Headscarves, Hairstyles and Culture as a Civil Right: A Critique

In this paper, Professor Richard Ford (Stanford Law School) argues that the American experience with civil rights – requiring the accommodation of distinctive group practices and cultural affections – largely vindicates France’s concerns over the recent headscarf controversy. Given that the supposedly authentic practices of a minority group are often in fact imposed by more powerful members of the group on others who prefer a less conspicuous or less traditional way of expressing their racial, ethnic or religious identifications, a better way to fight inequality is to adopt policies designed to speed the successful integration of minority groups into mainstream institutions.  He advocates for a careful and judicious use of ethnic, racial and religious statistics to this end.

François Héran | 5. "Ethnic Statistics" and the Debate on Immigration

Excerpt 5 of 8 of an interview between François Héran, president of the Comité pour la Mesure et l’Évaluation de la Diversité et des Discriminations (translated: Committee for the Measuring and Evaluation of Diversity and Discrimination), and Daniel Sabbagh, Senior Research Fellow at CERI – Sciences Po and scientific advisor for the Equality of Opportunity Program. This conversation is part of a series of interviews filmed by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five French experts on the theme of equality of opportunity.

Not a French speaker? Follow along by downloading the English transcript of the entire interview with François Héran, available here.

Click here to watch other excerpts from this interview.

The New Metropolis: "New Neighbors"

Part of an intentional integration process, residents discuss their participation in a leadership training program designed to diversify and expand the leadership pool within their community. From Episode 2 of The New Metropolis, narrated by Ruby Dee, which tells the inspiring story of two ordinary people, one black and one white, who have successfully made racial integration the centerpiece of revitalizing their town.

The Glass Ceiling: "The Story of Chérifa Touhami"

Born in a Muslim family from the Middle East, amongst fourteen siblings, Chérifa was bent on proving that, through hard work, she could be the equal of a man. With dedication and tenacity, she has steadily climbed the company ladder at the FNAC Logistique. Originally hired as a one-day temp, she now holds a supervisor position. For Chérifa, whose father was a garbage collector, and mother stayed at home, it is crucial to show her young son that she has found success, so that he may, in turn, develop his own ambitions.

Waging a Living: "Loss of Food Stamps"

Barbara gets a raise at work, but her added income makes her lose certain government benefits including Medicaid, child care assistance, food stamps, and subsidized housing. Clip 3 of 4 from Waging a Living, a documentary that chronicles the day-to-day battles of four low-wage earners fighting to make work pay.

Louis-Georges Tin | 1. Universalism and "Communitarianism" in Republican France

Excerpt 1 of 10 of an interview between Louis-Georges Tin, Vice President of the Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires (translated: Representative Council of Black Associations), and Daniel Sabbagh, Senior Research Fellow at CERI-Sciences Po and scientific advisor for the Equality of Opportunity Program. This conversation is part of a series of interviews filmed by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five French experts on the theme of equality of opportunity.

Not a French speaker? Follow along by downloading the English transcript of the entire interview with Louis-Georges Tin, available here.

Click here to watch other excerpts from this interview.

Are French Muslims Discriminated Against in their Own Country? An Experimental Study on the Job Market

The report, “Les Français musulmans sont-ils discriminés dans leur propre pays? Une étude expérimentale sur le marché du travail,” describes the research conducted in 2009 by Stanford Professor, David D. Laitin, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with French research firm, ISM-CORUM.

The study is the first to successfully isolate religion as the source of anti-Muslim discrimination in France from discrimination that may be caused by a “country effect” related to the North African origins of most French Muslims. Approximately three quarters of the estimated five million Muslims living in France originated from Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia, all former French colonies.

To overcome the country effect problem, the study’s researchers focused on a French population originating from a country outside North Africa, surveying more than 500 second-generation Senegalese Muslims and Christians. The survey showed that the Muslims suffer a significant economic disadvantage. After controlling for other factors, such as education, the researchers concluded that the disadvantage could not be explained by any factor other than religious heritage.

The researchers next conducted a “correspondence test,” creating employment CVs for three fictional job-seekers with differing religious and national signals, one an apparently French-indigenous individual, one a French-Senegalese with a Christian given name and one a French-Senegalese with a Muslim given name. The CVs were then sent in pairs, one from the “French” applicant and the other from either the “Christian” or “Muslim” applicant, in response to advertised positions at 300 French companies. The results showed clearly that the “Christian” job applicant was more than twice as likely to receive a call back as the “Muslim” applicant.

