Our view on French Riots

After the death of a 17-year-old teenager, France entered into a nation-wide protest, mostly coming out of the suburbs.

This is probably the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. I think this protest is more about equality of opportunity than anything else.

This article is dear to me because it doesn’t only discuss the riots but also my overall feelings about growing up in France as the son of immigrants.

Does equality of opportunity exist in France ?

Social housing in France

This question is very complex since it’s due to many factors that are not exclusively related to ethnicity. The one thing I’ve learned about creating a company is that when it comes to building a team, culture is paramount.

Objectively, people would assume that competence is paramount because you need the most talented people to do the job.

The reality is very different; in a long-term strategy, you need people to fit and go in the same direction. It’s more like a team effort where chemistry is key.

That’s probably why French football team manager Deschamps never made Benzema play for the national team, even if he had the ballon d’or, and that’s why in sports, it’s not always the team with the best players that wins. Benzema’s values are rooted to his origins.

But this can also be interpreted as group identity politics, which is very dangerous since we’ll always have differences.

Pareto distribution

The world is by nature very unequal. IQ, Beauty and talent is already unequally distributed amongst a population. Character is partially inborn as well. The only thing left is basically huslting but even this is prone to stress tolerance.

Why some people reject French culture ?

Doisneau Baiser de l’hotel de ville de Paris

French culture is known and respected worldwide for its savoir-faire, cuisine, arts, and luxury products. France is also a secular country; it has no official religion. In France, 40% of people are atheists.

It’s fair to say that French culture is therefore very rational, so much so that intellectuals have always been part of the elite and are considered ideals, even before the golden era of Hemingway.

Actor Jonah Hill being uncomfortable in French TV for humor

This is not the case worldwide. On the contrary, the universal value system often ranks intellectuals as overly rational. Intellectuals are often portrayed in movies as pragmatic, ill-behaved characters who know it all, are out of touch with their emotions, have a lack of empathy and compassion, and sometimes even lack courage and physicality.

That’s why they fit the antagonists so well in popular culture. A person who is more obsessed with the truth, knowledge, and wealth over other people’s well-being;

A character who perhaps views divorce, adultery, narcissism, collateral damages, and other misbehavior as accepted parts of life. This can be seen as tolerance and freedom or simply sins, in other words a path to hell.

TV reality in France

To be fair, this culture is mostly present among the elite; in my experience, people from the countryside or other cities still live around a universal value system.

It’s also not only exclusive to France; most politicians or scientists are very pragmatic in any country. It just so happens that in France, these personality traits have taken over the population in the form of nihilism and depression (number one in anti-depressant consumption).

This intellectual elitism is perhaps the heritage of a country run by many kings and monarchies. A society that used to be structured by blood and birth right.

The ideal in the other parts of the World

Heroes in pop culture

Universal Value is often referred to as a common knowledge that has been passed down through time in genes and is an ideal way of being.

An optimized way to be as successful as possible living in a community. It joins the theory that life is not just a game but a series of championships. That’s why behaviors such as being humble in defeat are extremely important. You need people to invite you to play before you can compete to win, basically.

Morality is also what gives meaning, engagement, and decency to someone’s life. If no specific way of being or outcome is more desirable than another, then nothing is worth doing or pursuing. The more crooked a person is according to his own ideal, the less confident this person is.

Single’s inferno a very inspiring reality TV show in Korea

I don’t think all the other countries can be wrong. Most countries have accepted morality, spirituality and luck as part of what humans need to function optimally.

That’s why the ideals in other countries and a large part of the elite are more likely to be humble, selfless, compassionate, and generate admiration as opposed to envy, at least in public.

Cognitive dissonance

For most people, this state of mind of erudition can easily lead to nihilism, which is very bad since neither peace nor happiness can be found in it. Depression is the most likely outcome.

Like previously said, people carry morality and universal values in their genes. So it’s something biological. It’s not something they have control over.

