It is overwhelmingly beautiful to see so much diversity in the triumphant French national team. The players are so supportive and their joy with and celebration of each other is infectious.
The team of players who are mostly either immigrants, children of immigrants or descendants of immigrants encloses such a huge diversity in itself. The team comprises of Black, White, Arab, Christian and Muslim players from around the world.
People rightly called the team “Black, Blanc, Beur,” noting how black, white and North African players came together. They emanate love and unbridled happiness.
France is the country which is often in the spotlight for its Islamophobic social policies won the ultimate footballing prize with a team that is one-third Muslim.
80% of the French national team are Africans cutting out the racism and xenophobia and 50% of their team are Muslims cutting out the Islamophobia.
Especially in a time when the world is increasingly aggressive to the identities of those players; seeing them jumping around and hugging after coming together to achieve a shared dream is an image that should act as a perfect example of what our greater world should be.
The racial and ethnic diversity of the French World Cup team offers more positive and optimistic lesson about immigration, globalization and citizenship.
The French people’s warm embrace of African sport icons should be extended to the whole world. French citizens whether young or old have proudly worn Mbappe jerseys, hung French football banners and shouted words of encouragement for the team’s players.
There is nothing new in what France has presented us. There has always been power in bringing different perspectives together. It is important to make sure that the team is a small society in its own right who proudly represents the complexity of its country and the identities within it.
This proud win of France can appeal to our positive emotions about the collective strength of different types of people and can even become a more powerful and positive weapon.
But despite all these, it’s miserable to accept that sports can change individual lives and can be a road to connect to other humans, but it takes much more than that to affect real change in the world.
On Tuesday, Former U.S President Barack Obama in his first major post-presidency speech quoted the French national team who recently won the 2018 World cup as an example of the power of inclusivity.
Marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth in South Africa, Obama used the multicultural French team which consist predominantly first and latter generation immigrants to reinforce Mandela’s principle that “we are bound together by a common humanity.”
Obama cited, “It is a truth that is incompatible with any form of discrimination based on race or religion or gender or sexual orientation.”
He further added that a society can draw upon the talents and energy and skills of all its people. And if you doubt that, just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup.
Many have applauded the French team’s diversity and multicultural makeup in the wake of its World Cup victory, its refusal to discriminate based on race, religion or ethnicity and its willingness to incorporate players of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
France’s triumph was a victory for immigrants. It is always inspirational to see the strength of diversity mocks the irrational beliefs and fears against people who are just trying to live and work like everyone else.
French national team is a celebration of differences and the complexity of identity and an example of how good we can be if we embrace each other rather than differentiating based on color, religion and sex.
We can no longer afford to make-believe that immigrants entering any country or nation on earth are not fellow residents seeking the opportunity to thrive and become residents of a reimagined world community.