French magazine sparks outrage over racist portrayal of black lawmaker


The story then tells how Ms. Obono is taken to markets where enslaved Africans are sold, but has not found a buyer: “Danièle has not found a buyer, without knowing whether she should rejoice or complain, and not without feeling, absurdly, a little blow to his pride.

The story ends when Mrs. Obono is bought by a French cleric, released and taken to a monastery in France to recover from the experience.

In a phone interview, Ms Obono said she refused to read the whole story and called it “a degrading and demeaning portrayal of myself and 18th century Africa”. The magazine’s editors said their goal was to remind readers that slavery in Africa was not only perpetrated by Europeans, but Africans as well.

Ms. Obono, 40, is a seasoned leftist activist who has long been involved in anti-racist organizations. Critics accused her of exaggerating the scars left by colonization as well as France’s participation in the slave trade, a subject that remains sensitive in the country.

In a statement, the magazine’s editors said they chose to portray Ms Obono in the story because she had contributed to “the ideological enterprise of falsifying history.”

Ms. Obono said the magazine’s article was part of a “well-known far-right revisionist strategy, which aims to minimize responsibility for the transatlantic slave trade and its political, economic and social consequences”.

Valeurs Actuelles, a small generalist news magazine created in 1966, has often been accused of offensive coverage.


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