Rama Yade: from sarkozysm to wokism

Is it the air of the United States that influences Rama Yade? After failing to stand for the presidential election in 2017 (for lack of sponsorship) and then suffered a severe defeat in the legislative elections (5.65% of the vote in the first constituency of Loir-et-Cher), the former secretary of State chose to go into exile, moving to Washington to work with the Atlantic Council, a think tank where she became Africa director in March. And obviously, the ideas animating the Democratic Party across the Atlantic have largely convinced the former Secretary of State of Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a long interview at The Express, Rama Yade surprises, by engaging in a convinced defense of the movement woke. These ideas combine American racialism, intersectionality, a fierce defense of minorities, a taste for censorship and intimidation: a patchwork coherent but complex, which frequently gives rise, in recent weeks, to a surge of at least confused criticism, in particular on the part of the conservative right-wing, quick to see the hand of “wokism” behind each social trend that it rejects. Nevertheless: ideology woke comes into such frontal opposition with French republican universalism that it is not trivial to see a former minister from the right claim it. At least she does not deny its existence, like a large part of the left …

“It is still not shameful to fight inequalities! « 

While our colleagues from The Express evoke several drifts of American progressivism (lynchings on social networks, censorship and ideological dismissals …), Rama Yade sweeps these reservations en bloc:  » I do not share at all these fears, these tensions in front of what we called the movement woke or the cancel culture, ”she says, applauding the Black Lives Matter movement. «  Wokism has been abused as a tool of censorship. In reality, it is just the refusal of discrimination. It is still not shameful to fight inequalities! Whatever name you give it, it is a noble fight, for justice and for the demand for equality that the homeland of human rights should be proud of. « 

Indeed, the fact that this ideology which claims “deconstruction” is inspired by French intellectuals, such as Jacques Lacan or Michel Foucault, is a source of pride for Yade. Who does not, however, share the notion of cultural appropriation, used by activists woke to criticize the novelist Timothée de Fombelle, accused of writing about a little black girl in the days of slavery when he has white skin:  » An elderly white man can quite put himself in the shoes of a little black girl and tell the story. It is the magic of literature, of creation. The demand for equality is not separatism, secession, justice through injustice, it is universal, the sharing of humanity. « 

Critique of universalism

Rama Yade, on the other hand, is very critical of French universalism, or at least of its application, which is considered very insufficient on the national territory.  » Claiming that races do not exist in France while racism is everywhere has plunged our country into serious current perils, she attacks. People still say they are anti-racist, but the elites are almost all white. « The former secretary of state further believes that » France was a slave like the United States « , Referring to the trafficking of Africans in the West Indies, but that our country » rewrote his past to deny what he was « .

For Rama Yade, “ the negation leads to proposing as an answer only repression ”, Whether it is about racism or police violence. A charge that is both relevant and outrageous: the forty-something is right to point out the new function of republican universalism, brandished as a totem pole by political figures who had never especially held it in their hearts, but use it to deny the existence of discrimination.


It hits the mark, also, by deploring the inability of the French to  » develop [leurs] own thought tools, [leurs] own repositories On these themes, reduced to seizing American tools, whether it is to tackle them on national reality or to abhor them.  » To love France is to remind her of her humanism », Proclaims Yade, who remembers that« the deep nature of universalism must be anti-racism « And point » those who claim to embody the Republic in all its rigor [mais] only criticize freedom and equality. « 

However, we cannot help but regret a certain naivety of Rama Yade, who turns a blind eye to the countless drifts born of the movement. woke, which has become a weapon of mass destruction of the universalist ideal in academic, media and cultural circles. The former Secretary of State does not hesitate to claim controversial militant figures, such as the historian Ibram X. Kendi, for whom to declare  » I am not racist Is a form of white supremacism (!), Or the sociologist Eric Fassin, importer of American identity ideas in France.

Micro aggression

Naivety, always, when Rama Yade publicly laments that the decolonial activist Rokhaya Diallo and the universalist feminist Élisabeth Badinter  » shout publicly under the applause of racist masculinists « , While they » should have been in the same camp, fighting the same fight, that of the universal anti-racist »: It is not to see (on purpose?) That the followers of the woke every day they are trying to destroy any possibility of building a universalist ideal, sometimes with the strong support of the United States or of Islamist groups.

Rama Yade also does not avoid caricature and simplification, stating that  » pass in Paris in front of the figure of Colbert »Constitutes a « Micro-aggression « , Or that those who criticize the excesses of neofeminism are » nostalgic for the days when they could quietly dominate women and mock blacks « . Excesses which risk rendering inaudible the few pertinent criticisms that it formulates against the supporters of an aboveground universalism.

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