levi-strauss

Much has been written these last few days on Claude Lévi-Strauss. Le Monde devoted four pages to the Grandfather of Anthropology, who has died aged 100. In an odd irony - after reams of praise for his insights into ethnographic diversity and the rich taxonomy of humankind - an unrelated article in the same paper describes how shocking it is that some French companies have been discovered - by SOS Racisme - to be compiling statistics on employee ethnicity.

This is illegal in France since the 1978 law banning any collection of such stats in either public or private sectors - to discourage the disintegration of French culture into multiculturalism (a negative term, there). Hold on: Lévi-Strauss was French and he did precisely that: he collected data on ethnicity.

And in Britain, it is standard policy in both public and private sectors to do so - in order to monitor the success of multiculturalism (a positive term, there). But hold on! Some black people object to being called "black people".

A funny business, race. Seems that only certain people have the privilege of acknowledging it. Hey, isn't that... racist?