The racialization of french hip-hop artists in the media and their responses after the charlie hebdo attack



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SPITTING FIRE EN FRANÇAIS:

THE RACIALIZATION OF FRENCH HIP-HOP ARTISTS IN THE MEDIA AND THEIR RESPONSES AFTER THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACK


By Adam K. Schoenbachler

A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion

Of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies

Croft Institute for International Studies

Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College

The University of Mississippi

University, Mississippi

May 2017

Approved:

________________________________

Advisor: Dr. Amy McDowell

________________________________

Reader: Dr. William Schenck


________________________________

Reader: Dr. Mary Thurlkill

2017


Adam Kaelin Schoenbachler

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would first like to thank the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College for guiding my academic development over the past four years. I could not imagine writing a thesis without the resources and aid these institutions have provided me.
I am incredibly grateful to my mentor Dr. Amy McDowell for introducing me to the process of writing and thinking like a sociologist. Without the vast amounts of time and support she provided, I would have been lost in this endeavor. I would like to thank my second and third readers, Dr. William Schenck and Dr. Mary Thurlkill, for their excellent insight, comments, and aid through this process. Without the help of my fantastic committee, this thesis would not have been possible.
I am thankful for my mother Dana Schoenbachler for her emotional support and to my father Matthew Schoenbachler for his help with revision and his excellent capacity as sounding board for ideas. Finally, I would like to thank my siblings Sarah and Ben Schoenbachler, my girlfriend Rachel Anderson, and my exceptional group of friends who always challenge me to work harder, sustain me through difficult times, and inspire me through their accomplishments.

ABSTRACT

ADAM KAELIN SCHOENBACHLER: Spiting Fire en Français: The Racialization of French Hip-Hop Artists in the Media and their Responses after the Charlie Hebdo Attack (Under the direction of Amy McDowell)


This paper explores the racialization of French Muslim hip-hop community in the context of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and the extent to which French rap artists were limited in their ability to criticize the French government and secularist France in the months following the massacre. This was accomplished by performing content analyses of the remarks of popular French Muslim rap artists on the Charlie Hebdo Massacre and articles from popular, accessible online French news publications covering the remarks of both French Muslim and non-Muslim rap artists. After a careful analysis of the rappers’ remarks and the media coverage of those remarks, I determined that there was in fact an active racialization of Muslim members of the hip-hop community in the media, and that the rap artists in question felt constrained in their freedom of expression and their ability to criticize popular French culture following the massacre.

NOTE ON TRANSLATION


All translations in French were conducted by the author unless otherwise noted. Translations are denoted by brackets just after the original French.
TABLE OF CONTENTS


  • Abstract………………………………………………….………………………..iv

  • Note on Translation………………………………………………………………iv

  • Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………v

  • Introduction…………………………………………………………….………….1

    • Research Question……………………………………………….………..3

    • Pre-research Observations……………………………………….………..4

    • Racialization and Islamophobia………………………………..………….5

    • Media Coverage of Muslims…………………………………………..…..7

    • Music as a Source of Solidarity in the Face of Anti-Muslim Racism…….9

    • Methods………………………………………………………..…………11

  • Hip-hop and Secularism………………………………………………………….15

    • Islam Versus Laïcité in France…………………………………………..15

    • Rap Music in France………….………………………………………….17

  • Findings and Analysis……………………………………………………………22

    • Hip-hop’s relationship with Charlie Hebdo before the attack…………...28

    • Reframing condolences and refuting anger……………………………...33

    • Focus on rappers’ religious affiliations…………………………………..34

    • Shaming rappers………………………………………………………….36

    • Fear of retaliation, conflations, and “la polmique”………………………38

    • Freedom of expression…………………………………………………...41

  • Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….43

References………………………………………………………………………..4

SPITTING FIRE EN FRANÇAIS: 1

THE RACIALIZATION OF FRENCH HIP-HOP ARTISTS IN THE MEDIA AND THEIR RESPONSES AFTER THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACK 1

By Adam K. Schoenbachler 1

A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion 1

Of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies 1

Croft Institute for International Studies 1

Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College 1

The University of Mississippi 1

University, Mississippi 1

May 2017 1

Approved: 1



1

________________________________ 1

Advisor: Dr. Amy McDowell 1

1

________________________________ 1

Reader: Dr. William Schenck 1

1

________________________________ 1



Reader: Dr. Mary Thurlkill 1

2017 2



Adam Kaelin Schoenbachler 2

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 3

I would first like to thank the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College for guiding my academic development over the past four years. I could not imagine writing a thesis without the resources and aid these institutions have provided me. 3

I am incredibly grateful to my mentor Dr. Amy McDowell for introducing me to the process of writing and thinking like a sociologist. Without the vast amounts of time and support she provided, I would have been lost in this endeavor. I would like to thank my second and third readers, Dr. William Schenck and Dr. Mary Thurlkill, for their excellent insight, comments, and aid through this process. Without the help of my fantastic committee, this thesis would not have been possible. 3

I am thankful for my mother Dana Schoenbachler for her emotional support and to my father Matthew Schoenbachler for his help with revision and his excellent capacity as sounding board for ideas. Finally, I would like to thank my siblings Sarah and Ben Schoenbachler, my girlfriend Rachel Anderson, and my exceptional group of friends who always challenge me to work harder, sustain me through difficult times, and inspire me through their accomplishments. 3