“The results showing evidence of discrimination due purely to religion, not national origin, meet the highest standards of statistical significance,”
commented Dr. Laitin. “There is no doubt that anti-Muslim discrimination is holding back Muslim economic success in at least one sector of the French labor market. We now need to focus on better understanding the mechanisms that drive the discrimination our research has identified.”

Jeffrey Rosen | 6. Toward the End of Affirmative Action?

Excerpt 6 of 8 of an interview between Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University of California, and Daniel Sabbagh, Senior Research Fellow at CERI – Sciences Po, and scientific advisor for the Equality of Opportunity Program. This conversation is part of a series of interviews filmed by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five American experts on the theme of equality of opportunity.

A transcript of the entire interview with Jeffrey Rosen is available here.

Click here to watch other excerpts from this interview.

France 24 Panel on Diversity with Professor Linda Hamilton Krieger

As the 2008 invited scholar in the Sciences Po-French-American Foundation program, Linda Hamilton Krieger, Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, gave a series of presentations at prestigious institutions such as the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), the Institut National d’Études Démographiques (INED), Centre d’Études et de Recherches Internationales (CERI-Sciences Po), Haute Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminations et pour l’Égalité (HALDE).  She also participated in a panel discussion on anti-discrimination policy and the prospect of using ethno-racial statistics in France on the global news network France 24 in May 2008. 

Waging a Living: "Through Education"

Barbara realizes that getting more education is essential to pulling her family out of poverty, but she must juggle her job, school, and responsibilities as a single mother. Clip 2 of 4 from Waging a Living, a documentary that chronicles the day-to-day battles of four low-wage earners fighting to make work pay.

Devah Pager | 3. New Research Questions for Audit Studies

Excerpt 3 of 7 of an interview between Devah Pager, associate professor of sociology at Princeton University, and Daniel Sabbagh, scientific advisor for the Equality of Opportunity Program and Director of Research at CERI – Sciences Po. This conversation was part of a series of interviews filmed by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five American experts on the theme of equality of opportunity in education and employment.

A transcript of the entire interview with Devah Pager is available here.

Click here to watch other excerpts from this interview.

Dominique Sopo | 7. Discrimination in the Housing Market

Excerpt 7 of 10 of an interview between Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme (the most influential grassroots organization in France), and Daniel Sabbagh, Senior Research Fellow at CERI-Sciences Po and scientific advisor for the Equality of Opportunity Program. This conversation is part of a series of interviews filmed by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five French experts on the theme of equality of opportunity.

Not a French speaker? Follow along by downloading the English transcript of the entire interview with Dominique Sopo, available here.

Click here to watch other excerpts from this interview.

Transcript of Interview of Louis-Georges Tin by Daniel Sabbagh

This is the transcript of a video interview between Louis Georges Tin, Vice President of the Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires (translated: Representative Council of Black Associations), and Daniel Sabbagh, Senior Research Fellow at CERI – Sciences Po and scientific advisor to the Equality of Opportunity Program. This conversation was part of a series of interviews produced by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five French experts on the theme of equal opportunity.

The following themes were discussed:

Video excerpts from the interview are on view here in the Video Library.

Now: Attacking Affirmative Action: "The Debate, Part 2"

This segment explores the controversy surrounding a 2008 Colorado ballot initiative seeking to end affirmative action. If successful, the initiative would have ended any consideration of race or gender by the state in hiring or college admissions. From Now: Attacking Affirmative Action, an episode of a PBS news series looking at both sides of the affirmative action debate.

Dennis Parker | 4. School Desegregation

Excerpt 4 of 8 of an interview between Dennis Parker, director of the Racial Justice Program at ACLU, and Daniel Sabbagh, scientific advisor for the Equality of Opportunity Program and Director of Research at CERI – Sciences Po. This conversation was part of a series of interviews filmed by the French-American Foundation between Daniel Sabbagh and five American experts on the theme of equality of opportunity in education and employment.

A transcript of the entire interview with Dennis Parker is available here.

Click here to watch other excerpts from this interview.

Equality of Opportunity Program