Wednesday

1st Feb 2023

Podcast

Model minority myths

  • Among those leading the charge against a French conception of universalism that makes discussing race so awkward is Grace Ly (Photo: Helena Malikova)

There are many things to love about France. But a stated policy of colour blindness is not one of them.

Among those leading the charge against a French conception of universalism that makes discussing race so awkward is Grace Ly.

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Her Chinese Cambodian parents fled the Khmer Rouge during the late 1970s for France, where she has found success and celebrity with books like Jeune fille modèle and the podcast Kiffe Ta Race that she co-hosts with Rokhaya Diallo.

The French still preach that everyone is equal in the eyes of the Republic, but Grace says the reality is very different.

She cites a notorious incident where a former French interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, was caught saying in reference to immigrants of North African descent that, "when there is one it's OK," but that, "when there are lots of them that there are problems."

Grace is from an Asian European community that's often portrayed as a model minority. But she says that's a corrosive stereotype, and she too has to navigate double standards.

"When I walk out in the streets, people see me, they actually see me very well because they still say ni hao to me, so they do see me. But it's what they want me to be. They want me to be invisible."

Grace is in conversation with journalist and think tanker Shada Islam and commentator Helena Malikova.

Author bio

EU Scream is the progressive politics podcast from Brussels. Produced by James Kanter with graphics by Helena Malikova and music by Lara Natale.

You may also follow via @euscreams subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or from the EU Scream website.

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