In diverse democracies in recent decades, minority groups often historically persecuted or overlooked have gained new traction and respect. But as a result, their group identity has frequently become an obsession, undermining mutual appreciation, stifling discourse, and leading to a kind of “identity trap” that makes progress harder. Will “wokeness” and MAGA-style national populism inevitably—even if unintentionally—reinforce one another? What alternative might lead to greater cultural and human dignity? This session will focus on the experience of the Jewish communities in France, amidst the country’s sharp debates about laïcité and church-state separation. Can a minority people-group in “secular” France discover flourishing in a pluralistic society? Are there similar lessons in Muslim communities—and if so, how might journalists tell some of these nuanced stories, in the context of today’s European pluralism?
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Pluralism, Identity, and Diverse Democracies