Prominent French public figures have increasingly warned that social theories on race, gender, and class being imported from American universities are damaging French society and democratic values.
Lat October, French President Emmanuel Macron warned of "certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States." French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer shared similar sentiments.
"No one has the right to cowardice anymore," said Blanquer. "There is a fight to be waged against an intellectual matrix coming from American universities and intersectional theses, which want to essentialize communities and identities, at the antipodes of our republican model which, for its part, postulates equality between human beings, independently of their characteristics of origin, sex, religion."
Blanquer went on to say that such ideologies are a "breeding ground for a fragmentation of our society and a vision of the world which converges with the interests of the Islamists."
Macron has also taken aim at American media for promoting ideologies that focus on group identity politics.
"When I see... journalists who write in a country that is the heir to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution — when I see them legitimizing this violence, and saying that the heart of the problem is that France is racist and Islamophobic, then I say the founding principles have been lost," he said last November.
This week, the new director of the Paris Opera, Alexander Neef, released a report on diversity measures at the company and promised to focus on racial equity and ban blackface – measures that French intellectuals have criticized due to their alignment with far-left American ideology. The French newspaper Le Monde said that Neef had "soaked up American culture for 10 years" while he lived in Canada.
Other French intellectuals have pushed back on the importation of American social theories in recent months. French social scientists Stéphane Beaud and Gérard Noiriel published a book this week that criticizes the hyper-racial narratives being pushed in French culture.
Gilles Kepel, one of 100 French scholars who signed an open letter condemning modern social theories "transferred from North American campuses," said that such thinking emboldened Islamic terrorists in France by putting religion into an intersectional grid and promoting it as "the religion of the underprivileged."
Meanwhile, historian Pierre-André Taguieff said that such ideologies are being driven by a "hatred of the West, as a white civilization."
"The common agenda of these enemies of European civilization can be summed up in three words: decolonize, demasculate, de-Europeanize. Straight white male — that's the culprit to condemn and the enemy to eliminate," he said.
The New York Times also reported this week on the growing pushback from French leaders like Macron who are opposed to American ideology that "attacks France's intellectual and cultural heritage."
"Prominent intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture," said the Times. "With its echoes of the American culture wars, the battle began inside French universities but is being played out increasingly in the media."