So much has happened since my last post!
So far, I have visited Marc and Spencer (a high end European store), and the grocery section featured VERY fresh foods, aesthetically pleasing pastries, and a quality clothing section. I also received my luggage (YAYYY) , which was a huge relief.
I also went on a segway tour of Paris yesterday, and visited the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and many old churches. The segways are a fun and easy mode of transportation. Yesterday evening, I had my first falafel and it was amazing! I highly recommend it.
Today, I visited the Musée de l’homme, which translated to the museum of mankind. Essentially, the purpose of the museum is to explain why all men are. The museum was marked by craniums of people from different parts of the world, diagrams explaining evolution, and cultural artifacts. Particularly, there were “African” artifacts from central Africa. No indication of where in Africa these artifacts came from (by country), the culture the art came from was not mentioned, and it is questionable as to who gave the museum permission to display those artifacts within the museum. The African continent is consistently robbed of its goods and often is homogenized, so while this greatly annoyed me it did not strike me as the most off putting thing about the museum.
In general, French culture considers all men to be equal, and those that speak French and are from other French speaking countries are viewed to be French. This collective consciousness is an embodiment of colorblindness, a way to avoid the discussion of what distinguishes men from one another.
The museum did indeed display that men are biologically equivalent, and this holds great merit. In fact, there are more differences with a race than there are between two different races. However, in the last section of the museum, there was a statement that essentially said that men are biologically, culturally, and socially equivalent. This was a shocking statement to be made, as there was another section of the museum that displayed the different languages people speak around the world. So, it is contradictory to say that man are CULTURALLY equivalent right after the assertion that different languages are spoken around the world. Furthermore, it is readily apparent that not all men are socially equivalent. Economic inequality exists. Class exists. Various educational experience exists. Different neighborhoods exist. To erase the difference between people is not only bigoted, but it eliminates the human experience of individuals who DO consider themselves to be culturally and socially distinguished. Moreover, the statement implies that ‘difference’ and ‘equivalence’ are mutually exclusive when in fact they are not. Two people CAN be socially equivalent and different. The museum did a stellar job at explaining the biological equivalence of man, but described the social and cultural conditions from a heavily French colonialist washed perspective. Overall, however, there are pieces missing from the history of man, pieces that represent a large part of the human experience.