Black feminist festival stirs outrage over black-only program

festival(GIN)—An “Afro-feminist” event has come under fierce fire from racist and anti-racist organizations who say that its upcoming affair, planned for Paris this summer, is anti-white, discriminatory or at best a mistake.

Even some of their traditional allies such as SOS Racisme have piled on against the Nyansapo Festival.

Socialist Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has threatened to ban the event on the grounds that it would be for black women only.

Festival organizers at the Mwasi Collectif Afrofeministe call the surprising outcry “a campaign of disinformation and fake news orchestrated by the extreme right” and say they are “saddened to see some anti-racist associations let themselves be manipulated”.

Messages on the group’s  website appear to be moderate at best. They call for building “lasting strategies and solidarities to advance our struggles.”

At the July event, four fifths of the festival area would be reserved for black women (described as “non-mixed”) for debates and the construction of a political strategy and agenda, developing a language of words and reflections on Afro-feminist theories.

A “mixed space” will be open with exchanges on “decolonized feminisms.”

A third space, open to all, will house roundtables, showcases and exhibitions.

This constructive program failed to impress SOS Racisme which called the festival “a mistake, if not an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, while anti-racism is a movement which aims to go beyond race.”

The International League Against Racism and Antisemitism added: “(U.S. civil rights icon) Rosa Parks would be turning in her grave… The fight against racism has become an excuse for identity isolationism.”

The regional head of the far-right National Front party challenged Mayor Hidalgo to explain the “blatantly racist” event.

The Mwasi Collective is a self-described African Afro-feminist collective created in 2014 by a group of Africans and Black Afrodescendants.

“This collective is not mixed because we think we are best placed to grasp the weapons of our emancipation,” they wrote on their website. “Mwasi is neither against men nor against other ethno-racial groups. Indeed, they will be able to join our actions as allies after consultation of the members of the collective.”

The festival runs from July 28 through July 30.

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Category: Africa Briefs

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