(FINNBAY-ANSAmed) – Paris, 11 December 2013. The new Miss France has come in for an online racist onslaught. Shortly after the nineteen-year-old Flora Coquerel was crowned on Saturday, racist slurs began appearing on Facebook and Twitter that referred to her as a ”nigger”, alongside slogans like ”death to foreigners” and ”it would be good to see a bit of white in our country”.
”I am mixed race and proud to be so,” Miss France said. ”Many people can identify with me. I am proof of a multicultural France.” The first Miss France of African origins, Sonia Rolland, came to Coquerel’s defense, noting that when she was crowned in 2000, ”there weren’t any social networks. After I was voted in, I received 2,700 insulting letters, some of which I published in my book ‘Les Gazelles n’ont pas Peur du Noir’ (The Gazelles Aren’t Afraid of Black). At the time I opted not to speak about it. I didn’t want to give any importance to a small group of ignorant racists when those who had voted for me were open enough to choose a French-Rwandan mulatto woman.”
”We had believed that this form of racism, which we could call primary – in the sense of primitive – had disappeared by the end of the twentieth century,” the lawyer Gaspard Benilan told the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur.
”Internet and sense of impunity that it gives rise to forces us to acknowledge that it is still alive and well among some of our fellow citizens.”
Benilan feels that the racist statements on social networks should be condemned. ”It is necessary now more than ever,” he said, ”that the justice system intervene so that the internet does not become a huge rubbish bin entirely lacking in dignity and respect.”