The book. On 12 July, the national Assembly has removed unanimously by the word “race” from the Constitution. Article 1, which defines the fundamental values of the Republic now provides that France ” shall ensure the equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of sex, origin or religion “, instead of ” without distinction of origin, race or religion “. This removal, which had already been the subject of several reform projects, was also a campaign promise of François Hollande in 2012. “There is no place in the Republic for the race,” said the socialist candidate.

In a trial percussion, Pierre-André Taguieff, author of numerous works dealing with racism and anti-racism, traces the history of the passions of mind that have crystallized around the word ” race “.

the Category applied to human diversity, this word was initially ” a tool of knowledge that has served to render intelligible the world at a time, one of the Lights, where to know was, above all, describe, distinguish, and classify.” Its uses ideological under nazi Germany gave a negative connotation ” to the point that it has become suspect, or even cursed.”

Drifts of the anti-racism

In the 1970s, the “political left” is trying to replace this word, before trying to eliminate it in the name of science, from the 1990s, giving rise to heated debates. The philosopher reminds us that it is high very early against the “project anti-racist,” to eliminate the word ” race “. Surrender to this word belongs, according to him, to help ” try to understand why people continue to talk about it “. “That would sacrifice to the inordinate desire of purity that we discern behind the project of police of the vocabulary,” he adds.

lying on the side of ” those who do not think of “isms” and no longer care about political cleavages simplistic or oppositions manichean fuelling sectarianism and fanaticism “, Pierre-André Taguieff points out the “dogmas and excesses” of anti-racism, became, according to him, a ” machine to exclude “. And the author of wearing the nails in the coffin against the anti-racist French : “The ideological corruption makes them unrecognisable, as evidenced by the proliferation of movements that can be characterized as “antiracismes racist” or “racism anti-racist”. “

The philosopher dares them by offering them to turn to the United States where the discussion on the theme of “science and racism” on the plan of the moral and the political : “the consensus of The 1970s-1990s on the non-existence of human races has weakened among biologists since early 2000. But we must not forget the essential : it is dangerous to rely on the universalistic of the fight against racism on a result that is necessarily provisional in scientific research. “

“Race” : a word too ? Pierre-André Taguieff, CNRS editions, 368 pages, 22 euros.


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