Kim Kardashian is considered the ultimate role model for French Muslim girls who like dating black boys.
Paris is burning, and it's all Kim Kardashian's fault. OK, that's an overstatement, but the city's suburbs have been torn apart lately because of Arab French girls who happen to date black guys and the Arab French bigots who slut-shame them for doing so.
Since we are dealing with teenagers, the full extent of the issue is displayed on social media: Scrolling through Facemook—a sort of Facebook within Facebook, with more than 70,000 members—I stumbled upon countless offensive posts by groups with names such as "Anti beurette à khel" ("No to Arab girls dating black guys") and "Les beurettes utilisent l’Islam pour justifier leurs débauches" (Arab girls use Islam to justify their debauchery).
Clicking through the groups' pages, I realized this has evolved into a sort of modern-day witch hunt: Girls' photos, names, and even phone numbers are posted on the groups' "Timelines," often with humiliating captions. These girls are criticized for drifting away from Muslim traditions and for using something called the "Bilal excuse"—Bilal was the only black companion of the Prophet Muhammad.
Girl on the left: "Bilal was black, you racists." Girl on the right: "As long as he’s Muslim, we can suck his dick."
I called up my 32-year-old friend Haissam (whose name was changed to protect his identity), who works for a youth organization located in the northeastern suburbs of Paris. Naturally, he is quite upset to see young people fighting over such insanely inane matters.
VICE: Is this anger directed against Arab girls who are dating black guys a new phenomenon?
Haissam: I don’t think I've ever come across anything like this. There has always been a rivalry between North African teenagers and black teenagers, but it was more like banter. We knew it wasn’t serious. Today, I see a lot of people insulting these girls.
What is their problem?
They are accusing those girls of wearing too much makeup, staying out late at night, drinking, smoking, and using Islam as an excuse to redeem themselves. They say that these girls go out with young black guys because they think North African boys are too narrow-minded and bossy. When Muslim girls are criticized by their older brothers for their behavior, they'll say things like "He may be black, but he is Muslim, so you can not judge us. Only Allah can judge us," and that makes the bigots even angrier.
Has celebrity culture affected that phenomenon in any way?
Yes. I often hear that these girls want mixed-race children because of celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It’s trendy to have a mixed-race family. I also hear that these girls are huge fans of Kim Kardashian, because she’s dating Kanye West, and black men are popular in France thanks to rap and hip-hop. Once, a girl told me she thought they were “more stylish.”
Caption reads: "This is now the favorite spot of Arab girls. I don’t know how their brothers and their parents can accept this."
What is the situation like on a daily basis?
If an Arab girl walks with a black boy, they will be pointed at and called names. Some Arab teenage boys see this as a betrayal. A few years back, the problem was Arab girls who dated French boys; they were accused of doing that only to Westernize themselves. Now it’s even worse, though. As this phenomenon is growing, you get black guys fighting back and going around saying stuff like ”We’ll make all your sisters pregnant, and tomorrow Arab boys won’t exist any more.” You can read this all over internet.
I feel that these Facebook groups make the situation even worse.
Yes, social networks exacerbate this phenomenon. It's obvious that it's reached the point of obsession for some, when you see all those pictures of "girls who have betrayed their people" splattered on feeds and Timelines. In real life, where I work, I come across a lot of young people who are completely OK with this situation.
It also appears that at the moment this is a French phenomenon. I don't think it has reached the rest of the world yet. But I’m afraid this will change.
Caption reads: "Arab girls think it’s OK to smoke hookah with black guys because Bilal was black."
How did it get this bad?
Because of these Facebook groups. At the beginning it was a bunch of angry, misinformed kids or insane people. But as time passes, they are joined by more and more people, including girls who have a grudge against "these Arab girls who do not respect themselves and bring shame to the community."
I also see people advising guys not to fall into the trap of Arab girls who say they want to settle down.
Yeah, because they think that black guys leave the girls once they’re pregnant. The girls become single moms and are accused of hiding their bad reputation to attract Arab boys as if nothing had happened. Again, this is pretty much a fantasy. But it's a fantasy that fuels a lot of hatred.
And as suburban teenagers are divided, inequality persists and nobody wins. It's a shitty situation. I keep trying to make the young people I work with understand that, but they ignore me. "You don’t understand, this is super serious," they tell me.
Follow Emilie Laystary on Twitter.