Dalhousie Law Journal


racial blindness, France, Rwanda, comparative law, race, ethniciy, racism


This article seeks to critically examine political and legal practices of "racial blindness" by comparing two countries that have most enthusiastically embraced it as an official policy and even ideology: France and Rwanda. By highlighting the differences but also the significant commonalities between the two, it seeks to dynamically emphasize their explicit and implicit construction of race and ethnicity The case for racial blindness is first presented in the terms in which it is largely understood in those countries, and taken seriously as an effort to deal with their unique legacies and political circumstances, notably as part of a desire to transcend some of the toxic consequences of "race" and "ethnicity"However, the clear limitations of pretending that races and ethnic groups do not exist officially are also underlined and racial blindness is found to be wanting as a model of antiracism historically, functionally and in principle.