Moussa Deme laughs out loud at the idea that the French would elect someone like [Barack] Obama, 46, to any political officewrites Celestine Bohlen in the International Herald Tribune.
"In France? Never," Deme, a 22-year-old Senegalese-born student, said on the way home from his job at a restaurant in Paris. "In France, it is impossible for a black man even to be mayor. They think it is enough that we are on their football team."
…"The French political system is archaic," Jazouli said. "In business, sports, music, entertainment, you find diversity in France. Not in politics."
Holding to the "republican" principle, France makes no distinction among its citizens by race, religion or ethnic origin. Still, minority representation in its political sphere remains a distant dream.
…His candidacy holds out hope for France's minorities, says Christine Ockrent, host of a popular French TV talk show and author of a book on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"The fact that he is of mixed blood brings out the idea of reconciliation," she says. "For all sorts of reasons, the U.S. is more advanced than France in terms of race relations. Remember, until eight or nine months ago, we had an all-white government. France is in no way an example."