ABSTRACT 4

ADAM KAELIN SCHOENBACHLER: Spiting Fire en Français: The Racialization of French Hip-Hop Artists in the Media and their Responses after the Charlie Hebdo Attack (Under the direction of Amy McDowell) 4

This paper explores the racialization of French Muslim hip-hop community in the context of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and the extent to which French rap artists were limited in their ability to criticize the French government and secularist France in the months following the massacre. This was accomplished by performing content analyses of the remarks of popular French Muslim rap artists on the Charlie Hebdo Massacre and articles from popular, accessible online French news publications covering the remarks of both French Muslim and non-Muslim rap artists. After a careful analysis of the rappers’ remarks and the media coverage of those remarks, I determined that there was in fact an active racialization of Muslim members of the hip-hop community in the media, and that the rap artists in question felt constrained in their freedom of expression and their ability to criticize popular French culture following the massacre. 4

NOTE ON TRANSLATION 4

All translations in French were conducted by the author unless otherwise noted. Translations are denoted by brackets just after the original French. 4

TABLE OF CONTENTS 5

Abstract………………………………………………….………………………..iv 5

Note on Translation………………………………………………………………iv 5

Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………v 5

Introduction…………………………………………………………….………….1 5

Research Question……………………………………………….………..3 5

Pre-research Observations……………………………………….………..4 5

Racialization and Islamophobia………………………………..………….5 5

Media Coverage of Muslims…………………………………………..…..7 5

Music as a Source of Solidarity in the Face of Anti-Muslim Racism…….9 5

Methods………………………………………………………..…………11 5

Hip-hop and Secularism………………………………………………………….15 5

Islam Versus Laïcité in France…………………………………………..15 5

Rap Music in France………….………………………………………….17 5

Findings and Analysis……………………………………………………………22 5

Hip-hop’s relationship with Charlie Hebdo before the attack…………...28 5

Reframing condolences and refuting anger……………………………...33 5

Shaming rappers………………………………………………………….36 5

Fear of retaliation, conflations, and “la polmique”………………………38 5

Freedom of expression…………………………………………………...41 5

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….43 5

English-Language Sources……………………………………………….46 9

French-Language Sources………………………………………………..49 9

Articles Analyzed………………………………………………………...50 9

INTRODUCTION 1

- Abd al Malik 1

Research Question 3

Pre-research observations 4

Racialization and Islamophobia 5

Media Coverage of Muslims 7

Racist and racially charged attitudes about Muslims by non-muslims, especially in the wake of terrorist attacks, are shaped by news media interpretations and portrayals of Muslims. According to Media Tenor, a research organization dedicated to studying public perception of the media, the day after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, “global media tonality when talking about Muslims and Islam dropped to an unprecedented -80% surplus of negative news” (Media Tenor 2015). As well, they reported that in the months after January (contrary to expection, negative reporting about Muslims went down overall in January), “openness for the dialogue between cultures has suffered from the increasingly hostile reporting about migrants. Refugees are regularly framed as a threat and burden and only very infrequently as a boon to the host societies” (Media Tenor 2015). After the November 2015 Paris shootings, Media Tenor released this statement about their findings in 2015 in relation to the Charlie Hebdo attacks: 7

Voices that refuse to equate Islam and violence are taken up more and more rarely in the media,” explains Dr. Christian Kolmer, director of policy analysis at Media Tenor. “While overall criticism of Islam and Muslims decreased slightly in January 2015 after the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, there was no similar reaction after the Parisian terrorist attacks of November.” In more than two thirds of all reports about Muslim actors and organizations terrorism and violence are the main aspects. “The media strategy of Islamic State with its shocking acts of violence has so far been successful, leading to increasing anti-Muslim sentiment all over the world – which in turn drives support for IS among alienated and intimidated Muslims.” (2016) 8

As well, Ahmed and Matthes conducted a meta-analysis of 345 published studies to analyze media representation of Muslims from 2000 to 2015. Through their research, they determined that Muslims tend to be framed negatively, and Islam is portrayed as a violent religion (2016). They also concluded that there was “an evident lack of comparative research, a neglect of visuals, and a dearth of research on online media” (Ahmed and Matthes 2016). Their findings indicate that other research on the portrayals of Muslims in popular media lacks comparative studies, restricts analysis mostly to spoken and written publication, and neglects online media as a platform of analysis. For example, many of the studies they reviewed tended to be analyses of physical print medias and the textual excerpts of media broadcasts. 8

Music as a Source of Solidarity in the Face of Anti-Muslim Racism 9

Methods 11

FRENCH HIP-HOP AND SECULARISM 15

Islam Versus Laïcité in France 15

Rap Music in France 17

FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS 21

Hip-hop’s Relationship with Charlie Hebdo Before the Attack 27

Reframing Condolences and Refuting Anger 32

Focus on Rappers’ Religious Affiliations 34

Shaming Rappers 35

Fear of Retaliation, Conflations, and “La Polémique” 37

Freedom of Expression 40

CONCLUSION 42

REFERENCES 45

English-Language Sources 45

French-Language Sources 49

Articles Analyzed 49



    • English-Language Sources……………………………………………….46

    • French-Language Sources………………………………………………..49




    • Articles Analyzed………………………………………………………...50





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