You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends

Congratulations Trevor Noah for forcing out of retirement. You see, French Bashing seems to rear its ugly head every time France’s team is in a world cup final. In the good old days, it used to be surrender jokes. Now, thanks to The Daily Show’s current substitute comedian, we’re presented with a  “Black can’t be French” angle: Trevor Noah joked that the French world cup win was in fact an African win, because black.

“You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends”.

In Noah’s world view, one cannot be French and non-white, even if you were born there, have roots back to the 18th century, was educated there or have full citizenship rights. If Trevor Noah knew anything about France, he’d know that French citizens come from a myriad of backgrounds. Some French people are of celtic, germanic, iberian descent, others have roots in Eastern and Central Europe, others have roots going back to North Africa, Indochina or sub-Saharan Africa. Others come from our overseas territories, such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, Mayotte …  Being French is about citizenship and pride thereof, not the color of your skin.

As for France’s soccer team, two players were born outside of France, one was born in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe (France), the twenty others were all born in France and are all French Citizens.

In fact, France has had a number of black politicians in key posts as well as soccer players: Aimé Césaire, Lucette Michaux-Chevry, Victorin Lurel, Christiane Taubira, Rama Yade. For instance, Gaston Monnerville was President of the Council of the Republic and of the French Senate under the Fourth and Fifth Republics, back when America was in turmoil over civil rights. Would Trevor Noah deny their “Frenchness” as well?

Late-night jokes about France and Soccer over the last 20 years.

  • “Top Ten Signs France Is Celebrating Their Soccer Victory: 8. Surrendering to Germany.” – David Letterman, 1998
  • Congratulations to the Italian people for winning the World Cup. … They won after France’s best player got ejected for head butting. That’s the closest anyone in a French uniform has come to combat in 60 years” – Jay Leno, 2006
  • Congratulations to Africa on winning the 2018 Men’s World Cup!” – Trevor Noah, 2018.

Other sources and commentary

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