Born in Mali, I arrived in France at the age of 7. At the end of primary school, I took over the management of Bamako with my mother, before returning to Paris to study literature at the Sorbonne. Franco-Malian, I feel totally French, carried by republican values, and at the same time totally Malian, nourished by the tales of my grandmothers, transmitted every evening in our courtyard, on the banks of the Niger River. Likewise, I consider myself European, sensitive to the links that unite the authors of the continent, attached to the construction of a common political space. And I also remain African, optimistic, able to move forward despite the difficulties. My humanism and my conception of education are based on this balance.
With my qualities and my cracks, I feel perfectly in my place as a principal. But I often feel in the eyes of others that I am not considered legitimate. It happens that because of my skin color, perhaps also because I am a woman, I am taken for a secretary or a lady on duty… Likewise, when I registered my son in kindergarten, the principal saw fit to explain to me condescendingly the French school system. Great was her surprise when, a few days later, she saw me chairing the coordination meeting between the college-high school that I was managing and her school …
In these presuppositions, I did not see racism but prejudices. It’s quite natural to have some. What really matters is what you do, or not do, to overcome them. By refusing to let myself be locked in a box, by advocating an inclusive humanism, I hope to help others to do this work.
I am also addressing those who have the same origins as me: we must never forget the pains of colonization, we must take legal action in the event of discrimination, but we must avoid victimization. A too frequent reflex which deprives us of our freedom, of a brighter horizon, which prevents us from acting constructively, ambitiously, and reaching out to others. Life deserves to be lived fully. We don’t have time for rabies.