Comic making fun of their ethnicity to make other people laugh

This cognitive dissonance, or opposition between two belief systems, creates a lot of anxiety and stress. It’s almost as if the core beliefs that rule your biology are using the wrong mapping.

More importantly, these two types of thoughts are opposing each other. It’s almost like two polarizing forces pushing in two different directions. This recipe is conducive to a climate of hate within a population.

Some people, to succeed in France, literally have to reject and mock their origins instead of being proud of them and seeing them as a force. That’s very sad.

Without going into identity politics, I feel like being yourself is always better than becoming the second rate version of someone else.

Misconception about unemployment

People have the misconception that people are lazy or have a faulty character, which is why they do not progress.

But the truth is that these people are uninspired by the lack of exciting opportunities in their current lives.

Not everyone can be enthusiastic about virtually trading all their time in a slowly soul-crushing 9-to-5 job for material comfort and the placebo effects of conspicuous consumption as a reward.

Most people can understand from school that there must be more to it.

That there’s an adventure called life and that if you can find a worthy goal and meaning in the process of achieving something hard, you may actually earn back one of the most valuable and perhaps one of the only things you really own: your timeyour present.

That’s why most people try to be athletes, musicians, artists, YouTubers, cooks, etc. To be engaged in the every-day process.

Before giving up getting a « real job » out of necessity and instead slowly becoming numb and constantly waiting for something in the future to happen, like your next vacation or purchase, retirement, or the safety of passive incomes.

People are not stupid; they can sense that. That’s why they are not engaged in the prospect of getting a regular job unless it helps a more meaningful agenda.

Why are people seeking travel and adventure?

People are definitely not looking for safety or to stack wealth. They are looking for adventure, meaningful encounters, and transformative experiences. They are looking to grow in competence and character in order to give as much value as possible to others.

That’s why we watch adventure films with a character’s arc.

That’s why we are obsessed with sports—watching athletes not just run after a ball but aim at a very difficult goal and once in a while achieve it.

Obviously, there’s real hardship and real risk in any true adventure. For the adventure to be worthwhile, the dragon has to be real and capable of taking you out. Most people won’t make it.

But perhaps the real risk is to slowly grow resentful for the life you could have had. Waking up at 60 and understanding that it’s perhaps too late.

Why is the material not enough?

To put it as simply as possible, we don’t even own our own bodies. We are renting and maintaining it, and at some point we’ll have to give it back to nourish the earth.

Absolutely everything will turn to dust at some point; it’s just a matter of how long. These statements might seem pessimistic, but the key idea is that material is just another tool to experience things.

The more material you accumulate, the more worry you’ll have. In some countries, almost everything inside a house has little value and can be touched by a kid.

Having something expensive is just another worry that it will be broken or stolen. Whereas when you don’t you can let everyone in without having to worry, therefore connect with people instead of material.

What is conspicuous consumption?

Conspicuous consumption, like buying luxury products or displaying wealth, is basically trying to buy signals of this growth.

It’s basically false medicine for your insecurities, so instead of really growing through an adventure and maximizing your value to society, you just pretend to be in the same class as the people who do.

That’s why these luxury products are massively consumed by the middle classes, which are trying to distinguish themselves from one another.

These luxury companies often sponsor successful people to wear them to send the signal.

Why is traveling far important?

Copyright Le Quang

If you go somewhere new that requires you to be someone other than what you were, new genes turn on.

If you go everywhere, you get to the center of things because you turn everything in yourself on by doing that.

I always say that the main goal of a parent is to teach his child to be accepted by anyone anywhere in the World. To teach him to be invited to play with other people. I am not saying by pretending or being fake, but by truly being your best self.

The sense of admiration is outside our control

People tend to be inspired by other people because of their sense of admiration. This is not something they can control.

It’s something that catches you; you cannot decide your point of interest. You cannot decide whether this will become my ideal. That’s why we shed tears when we see a hero sacrifice himself for others, because the beauty of the act overwhelms us.

