Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • French discrimination against Muslims

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on November 7th, 2005 (All posts by )

    I had written about the dismal French suburbs, and their dysfunctional architecture in this post.

    There are questions in the comment section why the Muslims aren’t moving out of these quarters, if they don’t like it there, and if architecture really is a problem in that it makes people aggressive.

    First of all, living in these quarters isn’t just optional for the vast majority of their inhabitants. Few French landlords will rent houses or flats out to Muslims, and that is that. The same discrimination happens in the workplace, and given the stagnant jobmarket and high unemplyoment, this, too, is very hard to overcome for individual Muslims. Anti-discrimination laws change very little, for they are easy enough to circumvent.

    Secondly, I didn’t mean to say that most people living in these banlieus would turn ‘bad’, but the lack of privacy and generally dysfunctional architecture will increase the general level of aggression. The importance of privacy for the formation of a society where enough people act decently to make a halfway normal way of living possible cannot be overstated. Privacy is especially important during the formative years – children unable to shut out the world now and then by closing the door of a room of their own will, like it or not, develop a strong ‘territorial imperative’ and be generally be quite prickly. All to often, they’ll act out their territorial imperative as members of street gangs fighting over turf. They won’t be in the majority, but too many for the law-abiding majority to fight on their own, if the police won’t do it.

    If you doubt the importance of privacy, you are taking too much for granted. Imagine living in conditions, where you can’t speak a word inside your own appartement without neighbors hearing every word, where you are unable to shut the door against the people sharing the appartment with you, and where hundreds of eyes, a lot of which belong to malevolent people, observe every move you make inside your own neighborhood. Add the frustration of being unable to ever escape these infuriating and demeaning conditions, not to mention being in constant danger, and you’ll have a pretty good idea how it feels to live in a French banlieu.

    And then there is the French police: They won’t dare to enter dangerous areas, but will act very aggressively and provocatively whenever they have the upper hand. In other words, they act just like another street gang, which doesn’t increase the Muslims’ respect for the French state and its laws, and also makes them dangerous to approach even for law-abiding Muslims.

    Update Via Instapundit: Please also see this blog post comparing the banlieux with the set of A Clockwork Orange.

    Update II I’m taking a bit of a beating in the comments section, about my assertion that the architecture of the French suburbs has something to do with the high level of aggression and the riots there, so I’ll hide behind this article at the American Spectator for a moment to catch my breath:

    As noted elsewhere the rioters are second-and third generation immigrants who, for a variety of reasons, have failed to assimilate into French culture. France’s North African immigrants arrived during its post-war industrialization when cheap labor was essential. They were (and remain) settled in ex-urban wastelands in the same kind of LeCorbusier “projects” that were a haven for criminals and drug dealers in America’s inner cities. Then, once the French factories closed and the jobs went overseas, the immigrants were given enough welfare to ensure that they would be forever dependent on an uncaring and inhuman French bureaucracy.

    It is important to note that the rioters are not poor. Compared to the natives in their countries of origin they are doing rather well. But as for taking significant steps up the socio-economic ladder, their prospects are slim. Who, after all, is going to hire an unskilled worker from the projects if, due to extreme labor protection laws, he is all but impossible to get rid of, regardless of performance?…

    I never claimed mono-causality. Lex pointed out in a comment that comparable housing projects didn’t turn bad until the right to live there became an entitlement. Well, living in the French projects is pretty much mandatory for the people living there, they can’t get rid of troublemakers, and new ones are dumped in all the time. Add to that non-existent policing, so that those areas become a haven for criminal gangs, and the negative factors the architecture provides, and you will end up with a higher statistical probability that kids growing up there become violent.

    I hope that I’m getting my point across this time around. I’m not trying to make excuses for anyone here.

    I said in the original post above that the architecture would help to create a higher level of aggression, given that you can’t escape living there due to pervasive discrimination – that is not an excuse for the individual aggressive person or criminal, for it is everybody’s individual responsibility to control such urges.

    Likewise, when I make a prediction that such and such conditions will increase the level of aggression and criminality, compared to certain other conditions, I’m not making excuses for anyone. I wouldn’t dream of claiming that these conditions are mitigating factors for each individual criminal. Commenter xj says

    I’d agree that it makes no sense to blame buildings for crimes. Blame criminals.

    Agreed, but like it or not, there will be more of them under these conditions.

    I also had written that not everybody would turn ‘bad’, which they indeed haven’t done. But once you reach a certain threshold of general criminality, you won’t be able to turn things to the better without outside intervention.

    And James: The Soylent Green reference is very much appreciated, but I’m not into pop psychology, thank you very much. :)

     

    10 Responses to “French discrimination against Muslims”

    1. Helen Says:

      Anyone who doubts the importance of privacy should talk to people who grew up in the communal flats of the Soviet Union and find out what that did to people.

    2. Sandy P Says:

      This is OT re: the gun thread, found a couple of stories over the past week out of CA, via DailyPundit:

      …Now then, I’m open to Mr. Jarrette’s view, and over several months we chatted about getting together with a few of his law enforcement friends to discuss it. They have a simple message they want to get out:

      American citizens simply cannot count on the police to protect them from assault. Almost always, the only thing the police can do is show up after the fact and sort things out. Laws are not written to prevent crime; they are written to give society the means to punish the criminal after he has committed his misdeed.

