It’s literally been waving at people but they didn’t pay heed. The blue in the French flag is now navy, reverting to the shade used before 1976 to remember the Revolution.
The exterior of the Elysée Palace, along with other presidential buildings, has been sporting the look for a year unannounced. The refresh was only made public with the publication of the book Elysée Confidentiel by journalists Eliot Blondet and Paul Larrouturou in mid-September, which recounts how the color had been so abruptly swapped, euronews reports.
Arnaud Jolens, the Elysée’s director of operations, had walked into President Emmanuel Macron’s office on the eve of the country’s National Day in 2020 bringing two variations of the flag—the post-1976 version and this one—and then declared: “By the way, I’m changing the flags on all the buildings of the presidency tomorrow.” Macron smiled.
Navy blue honors “the imagination of the Volunteers of Year II, the Poilus of 1914 and the Compagnons de la Libération of Free France,” the French Presidency details. The Volunteers of Year II were France’s first citizen army who, in 1791, volunteered to protect French territory from a threatened Prussian/Austrian invasion post-Revolution (hence the term “Year II.”)
This was the shade of the tri-colored flag up to 45 years before, and the same one flown under the Arc de Triomphe every year on Armistice Day on November 11.
The blue was later brightened to match the one in the European Union flag, a decision made by former president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
Decades after, the French presidency has readopted the classic navy. The switch of flags across presidential landmarks cost €5,000.
Macron was evidently pleased by the decision. “The flag that all the presidents have been dragging around since  was not the real French flag,” the book explains, describing the details of the conversation between Macron and Jolens.
French DJ Michel Gaubert has apologized for showcasing racist slanty-eye paper masks on social media.
The longtime music collaborator for Chanel, Fendi and Raf Simons first posted a video on Instagram of a private dinner on Thursday night. In the clip, eight dinner guests can be seen holding the masks while yelling “Wuhan girls, wahoo.”
This post soon received backlash from industry influencers including Susanna Lau, Bryan Grey Yambao, Tina Craig, Diet Prada and model Chu Wong.
“Where to begin with this.…The patently racist paper maskers with the slanted eyes cut out, which are basically an Asian version of blackface,” Lau said in a series of Instagram Stories. “The dumb reference to Wuhan girls obviously tickling Marie Beltrami and Michel Gaubert to no end as their LOL around with their f–king horrible masks whilst Asians are getting beaten up because of people conflating the origins of a virus with people’s ethnicity.”
Lau later added that she is “genuinely upset,” because “these are people I mix with (well pre-COVID-19). What lies beneath the smiles and niceties…I don’t know anymore. Are we just all the same? A slant-eyed white-masked non entity with no voice, no significance, no agency…”
Yambao said he was surprised that “no one at that dinner thought that it was NOT nice to do this and it was NOT wise to post it on social media.”
A foreign student studying abroad in Singapore faced massive backlash this past weekend after a photograph that she posted on Instagram for Chinese New Year earlier in 2020 went viral for all the wrong reasons.
The student, Louise, has since issued an apology on her now-private Instagram account, and Essec Business School, where she studies, has said that they are “looking into the situation”.
On Friday (Dec. 4), Instagram user @beforeik.o posted a screenshot of an Instagram story she had made of Louise’s post, which showed the French student pulling back her eyes with her fingers into a slit shape while wearing a cheongsam.
@beforeik.o’s Instagram post also included a screenshot of another photo posted by Louise for Chinese New Year, which included the words “ching chong” in the caption.
A person also commented, “So chong!! So coronavirus!!”
In her Instagram post, @beforeik.o also shared several screenshots of direct messages (DMs) in which Louise claimed that she was “clearly not racist” and that the photo was “just for fun”.
Louise pointed to the fact that Chinese people may get surgery on their eyes to have more “European” features, and asked whether that would be considered racism.
@beforeik.o replied that Louise should educate herself, remove the post, and apologise “before this whole thing blows up”.
Louise, however, doubled down and claimed to have a master’s degree, as well as a diploma from Harvard University about ethnicity in the workplace.
On Saturday (Dec. 5), the official Instagram page of Essec Business School commented on @beforeik.o’s Instagram post, writing that they are “looking into the situation and will take appropriate action”.
An angry, hate-filled Twitter call to attack Chinese people in the streets of France after the country went into a second COVID lockdown has been followed by a dozen assaults on Asians and fuelled the flames of anti-Asian sentiment.
The first time anti-Asian racism surfaced in France at the start of the pandemic earlier this year, it was characterised as xenophobia.
It was a fear and distrust of the “other,” with people of East Asian descent lumped together as presumed carriers of the coronavirus that had started in Wuhan, China, says Sun-Lay Tan, spokesperson for Safety for All, a collective of 46 Franco-Asian associations in France.
This time, it’s taken a much darker and angrier tone. “It’s no longer just xenophobia. It’s hate,” he said.
Immediately following President Emmanuel Macron’s televised address to the nation at the end of October announcing a second lockdown across the country, a Twitter call to attack every Chinese person on the street began gaining momentum, garnering about a thousand likes and getting shared in equal numbers.
Replies to the original tweet, which has since been flagged and taken down, were also laced with violence and venom:
“Hitler should have killed all the Chinese, not the Jews.”
