France, football and race: What does it mean to be French?

Joke by South African comedian Trevor Noah sparks debate on identity.

credit: newsx


Comedian Trevor Noah unleashed a firestorm of controversy with a joke about France’s World Cup-winning team.

In a sketch on his US programme, The Daily Show, Noah quipped that “Africa won the World Cup”, referring to the large number of French players of African descent.

Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to the US, took umbrage.

“To us there is no hyphenated identity. Roots are an individual reality. By calling them an African team it seems you are denying their Frenchness,” Araud wrote in a letter condemning Noah’s comments. “This even in jest legitimises the ideology which defines whiteness as the only way of being French.”

Noah continues to stand by his remarks, which have awakened the debate on race in France and what it means to be French.

So can you have a hyphenated identity? And what does the French win say about it? We’ll dive into the debate on this episode of The Stream.

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