From an opinion column written by journalist Faïza Zerouala, published following a programme on Rachida Dati, to a radio documentary produced by Ilham Maad, a new crusade is being led against the discriminative use of the word beurette to describe young females of North African descent in France. The use of the term serves as proof, were it needed, that these members of society are still considered as exotic and ‘other’ due to their Arabic roots.
But why? One word: invisibility.
The reasons for this backlash are as numerous as they are complex. Nonetheless, as they continue to be excluded from fashion shows, communication campaigns and the general media landscape, these members of society urgently need to re-appropriate the term in order to claim a new and more plural identity for themselves, free from sexist and racist stigmas.
I.SIM: a collective
“The collective wishes to present the effervescence and appeal of different cultures from around the world from a contemporary perspective, unfiltered and free from stereotypes.
In the current climate, this desire has automatically been transformed into a protest, a duty to redefine and raise awareness.
The aim is to promote a dynamic cultural identity, and to celebrate it from a contemporary perspective. We hope to be able to broach serious subjects in a relaxed environment, with well-rounded and curious individuals who are prepared to share their points of view. We wish to revive the ancient Greek concept of the Agora as an essential component of urban spaces.”
The collective’s first event, I.SIM #1, will be held on 30 April at the Colonie in Paris. It will aim to represent an “Arab” world that is modern, dynamic, open-minded and, above all else, self-assured.
An “Arab” world that interacts with the world on its own terms, and not from the point of view of an ethnic or exotic minority.
I.SIM#1 wishes to underline the contribution made by this culture to contemporary creation, leaving behind the stereotyped representations to which it is so often subjected.
It is about constructing a new narrative and encouraging creativity and diversity of expression. After all, creation stimulates reflection and self-critiquing, producing the intellectual oxygen that all societies need to thrive.