That’s why cosmopolite countries need an ideal based on universal values. That’s why, in the U.S.A., immigrants tend to fit in better and feel more patriotic. That’s why Africans try to go to England and not France.

Schools were built for jobs not for vocations

Schools have been compulsory since Jules Ferry’s law in 1882. The school system has been built to occupy the children of factory workers during their shifts. These schools were meant to form future factory workers.

Before that, children were literally working in those factories.

School is not the most useful path to follow for a vocation. Actually, school’s only goal is for you to slowly but obediently accept the alternative. To fill one of the many undesirable but necessary positions in society.

That’s why we study so long for “common knowledge, readily available in a library or on the web.”

In France, the government doesn’t try to exploit its citizens competences or develop their creativity but rather tries to keep its structure safe like most government.

That’s why, depending on where you come from, they steer you from a very young age to what we call jobs, an activity you get paid for because you wouldn’t do it voluntarily.

The higher the degree, the more bearable the job, and the fancier the clothes, the house, and the car. But that’s about it. The dream stops here.

Each neighborhood was even built to accommodate a specific class of workers, whether blue- or white-collar.

23 years of school is not the time you need to become productive at a job. It’s the time you need to be in a situation where you won’t be able to choose anything else but a job.

Can you imagine a life where most of your future is predictable 30 years in advance? That’s what people reject, basically, by not going to work and, let’s say, living off social financial help.

The truth about careers

The truth is that careers are a lie for most of us; only 2% of the population will have a high-end career. This will be predicated on a lot of factors, such as IQ, genetics, stress tolerance, etc.

Most people don’t chase a career but rather focus on family at some point anyway. Family has always been paramount, except for a small percentage of the population that is extremely gifted.

Vocation doesn’t necessarily mean a high-end career

As it’s often said, the journey is more important than the destination. Falling in love with the everyday process is what will give quality to your life. That’s why results don’t matter that much.

As long as you are doing what you love and that this provides you with a source of income enough for you to live and save money. This can be jobs such as fishing or agriculture.

The outcome will be better than having a pointless job that is eating your soul.

Vocations are competitive

How James Cameron became a Film Director

By definition, these jobs are highly demanded, and the competition is therefore quite stiff. That’s why it’s always good to bet on your idiosyncrasies and not purely on technical knowledge.

Technical knowledge acquired after years of practice is often looked upon as expertise. Getting into the market to gain experience is often the first challenge.

The second challenge is to get this expertise to provide security of income. The more years you have under your belt, the higher your wage will be. But again you’re never outside the reach of AI or another disruption.

Why successful asian in France comes from Asia ?

Whether it’s Blackpink, Bong Joon Ho, or Hoyeon, the most celebrated Asian artists and muses for French luxury brands don’t come from France at the moment.

How is it possible since France has supposedly the best art schools, the best food, and the best culture?

Most brands have shifted to a Global market, and in a global market, universal value prevails. To give you a good example, Jenny from Blackpink is having a backlash from her role in the Idol, because she is getting away from the ideal and is going inside the territory of nihilists.

Giving your children an edge

Perhaps that’s what a parent should teach their children to do at a young age.

Be secure and follow their sense of meaning instead of trying to get validation from peers.

Try to leverage your idiosyncrasies and focus your skills and efforts to give maximum value to society in a meaningful way for you.

If your child has ever been good at something at least once, they would understand that they could actually be formidable with enough time, effort, encouragement, and support.

You give them the opportunity for their life to be an adventure, connected to the present, instead of an abstract checklist waiting to be completed.

How about leaving an heritage ?

Passing down a heritage to your children is a safety measure. No one is entirely safe from an accident or some other tragedies. That’s why it’s always useful to have a backup solution for your children.

Other than that, what your children need to do is find their place in this world. For this, you’ll need to share your own experience so they can benefit from years of feedbacks.

