Покровы невежества

Решение французского правительства запретить ученицам-мусульманкам в государственных школах носить на голове платки было принято во имя принципа отделения церкви от государства - принципа, воплощающего собой старый и докучливый вопрос французской истории. Но принятие этого закона обнаружило также кое-что другое: насколько трудно французам иметь дело с тем, что американцы называют проблемой меньшинств.

На самом деле, хотя с виду эти две нации радикально отличаются одна от другой, у них есть общая привычка - путать бедность с чем-то другим. Во Франции бедность путают с вероисповеданием, в Америке бедность путают с расовым происхождением.

Поскольку столь многие чернокожие жители Америки бедны, многочисленные опросы показывают, что американцы путают бедность с тёмным цветом кожи. На вопрос: "Почему они так бедны?" - два из трёх американцев отвечают, что основной причиной является лень; только один из трёх считает, что чернокожим беднякам не повезло. (Соотношение, однако, меняется на обратное, если тот же вопрос задают американцам, которые "недавно обедали с чернокожим другом".)

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