Miss France wants to advertise diversity - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Miss France wants to advertise diversity

PARIS (AP) - The new Miss France says she wants to advertise her country's diversity on the world stage.

Chloe Mortaud was born to an African-American mother from Mississippi and a white French father. The 19-year-old is not the first nonwhite winner of the beauty pageant, but she is joining a growing chorus of French public figures who have been speaking openly about race.

Mortaud says she and her brother were the only children of mixed ethnic background in the small town where they grew up in the French Pyrenees. But she says everyone there "knows each other and respects each other."

France has championed a colorblind standard that sees all citizens as just French, regardless of ethnic origins. But it has failed to snuff out racism, particularly against immigrants from former French colonies in Africa.

Days after Barack Obama's election last month, leading French figures urged affirmative action-like policies to expand opportunities for millions of blacks, Arabs and other minorities. First lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy said she hoped the "Obama effect" would reshape France's political and social elite.              

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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