Dancer attach Berthomieux says that once French human being use the English indigenous "black," "It’s a trendy way to to speak "noir.""


Words relenten race and also skin color vary wildly across languages. 

Even within languages. In the UK for example, “Asian” usually describes South Asians. In the US, it’s an ext likely come refer to east Asians. 


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every week top top The human being in Words, Patrick Cox and also Nina Porzucki call stories about languages and the civilization who speak them.

So what about the word “black”? that is used, to a higher or lesser extent, across the English-speaking world.

You are watching: What does noir mean in french

But it’s additionally used in France — the English word, the is, together the French word for black, "noir." Emma Jacobs, a reporter climate based in Paris, said me about this a couple of months ago. And also so we put together a podcast ~ above this. 

Jacobs traces the word’s history in France — which is itself a history of perspectives toward race and also racial identity that are far different from those in the united States. 

Both nations are idealistic, rooted in 18th-century revolutions and grand rebab.netnciples. However while numerous in the united state value racial and also ethnic difference, France look at itself as a color-blind society that rejects the race-based policies of its colonial past. So, making use of the word noir is almost un-French. 

Which has actually left part black French citizens questioning ongoing racism in France and also looking to the United says for black function models: Michael Jackson, Carl Lewis, Barack and also Michelle Obama. The English word black is inspirational. 

That snapshot is muddied by the climb of Donald Trump and the renewal of American nativism. The nuances of black in France may again it is in changing. 

Podcast Contents

00:05 Trump walk "black"

2:10 What Emma discovered at "Le black Movie Summer."

4:33 "It"s considered an extremely rude to usage "noir.""


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5:50 France"s new post-World war II color-blind society.

7:15 The arrival of American hip-hop.

8:55 Carl Lewis and also Michael Jackson, American icons in France.

10:00 "The Warriors" and also the "Black Boys"

12:05 Black, Blanc, Beur and the 1998 human being Cup.

16:10 concurrently visible and invisible.

18:05 France has concerned overemphasize religion. 

18:40 French Black resides Matter.

19:35 The trouble of taking the us as one inspiration.

21:05 exactly how does Trump readjust this?

You can follow The civilization in Words stories on Facebook or i ordered it to the podcast on iTunes.

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