(NEW YORK) — Daily Show host Trevor Noah had a quick and clever response to the U.S. French ambassador who slammed the comedian on Wednesday for saying Africa deserved credit for France‘s 2018 World Cup victory due to the large number of black players on the team.
Gerard Araud wrote a scathing letter, posted on Facebook and addressed to Noah, accusing him of “legitimizing” racist ideologies and denying the players’ “Frenchness” with his comments about their race and backgrounds.
“I get it, they have to say it’s the French team,” Noah had said on Monday. “But look at those guys. You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends.”
Araud said he was watching “with great attention” on Monday, but he wasn’t laughing.
“They were educated in France, they learned to play soccer in France, and they are French citizens,” Araud said. “They are proud of their country, France.”
After Araud’s letter became viral, Noah was quick to respond.
“When I’m saying ‘African,’ I’m not saying it to exclude them from their French-ness — I’m saying it to include them in my African-ness. I’m saying, ‘I see you, my French brother of African descent,” Noah said, later captured on video.
“I will continue to praise them for being African because I believe they are of Africa — their parents are from Africa — and they can be French, because I believe they can both at the same time,” Noah explained. “And if French people are saying they can’t be, then I think they have a problem and not me.”
“America’s not a perfect place,” he added, “but what I love about this country is that people can still celebrate their identity in their American-ness.”
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