“Put me in a cage with a Chinese I’ll have fun with them. I want to watch all their hope fade from their eyes.”
“It’s a hunt for Asians, for slanted eyes and yellow dog-eaters.”
“You’re only good for bringing back disease.”
What concerns Tan and other anti-racism activists is that these Twitter calls have gone offline and manifested in brutal attacks on Asians of all backgrounds in Paris. The day after the tweet was posted, a male Asian student was assaulted in an unprovoked attack while playing table tennis in the park with a friend (permanent ping pong tables are fixtures in some Parisian parks). According to Le Parisien, his attackers shouted “dirty Chinese” while assaulting him with pepper spray.
Asians are no stranger to being singled out by thieves and pickpockets in the Paris region as it’s mistakenly believed that they carry bundles of cash and are easy targets. But the most recent spate of attacks are driven by something more sinister, Tan said. “Previously, Asians were targeted for their money and were victims of robberies and muggings. Now, it’s not even money. It’s just out of hate.”
In another incident, a 37-year-old Asian woman identified as Françoise was attacked by a young couple who followed her off the city bus. Prior to the attack, a few words were exchanged about the young woman’s coughing fit and mask. The couple got off at the same bus stop as Françoise and attacked, pulling her hair, spitting and punching her in the face, yelling, “It’s because of you, you ch**k that we have coronavirus” and “Go back to China and eat dog,” reports Le Parisien.
“There’s been a crescendo of hate since the second lockdown, and a call to violence that we didn’t see before,” said Laetitia Chhiv, president of the Association of Chinese Youth of France.
Along with the coronavirus, the collapse of Asian businesses in Chinatown, and the threat of another terror attack – France is on its highest terror alert following the beheading of high school teacher Samuel Paty and an attack in Nice that killed three people – Asians in France now have to worry about being targeted in hate-related assaults.
“Safety has become their number one preoccupation lately,” Tan said.
Along with fear and anxiety, there’s a feeling of anger and disbelief at the misplaced hate, added Chhiv.
“They don’t understand why there’s so much hate. We are not responsible for the coronavirus and yet we’re insulted, assaulted and held responsible.”
Since the spike in assaults, Tan and Chhiv have launched a joint campaign through their groups warning Asians to be vigilant of their surroundings and to file a police report in the event of an attack. Because more often than not, Asian victims – particularly immigrants and the elderly – are less likely to go to the police, for reasons ranging from language barriers to shame, or lack of faith in the judicial system.
But it’s hoped a recent legal victory will change that. On the 12th of November, the French courts sentenced a trio of men two to seven years in prison for targeting, violently assaulting and robbing exclusively Asian women – believed to be easy targets – in the Paris region in 2019. Of the 28 victims identified, only six took part in the legal proceedings. But it’s a major victory that Chhiv hopes will encourage the community to trust the legal system.
Meanwhile, the Paris prosecutor’s office has launched a formal investigation into the original Twitter call to attack Chinese “for inciting public provocation to carry out a physical attack of a racist nature.”
“We want to send the message that no, you can’t say whatever you want on social media and call for attacks on an entire population for no reason,” Chhiv said.
She also points out that social media played a big role as a vehicle for hate in both the assassination of Paty and the anti-Asian discrimination currently playing out across France. During a lesson on free speech, Paty showed his class a cover from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which depicted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad naked on all fours. One outraged Muslim parent waged a social media campaign against the teacher, which caught the attention of the killer who had no prior connection to the school or teacher.
“Social media can be a conduit for hate,” Chhiv said. “The fury on social media is nefarious for society. All it takes is for one person with bad intentions to stumble on a hateful post and use it to justify their violent behaviour.”
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert opens up about his rocky relationship with teammate Donovan Mitchell after giving him the coronavirus back in March. Gobert says their relationship was never perfect, but reiterates that they respect one another. He also details how he handled the backlash from the world after being one of the first athletes to test positive for COVID-19.
The 59th edition of the Venice Biennale, formerly scheduled for 2021, has been postponed to the following year. The international art show’s next iteration will now run for seven months, from April 23 to November 27, 2022, overlapping with the 15th edition of the contemporary art quinquennial Documenta in Kassel, Germany.
Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of New York City’s High Line, was tapped to curate the 59th Biennale. Among the confirmed names for the show so far are the multimedia artist Stan Douglas for the Canadian Pavilion; Latifa Echakhch for the Swiss Pavilion; and Zineb Sedira, the first artist of Algerian descent to represent France at the biennial.
In this clip, Godfrey gave his take on the discrimination Africans are experiencing in China and how it illustrates classic racism. Godfrey discussed the legacy of Africa being colonized and how powerful countries today are looking to recolonize the continent. However, Godfrey said Nigeria is showing signs of bucking the trend of African capitulation by dishing out similar treatment to Chinese in their country as they are treated in China.
Really digging the 2024 Summer Olympics logo! It’s a 24 that mirrors The Eiffel Tower. I’m guessing the painterly brush aesthetic is a nod to Paris’ art & fashion culture too.
Having previously hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, Paris will become the second city to host the Olympic Games three times, along with London (1908, 1948, and 2012). The 2024 Games also mark the centennial of the 1924 Games. This will be the sixth overall Olympic Games held in France (including summer and winter Games).