are equals only by faith " wich means that God's only can categorise them and they are all equals.
    https://www.medespoir.ch , chirurgie esthetique , chirurgie esthetique Tunisie

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