French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira (1952, French Guiana) joined the many who have been protesting the recent grand jury decision regarding Ferguson’s Michael Brown. [Taubira is no stranger to racism; see previous posts Christiane Taubira: ELLE’s Woman of the Year, Christiane Taubira Compared to a Monkey: Small Fine for the Director of “Minute”, The European Parliament and Slavery as a Crime against Humanity, and French minister wants land for slaves’ descendants.] Here are excerpts:
As countless Americans fumed over what they saw as a lack of justice in Ferguson, Mo. — where a grand jury opted to not indict a white police officer who had gunned down unarmed black teenager Michael Brown — the French justice minister joined the chorus of outrage.
On her Twitter account, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira wrote first in French: “Michael Brown, racial profiling, social exclusion, territorial segregation, cultural marginalization, guns, fear, fatal cocktail!” [Profilage racial, exclusion sociale, ségrégation territoriale, relégation culturelle…des armes, la peur…Fatal cocktail !]
Then she proceeded to tweet in English, lamenting the death of young black youth shot by police in the U.S. Taubira, 62, is originally from French Guiana, an overseas department of France that’s on the northern coast of South America. She ended her Ferguson-related tweets with a quote from the Bob Marley song “I Shot the Sheriff.”
Asked to expand on her remarks by a radio station, Taubira said she would “not make value judgments on the institutions of the United States,” but then appeared to do so immediately. “When the sense of frustration is that strong, that deep, that long-lasting and that huge, there is a reason to question whether people trust these institutions.” She added, “You realize that somehow it only happens to the same people: Afro-American kids.”
Taubira, who assumed office in 2012, drew criticism from her political opponents. The right-wing mayor of the city of Nice rebuked Taubira for considering “it appropriate to judge the American justice system” and said her continued role as justice minister made him “ashamed for my country.”
Whether or not she was justified in wading into the fray across the pond, the French justice minister is used to being at the center of conversations on race and prejudice in her own country. She is often the direct target of abuse and claims to regularly receive racist hate mail.
A former far-right candidate for municipal elections earned prison timeearlier this year after posting a photo of Taubira alongside that of a monkey. “I prefer to see her swinging in a tree than to see her in government,” said Anne-Sophie Leclere, whose hate speech garnered a nine-month prison sentence and a hefty fine. [. . .]
For full articles, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/11/25/frances-black-justice-minister-slams-u-s-racism-after-ferguson/ and http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/25/french-justice-minister-dounounces-police-killings-ferguson