Sunday, October 17

‘Offended Generation’, a politically incorrect book that forces us to think

In the last season of the series The Good Fight, one of the protagonists, the lawyer Diane Lockhart, confronts the partners of the firm, the majority African American, because they believe that a white woman cannot run the firm because she is not black. The firm, located in Chicago, is a reference in the fight against racism and although this character has dedicated a large part of his career to the defense of human rights and equality, the question that is posed to the viewer is whether a white person she can fight like a black woman against racism. The series is fiction, the debate is not.

In France, the preservation of its secularism, a model that strictly separates the state and the clergy, has become a problem, not only for socialism and for Macron. It is increasingly difficult to reconcile the republican values ​​enshrined in the Constitution with respect for Muslim communities without stigmatizing a religion or turning secularism into an economic problem as well, since there have even been calls to boycott their products in some countries.

French essayist Caroline Fourest analyzes from the provocative title Offended generation (Peninsula) how, from their perspective, identity politics can end up becoming a boomerang for the causes they seek to defend. She is a left-wing woman, dedicated for decades to the feminist and anti-racist struggle, someone who was beaten up for being a lesbian and who has published several essays to unmask the functioning of the extreme right. That is why it is surprising that it questions what it qualifies as “censorship of the moralistic and identity left”, something that has made it the target of criticism from both the extreme right and a not lesser part of the left. Offended generation It is a book that forces you to think even when you do not agree with many of the theses that the author defends.

The modern inquisition, which is how Fourest summarizes the situation that exists in some universities and in areas such as culture, whose storms always blow on social networks, instills a conception of freedom that ends up causing a phobia of everything that can be interpreted as a cultural mix. The essayist asks uncomfortable questions and surely not as easy to answer as the ones she gives. If the ultimate goal of anti-racism is not to exist as a victim but to eradicate prejudices, isn’t the concept of “cultural appropriation” being abused when, for example, imitation or mixing in music, cuisine or fashion is denied? This Political Science professor concludes, perhaps too forcefully, that choosing the path of identity never leads to equality but rather leads to revenge.

Fourest, who collaborates with Charlie Hebdo, recalls that after the attack, the satirical magazine has seen its right to freedom of expression questioned, also from some sectors of the left. Defender of what has come to be called a French republican left, she does not shy away from the debate on secularism and is clearly against the use of the veil as a symbol of all Muslim women. First, because many do not wear it, because there are Algerians who fought not to have to wear it or Iranians who are still fighting for it. “By supporting the veil as a ‘symbol of Muslim culture’ one is choosing to be in solidarity with fundamentalists in the face of a more feminist approach, supported by Muslim women who are excluded from that culture,” he argues.

The border between protesting and censoring is increasingly blurred and if there is a space in which this difficulty is especially perceived, it is in the university. The author focuses her concern on North American centers, where students are more clients than students. They pay so much money a year that to be exact, beware, they behave like tyrannical customers without leaving their emotional comfort zone. “Student-clients have transformed the temple of thought into a temple of terror.” In his opinion, they are centers with magnificent facilities and enviable gardens in which a debate that shakes convictions and identities is stolen and in which the creation of future narcissistic generations is fed.

By way of provocation, although it does not seem to be the intention of the author, she states that a not inconsiderable part of what she calls current collective hysteria is due to “the delicate skin of the new generations and the fact that they have been taught to complain to exist “. Even not agreeing with many of his reflections or perhaps because of that, Fourest manages that the reading of the book does not leave indifferent.

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