In 2009 I met a Spanish girl in China, her name is Lucia, but I call her Lulu. I kept in touch with her for a while then she disappeared somehow. I can’t find her anymore. However, she’ll stay in my mind as a very lively person, very positive and with great sense of humor.
She studied in Paris for a while and she told me once that she’s living in the central part of the city, in a building full of bourgeois (owning the huge apartments they live in) and there was a back entrance for people like her who were just renting. She said that only “the owners” had a lift and she was living on the last floor so in the beginning she was sneaking after somebody and using the main entrance. She said people were looking at her strangely as if she’s some maid or something. After several awkward situations and remarks, she stopped doing this.
I was shocked! I couldn’t believe it. I said to myself, probably she didn’t understand correctly, she made conclusions too fast. Class society is a thing of the past and it should stay there! We should fight against that, no, it’s been done already! We should forget about it!
I am grateful that as a foreigner in France, I’ve never experienced any discrimination against myself. Of course there are many things that can make you feel on a lower layer of the society compared to someone else. Still I think that as long as nobody is saying anything offensive to you, it’s fine. It’s even positive, we should take the chance to improve ourselves and have higher expectations from life. This means higher goals and more efforts, which is certainly a development.
Recently I found myself in one of those buildings Lulu was talking about. There are many of them in Paris. They are beautiful on the outside and so, so cold on the inside. And the contrast is obvious. The owners versus cleaning ladies, babysitters, cooks, stewards… Children without their parents and parents taking care of other people’s children… It’s sad somehow. I remembered Lulu’s words. Now I believe her. Nothing has changed. Probably just the attitude has been polished a little with fake respect.
If you still don’t understand what I’m talking about, I recommend you watching a movie I watched not so long ago. It’s called “The women of the 6th floor” (French name “Les femmes du 6ème étage”). It’s illustrating it very well. I loved the play of the actors as well. Really good movie. Here’s a trailer: