A few weeks ago, on the 11th of July 2018, during a G20 meeting in Hamburg (Germany), Emmanuel Macron, the very young French president known for his respect and his tact towards his fellow African colleagues had the audacity to think that, after 3 diplomatic trips to Africa, he had found the reasons that prevent the continent to develop itself. Therefore, it is not without condescension that Macron explained that the continent suffers from a “cultural problem”: after stating that incorrect the number of children per African women is too high “7 or 8 children by women” , Emmanuel Macron then highlighted the fact that as long as African women continue to have as many children, all the money invested in the continent by nice and philanthropes European countries would not change anything.
5 days later, on the 15th July 2018, the French team was winning the World Cup against Croatia. Composed of 23 players including 17 of African descents, it is the whole country that went wild from excitement. Twenty years ago, the legendary French player of Algerian origin Zinedine Zidane, by a head-butt, allowed France to win its first star: now it is thanks to two goals from Kylian Mbappé of Algerian and Cameroonian and Paul Pogba of guinean origin that the country has earnt its second star. Suddenly, Emmanuel Macron, who, a couple of days ago was accusing African women of preventing the development of the continent, didn’t seem to be bothered by it as he congratulated the very talented N’golo Kanté, from a family of 9 children.
Right after the match, thousands and thousands of French people gathered on les Champs Elysées, also known as the world’s most beautiful avenue, in Paris. Much like in 1998, these people, fitted with tricolor flags and football shirts came to celebrate this historic victory. Feast days have the gift of gathering people, no matter the differences that oppose them.
Many comments have been made on social media, especially on twitter accusing French people of color of celebrating a country that oppresses them. Theses comments, in addition to be hypocritical are also funny. Indeed, many of the people who are accusing French POC to defend their oppressors were strangely quiet when French people of Color were denouncing police brutality in France by asking for help on social media. Although, I would like to highlight the fact they were actually rooting for a team which represents them like they have never been before.
As a French girl of Ivorian diaspora, and growing up in France, a predominantly white country, I rarely had the opportunity to witness this much diversity in any field if not sports. This team composed of 17 players of African origins, all talented the ones more than the others, is the team that we, sons and daughters of immigrants, have decided to support because they represent us, our struggles and our dreams. As a Black young woman, I want to celebrate these players, because I recognize myself as well as my brothers, my cousins and my friends in them. These players are putting the spotlight on us, children of the African diaspora who keep doing so much for a country which tries to disguise us.
We, French people of color are celebrating the fact that immigration gave France this World Cup. This World Cup is ours, and we have every right to celebrate it.