More importantly, you’ll need to teach them these lessons on morality and how to be accepted by anyone, anywhere, as well as obvious qualities such as industriousness and compassion.

What about regular jobs?

I think it’s quite clear that having a vocation is not something that everybody can integrate as a daily experience, but that’s true for every country.

I think the issue resides in the distribution of the more tolerable jobs. These are distributed according to length of study, which is something people coming from lower classes are at a deficit with.

You are only able to do long studies if your environment is favorable for them. There’s always the alternative of financing your own private school like I did, but the issue is that no one wants to recruit people except businessmen from these same areas and there’s just not enough of them.

I myself receive a lot of phone calls from young people trying to learn the craft of being a locksmith or electrician. First, you can tell that they are not that enthusiastic about it.

Most of the craftsmen in my network are sons of immigrants, and this was actually the goal of the project. To give them the opportunity to earn a decent living, but that’s about all they do; most of them work for money. Some still have the wisdom to find meaning in it, I am thinking about one in particular.

Unfortunately, there’s a reality to the market. The customer expects their craftsman to be polite and articulate when speaking French. It’s almost a gage of quality, or, to be more precise, a gage of orderliness and culture acceptance, which is something you want from someone working on your house.

You also need traits of character like honesty and compassion. Which is something that is perhaps not so desirable in their own social environment. That’s why they tend to be very disagreeable and aggressive.

That’s why Parisian customers tend to avoid, as much as possible, dealing with someone coming from these areas.

What about entrepreneurship or freelance work?

People coming from these social classes are also at a disadvantage when it comes to culture. For example, a kid born in Paris to two intellectuals, will most likely have more time dedicated to crafts and knowledge. Most information is now available online, so this deficit is definitely slowly disappearing. But remember that those people don’t have the environment to work unless they move somewhere else and work a full-time job.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, this is perhaps the system that is the most meritocratic, much more so than school. Two issues come to mind. The first is that France is a country with the highest level of taxes, or more precisely, taxes linked to salary.

Whether it’s social security, retirement, or social benefits, all of this money is capital that people cannot use to buy assets such as real estate.

I actually find it very disturbing that most people are forced to invest in a retirement plan where the money will be redistributed to them 40 years later when inflation divides the currency by two, three, or more.

The point is that most businesses are small. Having someone own a small business and make a decent living is better than someone working six months a year and leaving off the social helps the rest of the time.

Sometimes, I really feel like the system is built for people not to be able to choose anything else but these low-level jobs. You can easily see that people are more interested in being an Uber or a Deliveroo than occupying these positions.

With Internet it has become easier for people to open a business and expatriate themselves or/and their company.


At the beginning, I believe that the government opened its door to immigrants to occupy low positions and difficult jobs that no one wanted to do. They were probably the collateral effects of their colonization projects. That’s why most immigrants don’t have an education or a degree.

Therefore, the poor integration of immigrants, the difference in culture, and the creation of disagreeable people through social housing were all designed by the government or at least some of the politicians of the past.

There has been a clear separation between groups from the start, and there is absolutely no wish for them to include these groups of citizens in the mission of updating the culture.

The situation has since changed; people tend to be more egalitarian. Since rappers became creative directors of luxury brands, but there’s still a sense somewhere that people born in France and coming out of immigrant parents will always be guests, not treated as well as successful immigrant from other countries, and if they are not happy, they should just leave.

This means that there is no unity and no way for French immigrant descendants to contribute to the progress of the culture or system without hurting the identity of the country. That’s not what conservative wants and that’s not what people originating from France wants, but this is what is necessary if you adopt a kid as opposed to invite a guest.

The kid wants to be part of the family and entitled to the same opportunities.

Perhaps the culture also needs more wisdom as and less lust. To celebrate people we admire and not envy by adopting proven universal values.

What do you think?

Written by dudeoi

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings