At one rally, a 12-year-old symbolically presented French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira with a banana…The National Commission for the Rights of Man…which has been charged by the French parliament to monitor incidents of racism in France, noted a twenty-three-per-cent increase in incidents of racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism last year, and a five-fold increase over the past twenty years. The Taubira affair has set off something of a national debate on the origins and responsibility for this ugly recrudescence of racism. Is French culture deeply racist? Is racism itself increasing, or only its public expression? Is it partly a reaction to growing unemployment and the recession?