Europe

France’s education minister, a black historian, faces attacks from far-right

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne defends Pap Ndiaye's appointment

Shweta Desai   | 21.05.2022
France’s education minister, a black historian, faces attacks from far-right

PARIS

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Saturday defended the appointment of Pap Ndiaye, a black historian, as education minister amid increasingly vicious attacks from the far right.

“The objective is to maintain excellence, ensure equal opportunities … I have no doubt that he will do (his job) it competently, with energy, with determination,” she told BFMTV news during her visit to the Calvados region in Normandy.

The appointment of Ndiaye, a specialist in the race, immigration, colonialism, and African diaspora in France and the US, has raised a political storm in France, where the discourse on racism and racial discrimination is often blindsided. Politicians and public officials have denied the problem of “racism” in the country, and blamed it as a “woke” import from the US.

Born to a Senegalese father and French mother, Ndiaye was a professor at the prestigious Sciences Po university in Paris and head of France’s Museum of Immigration.

At the ceremony taking charge of his ministry, he said he was a “pure product of republican meritocracy" and felt an immense “duty and responsibility” towards the young people of France.

Far-right politician Erick Zemmour described Ndiaye as a “wokist, obsessed with race” who will be a detriment to the future of French children and deconstruct the history of France.

"The whole history of France will be revisited in the light of indigenism, woke ideology, and Islamo-leftism. He will reformat the minds of young French people to teach them that white people are eternally guilty, that black people are victims and that we are a land of immigration and that we must above all continue to be," he told C News.

Presidential election finalist Marine Le Pen also attacked Nidiaye’s appointment “as the last stone in the deconstruction of our country, its values, and its future.”

Visiting her constituency in Pas de Calais, she claimed “the new government is a real nightmare,” as it includes the reappointment of "failed" ministers such as Erick Dupond-Moretti (justice), Gerald Darmanin (interior), Bruno Le Maire (economy and finance). “And then we see provocative choices, with heavy heavy meaning for the future," she said about Ndiaye to BFMTV news.

"This choice to put a man who defends indigenism, racialism, wokeism at the head of National Education, it is a terrifying choice for the parents and grandparents that we are, and there is no question that we do not fight this policy of deconstruction of France," she added.

Of the 28 ministers in Borne's Cabinet, 15 have been reappointed while 13 entrants including 8 women have been awarded new portfolios. Borne, who herself is the second premier to head the government, defended her new Cabinet as "balanced" and "equal."

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