Representation Matters: Working in the French Banlieues

When I first applied to teach abroad, there was a section of the application that asked if I was willing to work in a Zone Urbaine Sensible (ZUS). Sensitive Urban Zone is just a fancy term for po’ & run down. A ZUS typically has a high percentage of public housing, high rates of unemployment, and very low percentages of high school degrees. In the United States we tend to refer to these places as the inner-city, but in Paris most of these neighborhoods are found in les banlieues just outside of the city. 

So knowing all of this before applying, I reluctantly marked a check in the square box. Why on earth would I agree to this, you ask? A couple reasons. The main reason being I was desperate to get into the program and thought that since many people would say no, this might help my chances. The second reason is because I wanted to have students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I grew up in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and I am just in general used to that type of environment. But I didn’t imagine how much I would enjoy the experience. 

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[FRENCH ROCK HELL YEAH BABY] | an introduction to French rock bands from all sub-genres. 


trust - antisocial (1980) | téléphone - cendrillon (1982) | bérurier noir - salut à toi (1985) | indochine - trois nuits par semaine (1985) | les rita mitsouko - c'est comme ça (1986) | mano negra - mala vida (1988)


billy ze kick - ocd (1993) | elmer food beat - le plastique c'est fantastique (1994) | dolly - je n'veux pas rester sage (1997) | louise attaque - j’t'emmène au vent (1997) | matmatah - lambé an dro (1997) | noir désir - l'homme pressé (1998) | m - je dis aime (1999) | zebda - tomber la chemise (1999)


damien saez - jeune et con (2000) | kyo - dernière danse (2003) | les wampas - manu chao (2003) | mickey 3d - respire (2003) | déportivo - parmi eux (2004) | eths - crucifere (2004) | no one is innocent - (2004) | sinsemilia - bienvenue en chiraquie (2004) | superbus - radio song (2004) | guerilla poubelle - demain il pleut (2005) | luke - hasta siempre (2005) | tryo - l'hymne de nos campagnes (2005) | bb brunes - le gang (2006) | eiffel - ma part d'ombre (2006) | mademoiselle k - ça me vexe (2006) | mass hysteria - failles (2009)



The Weakends - Devil By My Side


Jacques Dutronc - Les Gens Sont Fous, Les Temps Sont Flous

Check out the archive of this week’s installment of the world-famous Away from the Numbers rock and roll radio program, “It’s a French Canadian Thing,” in which DJ Niko and his “executive” producer Manny (pictured above) celebrate Bastille Day by mispronouncing French song titles and exploring Manny’s heretofore unknown family ancestry. The archive is available for streaming over at KBCS or via the AFTN podcast feed. To whet your appetite, check out the playlist here. See you next time on the radio!