France Day 2

Today’s trip focused on immigration, French nationalism and the French identity, and the social status/discrimination of non-white French citizens.

It began with a visit to the National Museum of Immigration where we, along with two girls from AGPR (“Agir pour Réussir,” an organization that in part helps girls learn about entrepreneuership skills and opportunities) explored the museum’s exhibits, which took us on a step-by-step process of an immigrant’s journey, while documenting personal stories. Along the way we analyzed and discussed the artifacts, artwork, etc. that we saw from the exhibit with the AGPR girls, both of whom were from immigrant families.

After a relaxing lunch at Les Cascades — where we got to learn more about the AGPR girls, talked, and exchanged cultural stories & experiences — we went back to the museum to see their temporary exhibit, “Frontières.” This exhibit explored the historical and current-world significance of the physical and political borders between countries, their relevance in society, and how they have shaped the terms “foreigner” and “immigrant.”

We then returned to our appartment for a discussion with Malboula Soumahoro, a professor and activist who focuses on the social and political status of black French citizens, and how she encourages discussion about discrimination and racial inequality in a country that takes pride in its “color-blindness.” We also discussed the effects of pop-culture and media on negative stereotypes, and the differences between French and American society in how we handle issues of racism, discrimination, and inequality.
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