If you are a teacher, do not call your students "bamboula" or you may end up with a police record.
Yahoo reports that President Sarkozy has expressed indignation at the laxness of the Board of Education of the department of les Vosges, regarding an incident of racism towards a student.
A 17-year old Angolan student named Chouaib Lusikama was subjected to racist remarks by one of his teachers. The President met with the young man and his family at Elysée Palace, after the tribunal at Epinal gave the teacher a one month suspended prison sentence.
"The President stressed that we all have to maintain our capacity for indignation, and the fact that neither the high-school nor the administration reacted to what was racist treatment was perfectly inadmissible," reported government spokesperson Laurent Wauquiez.
Just as we cannot accept young people who make trouble, we must have the same capacity for indignation for a teacher who behaves in this way," he added. (...)
A much more critical point of view is provided by Amor Patriae:
The teacher (...) has been the preferred target for activists of "official thought" from MRAP, the LDH (Human Rights League) and other lobbies of this type. But is this generalized and blind public outcry for justice really justified? In truth, the media-political circus surrounding this affair - Nicolas Sarkozy himself intervened publicly to blame the teacher - has not been helpful in understanding the teacher's behavior.
If the insulting remarks are in fact true - that he called the student "bamboula" - there is perhaps a motive, which is most likely the behavior of the student:
"I called this boy 'bamboula'. I shouldn't have. But in my mind it was to stigmatize his behavior because he was extremely noisy, and restless. I couldn't take any more."
He tells about his difficult year in an electronics class in a technical high-school in Epinal. The boy, he says, came to class with an MP3 plugged into his ears and answered his cell phone. He made a racket, he danced, he sang in class, preventing me from teaching. He obeyed none of my instructions. He was a disruptive pupil who didn't work."
According to the teacher, Chouaib received "two warnings and a reprimand" last year for his conduct. "One of my colleagues is on tranquilizers because of his conduct in athletics." The teacher admits to having "lost control several times and said things out of line. But not what they are accusing me of."
He denies accusations of racism: "I simply told him to go home if he didn't want to work. I am not a racist."
Finally, even though the courts and the majority of bleeding hearts do not share this opinion, it appears clear that if the teacher lost control, it was because he had been dealing for a long time with one of those miracles of immigration, a "bringer of good fortune" who respects no authority, least of all the teacher's. The teacher should not have indulged in suicidal behavior in a country such as ours, and if he's guilty of being insulting, it is understandable and he can almost be forgiven.
Now what is a "bamboula?" According to Le Petit Robert it is a Bantu word referring to an African drum. It is also an African dance performed to the sound of a bamboula. In current French colloquial language "faire la bamboula" means "to have fun".
Yet another teacher who had to learn the facts of life in the ghetto the hard way. But a prison record for using an innocuous African word, even more innocuous in French, is a warning to all teachers, and other "authority" figures, that judgments of immigrants are not allowed, and that there is no such thing as a bad pupil, only a bad teacher.
I found the little illustration at a forum. I'm not sure what it means, but it looks like a little African kid with a microphone, sitting on a tire. Apparently at one time there were cookies called "Bamboula" for kids, but they were withdrawn from the market for "politically correct" reasons.
The web is full of talk about bamboulas and whether or not eating one makes you a racist. I also found a restaurant in Bordeaux called La Bamboula, owned by an African from the Ivory Coast. It isn't yet clear if he will be charged with racism.