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Trevor Responds to Criticism from the French Ambassador – Between The Scenes | The Daily Show


I wanted to share this
little story with you. I got into a little
bit of trouble with the French Government. (audience laughing) I know. The French Government. So what happened was, let’s
start at the beginning. France won the World Cup. (audience cheering
and applauding) And so on the show,
we celebrated that
and I had this joke where I said, I said
Africa won the World Cup. (audience cheering
and applauding) Yeah, and I was shocked at
how angry a lot of French people got, like genuine,
a lot of French people were angry and they were like,
“Oh Trevor how can you say this, why would you
say these things? (audience laughing) You know this is horrible.”
and I was like okay, I get it, not everyone
likes every joke that you tell and I get that
but this was interesting. I got a letter from the
ambassador of France. And I’ll read it to you,
it was about that joke. And he says, I’ll try to read
it how I hope he wrote it. (audience laughing) Which was he says, “Sir I
watched with great attention your July 17th show when
you spoke of the victory of the French team at the
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia final which took
place last Sunday. I heard your words about
an African victory, nothing could be less true.” (audience laughing) Now, first of all, I think
it could have been less, I could have says they
were Scandinavian. (audience laughing) That would have been less true, that would have been less true. He says, “As many of the
players have already stated themselves, their parents
may have come from another country but a great
majority of them — all but two out of 23
were born in France. They were educated in
France, they learned to play soccer in France,
they are French citizens. They’re proud of
their country, France. The rich and various
backgrounds of these players is a reflection of
France’s diversity. France is indeed…” Now that
line there was interesting. The rich and various
backgrounds of these players is a reflection of
France’s diversity. Now, I’m not trying to
be an asshole but I think it’s more a reflection
of France’s colonialism. (audience cheering
and applauding) Because it’s not like it’s
just like random players, like they all have
something in common. Like all of those players
if you trace their lineage you’re like how did
you guys become French? Like, how did your family start
speaking French? Oh, okay. (audience laughing) And it says here, he says,
“France is indeed a cosmopolitan country but every citizen is
part of the French identity and together they belong
to the nation of France. Unlike in the United
States of America, France does not refer to its
citizens based on their race, religion or origin. To us,
there is no hyphenated identity. Roots are an individual reality, by calling them an African team
it seems like you’re denying their Frenchness. This,
even in jest, legitimizes the ideology which
claims whiteness as the only definition
of being French.” So now here’s the thing,
first things first. I understand what he’s
saying ’cause I read up on this afterwards,
right? I take criticism. I’ll listen to what
somebody says to me. I genuinely believe you
should, and what it turns out is in France, a lot
of Nazis in that country use the fact that these
players are of African descent to shit on their
Frenchness, you know. So they go you’re not
French, you’re from Africa go back to where you came
from, you’re not French. They use that as
a line of attack. Now my thing, my opinion is
coming from South Africa, coming from Africa and
even watching the World Cup in the United States of America, black people all over the
world were celebrating the Africaness of the
French players, right. Not in a negative way but
rather in a positive way going look at these Africans
who can become French. You know what I mean, it’s a
celebration of that achievement. And so, this is what I find
weird in these arguments is that people go they’re
not African, they’re French. Then I’m like why
can’t they be both? (audience applauding) Right, why is that duality
only afforded to select group of people, why
can they not be African? So what they’re arguing here is, in order to be French
you have to erase everything that is African,
’cause what do they mean when they say that
our culture, our this. So you cannot be French and
African at the same time, which I vehemently
disagree with. I go if you see those
players I love them, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante,
I’ve watched all of them. Like, I love those players
and I love how African they are and how
French they are. I don’t take their
Frenchness away but I also don’t think you need to
take their Africaness away. And that is what I
love about America. America is not a perfect
country but what I love about this place is that
people can still celebrate their identity in
their Americaness. You can go to a St. Patrick’s
Day parade in America celebrating that you are Irish. You can go to a Puerto
Rican day parade in America still celebrating the fact
that you are Puerto Rican and American at the same time. You can celebrate
Juneteenth as black person and be like “yo, I’m
African-American,” which is the duality
of the two worlds. But here they’re going,
“No you are only French.” (audience laughing) And here’s why it
vexes me, to be honest. This is what I find interesting, is like, when I read
stories from Africa and I watch what
politicians say, especially in France
about African migrants: when they are unemployed,
when they may commit a crime, or when
they are considered unsavory, it’s the
African immigrant. When their children go on to
provide a World Cup victory for France, we should only
refer to them as France. And we even saw it with
that African man who climbed the building to rescue the
baby, do you remember that? – [Audience] Yes. – We watched him
climb that building, he rescued the child and
then they gave him French citizenship, they said
you are now French. So now I’m going so is
he now no longer African? (audience laughing) Is that what you’re
saying? So when he was on the ground
he was African. (audience laughing) And then he climbed up
and as soon as he rescued the baby now he’s French.
So if he dropped the baby, The African dropped the baby. (audience cheering
and applauding) I don’t believe that you need and here’s like I would
say again with respect I understand what the
ambassador is saying. I’m not joining the attack
and I know don’t get me wrong, I know we live in a
world where like nuance is something that
is in short supply. And so you will find in
America for instance, the alt-right saying, “That’s
what we’ve been saying, they’re not French and
we’re saying but if Trevor says it it’s not racist, but
if we say it it’s racist.” Yeah, yeah. I’ll
say yeah, you know why? Because I believe
context is everything. There are certain things
you can say to somebody that like when I
say to my friends, What’s going on, my nigga?”
and if a white person came and said the same thing, yeah
there’s a big difference. (audience laughing) When I’m saying they’re
African I’m not saying it as a way to exclude
them from their Frenchness but I’m rather using it to
include them in my Africaness. I’m saying, “I see you my French
brother of African descent.” Do you know what I’m saying,
that’s what I’m trying to say, when somebody else
says it the other way. You can use the same
line in different ways. People are like,
so it’s different? Yeah, yeah it’s different,
it can be different. It’s like somebody saying, “So
if you play with your naked child it’s a problem but if
I do it I’m a pedophile?” Yeah, yeah there’s
a big difference. There’s a huge difference. (audience clapping) So I will continue to praise
them for being African because I believe that
they are of Africa. Their parents are from
Africa and they can be French at the same time. And if French
people are saying they cannot be both, then I think they
have a problem and not me. (audience cheering
and applauding)

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