Let me see if I understand this correctly, the French government can impose limits on what a person can wear or not wear in order to attend government schools, yet a private company cannot say who it can hire to be sales staff for its products, even when the people appearing in those products are people of color?
France can ban the wearing of religious symbols even when those wearing them are doing so of their own free will in an expression of their religious beliefs in a society thatsupposedly promotes, liberty, fraternity and equality, while insisting at the same time that companies do not have the right to determine who they can employ in selling their products? No one sees the slightest bit of hypocrisy in the French position?
People, who of their own free will, practice a faith that may be different and not customary to the wider society and choose to wear clothes that express themselves in ways different than the majority, but who are at the same time law abiding citizens who do not frighten or intimidate others, should not have laws legislated which seek to limit or curtail that expression. In fact the beauty of liberty and freedom means acts of social interaction are interpreted based on the law, which should should not be enacted to deny expression, but rather the acts of illegality that expression may or may not encourage. Therefore, if a school girl walking down a French street is the victim of sexual harassment or assault it is the perpetrator of that action who should be limited not the girl wearing an article of clothing. What the French want to do is take the act of discipline off their hands by removing the object of people’s ire, and in the process limit the freedom of its citizens.
Likewise, companies who have broadly used women of color in their advertising campaigns but choose to hire a sales staff they think may be able to sale their product to a broad based clientele should not have the weight of the State descend on them in a punitive way. L’Oreal in France has to have the support of a majority of women of color in order to be profitable. If hiring people that reflect a certain demographic will give them that market, how can the State justify changing that dynamic and jeopardizing the viability of the Company? Will the State then say that the public MUST buy certain products in order to insure the success of a company so that it doesn’t go under because of the financially oppressive measures of the State? Don’t be surprised if that happens next.
For now, France is following in the tradition of other western countries that seek to use expressions of liberty and freedom as slogans which fall quickly when government wants to intervene in the lives of its citizens. The tools the state uses for this intervention are usually fear and loathing of opponents who are unknown or unfamiliar. Civilized people should recognize such tactics for what they are. Ignorant people are too easily persuaded and succomb to the deceit. The two cases above highlight how France is counting on the latter with its citizens! Que sera, sera!