Ethnic minorities in France
An edgy inquiry
A taboo on studying immigrant families' performance is fraying
BY LAW, French authorities cannot collect ethnic statistics. All citizens are considered equal. Differentiating them is felt to imply stigmatisation, or even worse to echo the singling out of Jews that took place under the collaborationist Vichy regime in the 1940s.
Yet however strong the historical reasons, this approach makes it difficult to tell whether French people of different backgrounds really do fare as well as each other. A new study suggests they do not.
It comes, surprisingly, from an official source: France Strategie, the government's economic-strategy unit, which is run by Jean Pisani-Ferry, an economist. The authors get round the ethnicity taboo by using census data on national origin. Several decades after mass immigration began, enough long-term data exist to see how the generation raised in France by parents from other countries has done.
出人意外的是，该项研究竟出自官方之手：由经济学家Jean Pisani-Ferry经营的政府经济战略研究单位France Strategie。研究作者使用原籍人口普查资料，以避免触犯民族禁忌。人口大规模迁入的几十年来，存取了大量的长期数据，足以用来研究第二代移民的表现。
In a word, badly. Youth unemployment of 32% for French-born citizens whose parents arrived from Africa, including sub-Saharan countries and those of the Maghreb, is twice as high as for those with no immigrant background. Fully 30% leave high school without any diploma or qualification, against 16% of those without immigrant parents. French people with parents from Africa have less stable working lives, and are more likely to live in poor neighbourhoods, than those with non-African immigrant backgrounds, the report finds.
Other studies use the data to reveal further differences by national origin. French-born citizens with parents from Morocco orTunisia, for example, seem to do better at school than those with parents from Algeria or the African Sahel. Only 10% of French men aged 25-35 with Algerian-born parents, and just 9% of those with parents from the Sahel, have a degree, against 19% of those with Moroccan or Tunisian parents and 23% of the non-immigrant population. (Among those with south-east Asian roots, the figure tops 30%.)
Girls also seem to do better than boys. Just 49% of French-born men aged 20-35 with Algerian parents have passed the baccalaureat, the national school-leaving exam, compared with 58% of women (and 68% of the non-immigrant population). Those with parents from the Sahel do little better: 63% of young French-born women have the bac, and 51% of men. Interestingly, when the sexes are combined, young French citizens born to Moroccan or Tunisian parents do better at school not only than those from Algeria or the Sahel but also those born to parents from Portugal.
Such divergent patterns mirror those found in other European countries. British-born Bangladeshis have pulled away from British-born Pakistanis in terms of school results, for instance, and now perform better than white British children.
What explains the French pattern? History may play a part. The bloody war forAlgeria's independence may have created feelings of hostility to the French system, and general alienation, which are slow to disappear. Poverty and discrimination clearly play a role. Many French immigrants came from countries with very low living standards, like Mali, Mauritania and Niger. And coming from a poor family background, notes the France Strategie study, seems to have a stronger impact on school performance in France than it does in other comparable countries.
何以解释这种法国模式？也许有历史的原因。因阿尔及利亚独立引发的血腥战争产生了对法国体制的敌视情绪，以及普遍的疏离感，这些皆不易消失。贫穷和种族歧视也具有明显的作用。法国很多移民来自生活水平极低的国家，如马里、毛里塔尼亚、尼日尔。据France Strategie的研究显示，在法国，出身贫困对学生在学校表现的影响似乎大于其他类似国家。 翻译：石海霞 校对：胡雅琳
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