Recently Trevor Noah has received criticism for his comments regarding members of the French national team that won the World Cup being of African descent so Africa was the winner. The responses to Noah have recently included Gerard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States, who objected to the joke.
In response to Noah’s joke, Araud wrote:
I watched with great attention your July 17 show when you spoke of the victory of the French team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final which took place last Sunday. I heard your words about an “African” victory. Nothing could be less true.
As many of the players have already stated themselves, their parents may have come from another country, but the great majority of them, all but two out of 23 were born in France. They were educated in France. They learned to play soccer in France. They are French citizens. They’re proud of their country, France. The rich and various backgrounds of these players are a reflection of France’s diversity.
Unlike in the United States of America, France does not refer to its citizens based on their race, religion, or origin. To us, there is no hyphenated identity. Roots are an individual reality. By calling them an African team, it seems like you’re denying their French-ness. This, even in jest, legitimizes the ideology which claims whiteness is the only definition of being French.
Noah quipped back that points provided by Aruad were a “reflection of France’s colonialism” before speaking in favor of the United States, which was shaded by French Ambassador.
“That is what I love about America. America is not a perfect country, but what I love about this place is that people can still celebrate their identity in their American-ness.”
View the entire response to the French Ambassador and the full letter below.
— French Embassy U.S. (@franceintheus) July 18, 2018