La race et la République

Depuis toujours, dans le domaine statistique, la question de la race est un sujet explosif, car les besoins de la science recoupent alors le terrain politique. Une fois de plus cette question suscite des débats passionnés en France, la perspective de l'introduction de "statistiques ethniques" entraînant une vive controverse qui touche au cœur même des valeurs du républicanisme français.

Un texte de loi qui remonte à la Révolution française et actualisé en 1978 interdit de collecter des données relatives aux origines ethniques ou raciales, réelles ou revendiquées, lors des recensements ou des enquêtes.

Il y a deux principales raisons à cela. La première tient au principe républicain inscrit dans la Constitution qui ne reconnaît que des citoyens et refuse toute distinction d'origine, de race ou de religion. La deuxième raison est historique : le souvenir douloureux et encore vivace du régime de Vichy lors de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, qui a faisait figurer les origines "raciales" et religieuses sur les documents d'identité, ce qui a été largement utilisé pour arrêter les juifs français et les envoyer vers les camps de la mort.

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