Velos de ignorancia

La decisión de Francia de prohibir a las estudiantes musulmanas llevar velos en las escuelas públicas se adoptó en nombre de la separación del Estado y la Iglesia, cuestión antigua y polémica en la historia de Francia, pero la aprobación de esa ley reveló algo más: lo difícil que les resulta a los franceses abordar lo que los americanos llaman la cuestión de las minorías.

De hecho, pese a sus diferencias aparentemente radicales, las dos naciones comparten el hábito similar de confundir la pobreza con otra cosa. En Francia, se confunde la pobreza con la religión; en los Estados Unidos, con la raza.

Como tantos americanos negros son pobres, muchas encuestas muestran que los americanos confunden la pobreza y el color negro de la piel. A la pregunta de "¿Por qué son tan pobres?", dos de cada tres americanos dicen que la causa radical es la pereza; sólo uno de cada tres cree que los negros pobres han tenido mala suerte. (Sin embargo, si se formula la misma pregunta a los americanos "que recientemente cenaron con un amigo negro", se invierte ese porcentaje.)

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