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This weekend, Flora Coquerel beat out 33 other competitors to take home the title of Miss France. However, instead of enjoying her new crown, the 19-year-old student, whose mother is from the West African state of Benin, is busy fighting off racial slurs.

Within minutes of the mixed-race beauty queen accepting her title, social networks were flooded with comments like “ni**er,” “death to foreigners” and, in the words of one Twitter user, “it would be good to see a bit of white in our country.”

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According to French media, there were over 1.1 million tweets that night and the most popular hashtags included shame, black, and again, the N-word.

But, despite all of the ignorance and racial attacks, Flora has kept her composure. “I’m proud to represent a cosmopolitan France,” she said in her first post-pageant press conference.

“It shows that today’s France is a mixed France, where there is every culture, and I think a lot of people will see themselves in me,” she added.

As the CS Monitor points out:

France prides itself as the birthplace of the rights of man and a bedrock of modern social norms. Indeed, its belief in its own tolerance means that citizens are not classified by race and ethnicity, as they are in the US; everyone is simply French.

But racism claims continue to dog the Fifth Republic. From ministerial comments about the Roma not being able to integrate, to slurs by the FN founder directed at Muslim immigrants, xenophobia has been on the rise. A report by the National Consultative Commission of Human Rights (CNCDH) this spring showed that racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim acts and threats in France grew by 23 percent in 2012.

We hope a few people of their nation do some serious soul-searching.

Check out clips from the Miss France pageant below.

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New Miss France Celebrates Her Mixed-Race Heritage In The Midst Of Racist Backlash  was originally published on