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How the Enlightenment Invented “Blacks”

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Opening one’s door, sharing bread and salt with the traveler arriving from elsewhere: hospitality has long been taken for granted. We could even see it as one of the characteristics of humanity. Yet, as was the case in the 1930s, exiles have once again become a hot topic, visceral even to some, the ultra-flammable fuel of the far right. As the alluring globalization of goods, tourism and the free movement of capital took hold, “migratory flows” became, for many, an obsession.

Sonia Shah, daughter of Indian doctors living in the United States, wondered why. Winner of numerous awards, this journalist has earned a fine reputation thanks to her investigations on human rights, health, and thanks to her bestseller “Pandemic”, noticed by the “New York Times”.

With “Migrations, grandeur and misery of life in motion”, she signs a sensitive and fascinating work on the origin of our reflexes in the face of “foreigners”. If the fear of the other belongs to the common register of emotions, its rational justification, which allows it to be posed as a political principle, goes back to the scholars of the Enlightenment and their prejudices.

Before the XVIIIe century, all humans were of the same paste, since in the biblical story, Adam and Eve, expelled from paradise, populated the Earth, and all of its continents, with their descendants. The journalist explains: “Artists and Geos

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