Skewering racism on public radio

For those who are French-enabled, I thought I'd share a great radio skit that's stirred up controversy in France. There's a new humorous skit on French public radio called A votre écoute coûte que coûte (which I'd translate as "Listening to you, whatever the cost [to me of doing so]") about radio call-in show on health issues hosted by two insufferably smug and superficial experts (a doctor and a psychiatrist who are married).

This particular episode involves a call from a young woman who's distraught over her parents' racist reaction to her Moroccan boyfriend. It's pretty biting satire of attitudes towards Arabs in France (which, I think it’s fair to say, has even greater problems than America in this department thanks to its often tortured colonial history, especially in North Africa).

I won't try to summarize it other than saying it skewers the hidden racism of this ostensibly cosmopolitan and enlightened couple mordantly (e.g., in response to the revelation that the girl's parents refer to her boyfriend as a bougnoule–a French analog to "nigger"–the learned doctor dives into the etymological nuances to establish there's no reason to assume parents racist from this turn of phrase, only to quickly be informed they resort to sale Arabe, dirty Arab, for her boyfriend, as well).

Sadly, I have succeeded in finding neither an English transcript nor discussion of this controversy and I don’t have time to write it up, myself. That's probably because it's a recent broadcast, from January 23 (among my podcasts for my commute are a few French programs, so I heard about the case almost immediately on the Canadian CBC's Euromag podcast).

Beyond the biting satire–I love humor that draws blood, a la Chris Rock–I love the utter contrast between this show and the intellectually unchallenging, timorously bland–and, for all the caterwauling of the Right about its supposedly rampant liberalism—and unmistakably uncritically-pro-government, militaristic and right-leaning programming we get on what passes for "public" radio in America.

 


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