When the French government decided to broadcast an advisory for French citizens in Boston to stay away from Dorchester, French Consul General Fabien Fieschi never thought that the message would turn into a conversation with local students.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs ("Ministère des Affaires Etrangères") had issued a caution to French nationals to avoid certain parts of Boston, including Dorchester, because of the crime rate. However, a number of Dorchester students found this advisory offensive and unfounded, prompting a dialogue with the consul to change a communication which, in their eyes, constituted` unfair profiling.
The warning in question delivers the following information:
"Boston : la circulation à pied et de nuit est à éviter dans les quartiers de Dorchester, Mattapan et Roxbury.
L’attention des Français doit également être appelée sur une recrudescence de la petite délinquance, observée notamment lors des grandes manifestations culturelles ou sportives et dans certains quartiers touristiques, tels que Chinatown, Fenway et le North End."
"Boston: avoid walking through Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury at night. French nationals should also remain vigilant for petty crime, observed in particular during cultural gatherings and sports events and in certain touristic areas such as Chinatown, Fenway and the North End."
Students from Codman Academy in Dorchester (a charter public school) invited the French Consul General to their school to have a conversation and show him there was nothing to feel threatened by. They challenged the consul with an open discussion, balancing out the view of a neighborhood full of character and rich in cultural offering.