Though initially opposed to a segregated “blacks only” event to be held in Paris, the city’s mayor has reversed course and given the event her support following complaints from feminist organizations.
Anne Hidalgo, a member of the French Socialist Party, previously announced in a series of tweets her plans to reject the segregated “Afro-feminist” festival Nyansapo. The festival insisted on banning white people from participating, prompting Hidalgo to threaten a lawsuit against its founders, the Mwasi Collective, an “Afro-feminist” association.
The issue first came to light after anti-racism groups like The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) discovered the festival’s intention to restrict whites from participating, reserving only a single activity for a mixed-race crowd. LICRA tweeted that “Rosa Parks would be turning in her grave” if she knew what they were doing.
The mayor claims to have had a change of heart after a series of “firm discussions” with the Mwasi Collective, and stated publicly that a “clear solution” had been reached allowing the event to go on as originally planned.
But Mwasi disputed her characterization of the situation, and called her a liar for her claim that her discussions with them forced them to change the event in any way. Users on social media claim that the only reason she changed her stance was due to pressure from feminists and Black Lives Matter activists on social media.
Her phrase, “After my firm intervention,” or “Suite à mon intervention ferme,” became a trending hashtag in France following her claims that she did anything at all to intervene in the situation.
Nyansapo will go on with the racial prohibition in place for its blacks-only segregated spaces and workshops. The Mwasi collective says that the segregation was planned from the very start. With the go-ahead from the mayor, Mwasi is now demanding a public apology from the Paris City Council.
One of the event’s hosts, La Générale, says that the only voices in opposition to the event were from racist organizations and that the complaints were “fake news.” In a statement, the organization claims that the venue was “the target of a campaign of disinformation and fake news orchestrated by the most extreme right.”
Mwasi Collective’s demands for black-only segregated spaces have been supported by liberal publications like The Guardian, which wrote an argument in support of modern Apartheid. Nelson Mandela is rolling in his grave.
Huffington Post, meanwhile, called complaints over the segregated festival the result of “white fragility,” which they claim remains “alive and well” in Paris.