the world. For your parents and grandparents, I understand they feel responsible to keep fighting. But here, there was no such fight. Slavery ended aux Antilles in the 19th century, and then people came to France from Martinique and Guadalupe to work. There’s no fight that happened here on the territory. La France, the Republic, is no race! There’s no statistics of how many Black people are here. We have an idea but not really. That was shocking to me when I was in New York, to fill out stuff and see race questions. C’est incroyable.”
As her friends approached us at the bar, I quickly reviewed in my head the friends and family of Christine I’d met so far. At least seven couples were interracial. Back in New York I knew of only one mixed couple even peripherally, an old classmate from high school I hardly spoke to anymore who’d married a White guy. No one in my own family had gone there, while several of Christine’s cousins, nephews and aunts had. This made me even more curious about the reality behind France’s colorblind reputation, and the truth of Black Parisian life beyond all the good publicity.
Miles Marshall Lewis is the Arts & Culture Editor of EBONY.com. He’s also the Harlem-based author of Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises, There’s a Riot Goin’ On and Irrésistible. Follow MML on Twitter at@furthermucker, and visit his personal blog, Furthermucker.
“Expat Diaries” is a weekly series detailing the varied experiences of Black Americans living abroad. If you’ve ever wanted to pack up and leave the United States to soak up foreign cultures in search of adventure, live vicariously through the “Expat Diaries.” From Paris and Berlin, to South Korea and beyond, “Expat Diaries” dips into worldwide cultures and tells the truth about blackness all over the world!