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Burkini and French culture
by Jay Gutman
2016-08-23 11:48:53
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In the US, when you notice something about someone, you usually let the person know by starting a conversation with them, but can’t let them know you noticed something that has to do with race or sexuality. If you notice someone’s car, habit or even their presence you usually talk about it. But you don’t make comments on a man or woman’s physical appearance, as it can be interpreted as flirtatious, even when that’s the thing you noticed in the first place.

bur01Now here are some things you are (sort of) not allowed to do in France:

-Talk about religion with strangers which includes:

-Talking about Church, prayer, prophets, scriptures, religious symbols, the history of religions, anything with religious connotations.

-Wearing anything with religious connotations. The seat in subways and busses next to Nuns and Priests tends to be vacant.

-You’re allowed to talk about Christmas because it’s considered a national holiday, but if you mention Easter or any other religious holiday people will start talking about the weather.

-Using expressions like “God knows” or “God forbid” is frowned upon and can be interpreted as an attempt at mocking the other person’s religious beliefs (even when it isn’t).

-Talk about money with strangers which includes: 

-How much you make.

-How much anyone (including the president) makes.

-Blatantly displaying an excessively cheap or expensive items (truffles are usually saved for Christmas)

-Talking about excessively cheap or expensive items.

-Luxury items are saved for “luxury events” which ironically tend to be charity events.

-Since cigarette prices have gone up, people tend to be careful where they smoke

-Mentioning places that have a reputation for luxury, including Western Paris, New York City, Antwerp or any other city with luxury connotations.

-Mentioning skills that tend to be associated with luxury or with poverty, don’t speak English or “ethnic languages” within hearing distance, when speaking English, either apologize or fake a French accent when speaking to native speakers, only allowed to speak English if you dress like a tourist. 

-Talking about such things will lead the conversation to be deviated to the weather.

-Wearing any item or accessory that implies richness or poverty.

-Mentioning a school background that implies richness or poverty (those who went to elite schools tend to say “I majored in engineering” as a euphemism, even when they really majored in law or political science at elite universities).

-Ordering the cheapest or most expensive item on the menu (even the waiter could be offended)

-A good way to bargain at the market is to say “C’est cher!” (that’s expensive) even when it’s not really expensive.

Hope this gives you a better idea about the whole burkini debate.

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Emanuel Paparella2016-08-23 13:42:33
And of course the least observation one is allowed to make is that in French secular culture there is a bias against the public practice of religion. It belongs in houses of worship for an hour once a week.

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