Reminiscing on my school days one afternoon led me back into my French classes. I’m still studying French now, so it is no surprise that those lessons at some point shaped my perception of all things French. Often, my peers expressed how France was almost like Britain’s more cultured, extravagant and beautiful cousin. In their eyes, France was so much better than Britain in every aspect.
My teachers never seemed to contest these thoughts. In fact, they themselves seemed to put on their rose-tinted glasses before starting the lesson. They didn’t remind us of the atrocities France has under its belt. French history began and seemed to consist of only WWI and WWII. I mean, we have 220 million francophones (french speakers) in the world for no reason apparently…
Additionally, the teachers seem to push the notion that you choose to study the language because of a deep and profound love for the country. Many writing assessments from the years 7-9 consisted of either writing about what you love about French culture or your family. Cheese and wine, both great but also not the reasons for which I am still studying French. That may be the case for some, but not I.
There’s hardly ever the mention of Haiti – but I guess we can’t learn about or highlight their “failures”.
I just find it interesting how countries such as France and Spain don’t have their colonising history mentioned enough when studying the language, even though their Empire’s (or attempt at one) played a huge role in their worldly position today.