White Cruelty or Republican Sins? Competing Frames of Stigma Reversal in French Commemorations of Slavery

Article written by 2007 DPDF Rethinking Europe: Religion, Ethnicity, Nation Fellow Crystal Fleming: 

This paper explores how French activists use claims about the history and legacies of slavery to combat stigmas associated with their group membership. Using a case study of a French Caribbean association (CM98) and a pan-African association (COFFAD), I examine how two organizations produce competing models for challenging and reversing the stigma of slavery. Through a process of normative inversion, activists assert the moral inferiority of dominant groups. CM98 rejects both a racial and an African identity, and seeks recognition for ‘French descendants of slaves’, using the language of citizenship to criticize the French government. COFFAD, by contrast, asserts an Afro-centric black identity and stigmatizes white Europeans. I argue that both destigmatization strategies unwittingly reinforce the stigma of historical enslavement.

Title
White Cruelty or Republican Sins? Competing Frames of Stigma Reversal in French Commemorations of Slavery
Author
Fleming, Crystal
Published
Routledge, March 2012
On the web
Citation
Fleming, Crystal, "White Cruelty or Republican Sins? Competing Frames of Stigma Reversal in French Commemorations of Slavery," in Ethnic and Racial Studies, ed. (Routledge, March 2012), http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.2011.589526#.VFvAivnF-So, 35, 3, 488-505.