In the wake of France’s World Cup victory last week, host of the The Daily Show With Trevor Noah joked that because several French players were of African descent, it was less like France won the World Cup and more like Africa took home the prize.
When he watched the segment on television, French Ambassador Gerard Araud took offense at the jab. He followed up by writing a note to Noah, protesting the joke. On Wednesday, Noah read the letter aloud for his audience.
In the message, Araud writes, “As many of the players have already stated themselves, their parents may have come from another country, but the great majority of them, all but two out of 23 were born in France. They were educated in France. They learned to play soccer in France. They are French citizens. They’re proud of their country, France.”
Araud added, “Unlike in the United States of America, France does not refer to its citizens based on their race, religion, or origin. To us, there is no hyphenated identity.”
In his usual quick-witted style, Trevor Noah responded that the “hyphenated identity” of America was a positive aspect of the nation. In the United States, people are allowed to celebrate their cultural heritage while still being proud of your American heritage. That’s why it’s possible to be an American of African descent (or an African-American), for example.
The United States has enough room for its citizens to be proud of where they’re from and where they live. As to the French Ambassador’s assertion, Noah proclaimed that his opinions were more to do with French colonialism.
“That is what I love about America,” concluded Trevor Noah. “America is not a perfect country, but what I love about this place is that people can still celebrate their identity in their American-ness.”
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