Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French president and one of American liberals’ top baes of the moment, was caught saying some racist things about Africa recently.
Speaking at a press conference during the the G20 summit over the weekend, Macron said the “challenges” in Africa were “civilizational” and rooted in problems such as mothers having “seven or eight children.”
The comments came after a journalist from Ivory Coast asked about France’s role in sending financial aid to Africa. Macron disputed the idea that foreign dollars can solve deep-seated problems that are “civilizational”:
The challenge in Africa is very different, and much more profound. It is civilizational today. What are the problems in Africa? Failed states. Complex democratic transitions. Demographic transitions, which is, as I said this morning, one of the essential challenges in Africa. .... When countries today have 7-8 children per woman, one can use and dispense billions of euros and still stabilize nothing.
Blaming the Africans who call some of the planet’s more impoverished regions their homes is nothing new, particularly from leaders of countries that spent hundreds of years ruling countries on the continent through brutal colonial rule. Macron—who, ironically, once made headlines for his condemnation of French racism and colonialism in Africa—is, unfortunately, just the latest Frenchman to indulge in such racism.
So the next time you’re tempted to spout glowing praise about how great and presidential Macron is compared to the former reality TV pitchman that resides in our Oval Office, maybe think of this moment.
Thanks to my colleague Jorge Corona for help with the English translation.