      In short, when crunch time comes, you are on your own. And if you really want to improve your odds of surviving an encounter with a felon, you’ve got to have a handgun handy….

      —-

      The SFPD came out against no one owning guns except for police and those retired police.

      1 comment in another story was what about an earthquake when anarchy reigns?

    3. James R. Rummel Says:

      Privacy is especially important during the formative years – children unable to shut out the world now and then by closing the door of a room of their own will, like it or not, develop a strong ‘territorial imperative’ and be generally be quite prickly. All to often, they’ll act out their territorial imperative as members of street gangs fighting over turf.

      So children that have to share their rooms with older siblings are going to become gang members? They’re more violent than people who come from one-child households?

      If you doubt the importance of privacy, you are taking too much for granted. Imagine living in conditions, where you can’t speak a word inside your own appartement without neighbors hearing every word, where you are unable to shut the door against the people sharing the appartment with you, and where hundreds of eyes, a lot of which belong to malevolent people, observe every move you make inside your own neighborhood. Add the frustration of being unable to ever escape these infuriating and demeaning conditions, not to mention being in constant danger, and you’ll have a pretty good idea how it feels to live in a French banlieu.

      Sounds like you were an extra in Soylent Green, Ralf.

      Except for having “hundreds of eyes” staring at me from malevolent people, this is a pretty fair description of the conditions while I was growing up.

      I think I get it now. You’re saying that poor people are bad. Or that they’re different mentally than everyone else, at least.

      I don’t mean to offend, Ralf, but it sounds to me like pop psychology offered without any real basis in fact.

      It’s like the assertion that certain types of architecture will inflict “psychological deformities and neuroses on their inhabitants”. It’s something that archetects might say to each other in order to convince that their profession has more influence than it really does. It puffs up their egos, but I think the idea that a building plan can control my mind is James Bond villian territory. Instead of designing public housing, Le Corbusier should have gotten a few sharks with friggin’ lasers in their heads.

      James

    4. lucklucky Says:

      Portuguese bidonville 1960’s France

      http://www.bloncourt.net/index-4.html

      Compare and contrast the “architecture” and the behaviour…

    5. Lex Says:

      There was a piece in The Public Interest a long time ago that demonstrated that all the supposedly “inevitably” awful housing projects were not crime-ridden cement jungles until after the law was changed in the early 1970s turning public housing into an entitlement. Prior to that you had to apply to get in and you got evicted if you failed to pay rent or misbehaved. The housing authorities did a decent job. My sister’s former boyfriend grew up in a housing project in Boston under the old rules. There was virtually no crime and the families took turns sweeping the halls and stairs. However, it was found that this set of rules had a disproportionate impact on minorities, so the rules were changed. Thank you, Senator Brook. Once you could not evict the troublemakers, the quality of life took a nosedive. It simply makes no sense to blame the buildings themselves for the problem. One ChicagoBoy I know used to live in the rather Orwellian Presidential Towers in Chicago. He was not driven mad by the experience. The problem is that the government either cannot or will not police these buildings and access to the buildings.

    6. xj Says:

      I’d agree that it makes no sense to blame buildings for crimes. Blame criminals.

      The banlieux do indeed look like the set of A Clockwork Orange, which is not surprising since they are both examples of twentieth-century municipal architecture: the external scenes of Alex’s apartment in the movie were shot not on a movie set but on Thamesmead, an outer London housing project. If there have been any riots at Thamesmead, I certainly have not heard of them.

      (FWIW I live in an apartment with very thin walls. I was once talking to a neighbour of mine about something or other and out of the blue she said: “You laugh so much. It’s really good.” I have never laughed in front of her, so I guess she must have heard me laugh through the walls. I haven’t gone out into the streets and set fire to anything.)

      Poverty, squalor, deprivation and LeCorbusieresque housing projects aren’t the reason for criminal acts. They’re the excuse.

    7. American Mother Says:

      You know you have thin walls (and floors!) when the downstairs neighbor’s little wind-up alarm clock wakes you up…It wasn’t a high-rise project, but while my first apartment was in a crime and prostitute-infested area, I managed to get out of there without being a criminal or a hooker! I didn’t even have electricity for a while, but it never crossed my mind to set the neighbor’s car on fire for light and heat!

      A rioter is a criminal using a mob as an excuse.

    8. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Folks,

      I wasn’t saying that architecture made all, or even just very many people into criminals. But if you take it, and the other factors I mentioned, like the inhabitants having to live there, wide-spread discrimination, absence of policing etc, etc, and the statistical probability that kids turn out to be criminals rises significantly.

      I never claimed monocausality.

    9. Ralf Goergens Says:

      There was a piece in The Public Interest a long time ago that demonstrated that all the supposedly “inevitably” awful housing projects were not crime-ridden cement jungles until after the law was changed in the early 1970s turning public housing into an entitlement.

      In the French case it isn’t an entitlement, but mandatory. Think about that, youn’st just not get rid of troublemakers, new ones are dumped in all the time.

    10. Thamesmedian Says:

      with regards xj’s post about Thamesmead unfortunately Thamesmead is currently victim to several gangs, with residents reporting large gang-fights, public drug-dealing, attacks on the attending Police officers, passing cars and buses being mobbed of an evening ++
      Anyone wishing to pass on information please refer to the contact pages of http://www.action4thamesmead.co.uk