French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a stand against the concept of “intersectionality,” the critical race theory idea fashionable among many Western college professors which argues that the levels of discrimination or privilege an individual might face is based on a combination of his or her social and political identities, primarily race and gender.
“I see that our society is becoming progressively radicalised,” Macron said, speaking to Elle magazine, when asked about what he thought of identity politics. “Interracial logic fractures everything,” because it “refers each individual to his/her identity,” he said.
Macron characterised himself to be a “universalist,” saying that he doesn’t agree “with a fight that reduces everyone to their identity or their particularity.”
“Social difficulties are not only explained by gender and the colour of your skin, but also by social inequalities,” he insisted. “I could introduce you to young white men…who live in Amiens or Saint-Quentin, and who also have immense difficulties, for different reasons, in finding a job."
The interview comments are at least the second time in the past year that Macron has taken aim at academics and activists seeking to force France to face up to its legacy of colonialism and racism, and who claim that this legacy continues to cause exploitation and injustices today. Last year, as officials in the US, Britain, and other Western countries yielded to Black Live Matters protesters looking to reevaluate their countries’ founding historical narratives, Macron vowed to resist such efforts in France, stressing that his country would “not erase any trace, or any name, from its history” and would “not take down any statue.”
In a separate appeal to social conservative sentiments in French society, Macron used the incident of the gruesome beheading of a French schoolteacher by an Islamist radical over the showing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to students to declare a war on Islamic radicalism and separatism. His stance caused him to butt heads with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey over the alleged "discrimination" of Muslims in Europe.
Macron’s comments to Elle come as the embattled French leader prepares to face off against increasingly vocal and popular opposition from his right flank in next year’s presidential elections.
Late last week, opinion polling by Ipsos found Macron to be neck and neck with National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen, with the president enjoying 24-27 percent support compared to Le Pen’s 24-26 percent polling. Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the Christian democratic centre-right The Republicans, trails the frontrunners with 13 percent support.