DANS LA RUE: Paris Urban Youth Culture
 
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After the 2010 Techno Parade of 30,000 people (or 300,000, depending on your stat source) danced through the streets of Paris Saturday, the interweb is brimming with two different narratives of the event:

- The Techno Parade was crazy, fun, and full of good humor!

- The Techno Parade was hijacked by hooded thugs causing trouble! (This narrative clearly embedded with racist undertones)

The AFP (Agence France-Presse) described the event:

"Techno Parade inaugurated its new version on Saturday in the streets of Paris, on the occasion of its 12th edition, during which the audience danced to the sound of techno music in a relaxed festive and colorful." (Please excuse the awkwardness of this Google translation.)

Additionally the AFP states that the police reported no incidents at the event.

Here's video coverage of the parade from another newspaper Le Parisien:

In stark contrast, Le Figaro's article (Le Figaro being the oldest French newspaper) titled "38 arrests at the Techno Parade in Paris" focuses on the police's handling of "troublemakers" from red light districts of the suburbs:

"Groups of thugs were attacking passersby, yelling at each office to intimidate them. But hardly these aggressive packs were beginning to break up the police trap was closing in on them. In small groups, the thugs were promptly driven in buses to join the local police headquarters…"

Moreover, the article cites blog videos that "show real hooded hordes of people, including many teenagers of African origin, intimidating passers-by…"

The article most likely refers to this video, produced by Projet Apache, that portrays "Violence at the Techno Parade" at the hands of black youth.

Projet Apache is clearly an uber-conservative, French nativist blog that engages in the age-old conservative practice of fear-mongering, calling the youth "thugs" that attack anyone who is a little "too white."  Like conservatives in the US who have appropriated and flipped the language of Civil Rights activists, this blog claims that anti-white racism is rampant and needs to be brought to an end.
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Out of context, it's unclear what this image represents, same as the video above.
A commenter on Le Figaro, who cites Projet Apache, warns of what will happen when these gangs or hordes of thugs become organized.  He fears that one day they will loot Paris from top to bottom.  The seeds of hate clearly well sown here in Paris.

Thankfully online magazines Musique Mag and Agora Vox (a citizen journalism driven site) are calling Le Figaro out on its racist coverage of the parade.  However, the online poll attached to the latter article indicates that 70% of readers "agree" with the video depicting the violence.  I'm not sure if that means they agree that violence was a huge problem or that they agree that the coverage is biased.

Unfortunately I wasn't at the parade to witness everything with my own eyes, but judging from these pictures and knowing how media tends to sensationalize what goes on at large youth gatherings, I'm going to say that for the most part, despite a few probelmatic incidents, overall this event was probably good times across a diversity of people.  It set out to bring people together in a fun, festive way, and in that regard it seems to have succeeded. 

12/03/2010 7:13am

Thanks coach factory store? I hope that's some crazy inside-joke nickname, or does the coach store actually like reading about Paris youth culture??

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07/30/2013 6:44am

I am sure that you had a great time at Paris while doing your Master's. The racist feeling of the old can never be eliminated completely. But, the opinion of a few conservatives should not be the basis on which we judge others. Techno Parade did bring many people from different sections of the society together. In that sense it was a success.

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09/07/2013 12:21pm

Where can I find out when this was posted?

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    Brian is a writer, dancer, activist, and general hip hop head from New York City. He is currently working towards his Master's in Global Communications in Paris.  



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