A group of French police officers are under investigation after images of the officers in blackface hit the web. According to reports, they were attending a private party when someone posted the images to Facebook. Although the user deleted the pictures, screen grabs of the images quickly made the rounds on social media.
“Someone I know pointed out to me the existence of these photos on the Facebook account of a friend of hers,” Claudy Siar, former Interministerial Delegate for Equal Opportunities for France told BFMTV. “Before me, she called him and expressed his shock. Taken by surprise, his friend downplayed the facts, arguing that they ‘just wanted to have fun’ with friends and “make a n-gga evening.’ She immediately removed the photos, but the screenshots were already made. Convinced that there was not a hoax, I decided to make them available.”
The pictures showed guests dressed in afro wigs with their faces painted black. Some of the partygoers posed with bananas and mimicked monkeys, and others wore braids and dressed in “ethnic” clothing.
While the images from the event were startling, one of the most troubling aspects of the incident was that police officers were apparently in attendance.
“If the police officers who have the responsibility to fight against racism are more busy making fun of black people than defending them, it could explain why things have advanced so little in this domain,” Louis-Georges Tin, president of the Black advocacy group Conseil Representatif des Associations Noires, said.
Tin added: “The black people of this country don’t have to put up with racial profiling by day and blackface by night.”
Although France purports itself to be a country that believes race doesn’t exist, as stipulated by its constitution, racism is still quite rampant in France. Last year, Christiane Taubira, a Black justice minister, was called a monkey during an event, and earlier this year Flora Coquerel, the Beninian-French Miss France winner, was met with vicious bigotry by her compatriots after taking home the crown.
The General Inspectorate of the National Police has opened an investigation into this latest incident, and the police commissioner of the Kremlin Bicetre is expected to convene shortly.