Thursday, January 28, 2010

Latent Racism in Quebec a Sad Reality

What can you say when even those who write newspaper articles in sympathy and support for Haitians and their plight, descend into antisemitism without even thinking about it. The reference below is from an article in the Quebec daily LE SOLEIL, that reinforces the stereotype that Jews are exploiters of the poor, a myth that is so ingrained in Quebec culture that it even passes unnoticed by editors, who should keep this kind of stuff out of their newspapers.
"...On one certain Christmas Eve, I volunteered to bring the poorest families in Montreal-Nord, some of those famous food baskets that we received from generous donors. I remember entering an apartment, as big as my hand, where two or three families lived in close proximity, their many young barefoot children dressed only in underwear and who threw themselves upon the gift boxes as if they were full of treasures. I also remember that the living rooms were small sewing workshops, where women spent long hours sewing clothes for Jewish entrepreneurs from Saint-Laurent Boulevard and who were obviously underpaid with cash paid under the table........" -Victor-Lévy Beaulieu, Trois-Pistoles
Of course the writer offers nothing but assumptions in his piece, assumptions that are unfortunately widely shared in Quebec society. The fact that the article made it to print without any editor asking if the writer verified his facts that the Haitians were working for a Jew or if they were underpaid or if they were paid under the table, but whatever, it must be true!

Imagine if a Toronto paper wrote a similar piece in which the writer described a scam in which government departments had been defrauded by unscrupulous companies and then went on to speculate without any proof at all, that the companies are run by Quebec Francophones... OUCH!!!!

Most of us older types remember the rampant racist generalizations that were made about all ethnicities and religions when we were young, regardless of our own heritage.

You know the ones - Jews are cheap and dishonest, Blacks are indolent, Spanish people are lazy, Chinese people-inscrutable. etc. etc. etc.

"Eeeny-meany-miney-moe, Catcha nigger by the toe..."
"Wops, Spicks, Shvartzes, Poofters, Hymies...."
It wasn't pretty, but happily, those days are gone.
Francophones had their own myths and expressions about others as well, but are much slower to shed these archaic and hurtful stereotypes.

There was a time when Anglos would describe getting cheated as being "Jewed." Today that term has largely disappeared, only a brave and foolish soul would dare use the term at work or in mixed company.

But in Quebec today, it is still acceptable to use the term "BON JUIF"(a good Jew) to describe a Jewish person who has acted decently or one who had done them a good turn.
It infers that the rest of the Jews are.......well, not so worthy, to be polite.

We all went through a process of purging our own language, prejudices and preconception. Polite society taught us which terms and preconceptions were no longer acceptable and although it seemed stupid at the time, in hindsight, it set us straight.

There needs to be some sort of similar process in Quebec...

15 comments:

  1. Here is another anti-Israel bia from le Devoir:

    http://www.vigile.net/-L-Empire-contre-les-peuples-Droits-

    The Canadian flag modified to replace the maple leaf by the star of David seems to suggest that Jews are in control and try to manipulate in some way Canada's opinions on foreign policies.

    Typiquement le Devoir...

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  2. No Dogs, it's not fair to judge quebeckers by their worst elements (Beaulieu). I don't think you would like me to do the same to anglos, equating them all with some stupid redneck.

    BTW, I'm over 40, and I NEVER heard the expression "bon juif" To me, this looks like a bullsh*t accusation. French-Canadians are not antisemites as you seem to think.


    @ Anonymous. Check your facts. The modified flag picture is not from Le Devoir, but from the web site you referred to. Le Devoir is more professional than that.

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  3. Having lived in Quebec all my life, I've often heard the term "bon juif" freely expressed, right through to the present day. Or how about French newspapers and TV media referring to Howard Galganov as "Anglophone Juif"? Regardless of what certain people think of him, it's a racist and antisemitic remark!

    Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but Quebec is extremely antisemitic and xenophobic. Dare I say it, very redneck like in its behavior.

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  4. A few years ago, I recall approaching the equipment desk at the CEPSUM of the U de Montreal where I was a student (you could pay an annual fee and get clean t-shirt, shorts and a towel each time) and being a bit surprised to hear that the one guy behind the desk was admonishing the other: "Fais pas ton juif, là!". I didn't quite know what to say, so I joked that being a Jew I would be happy to faire their Juif. It was not well taken. There are all kinds of people and they are not "representative", whatever that means. But this kind of thing is part of society in a way it perhaps has ceased to be elsewhere.

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  5. I repeat : I never heard the expression "bon juif" used by fench-canadians, at least in Quebec City and in Montreal. My guess is, if some are making jokes about jews or using that expression, they are not representatives of the majority of french-canadians.

    @ Mitch : I don't see how referring to Galganov as a jewish anglophone (if he is) can be racist and antisemitic. If someone tells me I'm a french-canadian (which I am), does that mean that person is racist? Duh?

    BTW, the most racist remarks I ever heard were from anglophone montrealers, who are not happy with all the immigrants settling around here, especially the colored ones...

    Face it, morons are everywhere, in my french-canadian group as well as other groups. Anglophones are not immune to bigotry and xenophobia. You should not throw the first stone, you know...

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  6. ",,only a brave and foolish soul,,,"

    Just because people have been intimidated by political correctness NOT to say something, doesn't mean they don't FEEL that way, nor does it mean that they are automatically wrong either. Frankly I would prefer candidness myself.

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  7. Like Howard Galganov has said in editorials on his blog, there would be fury if anyone referred to, say, Lucien Bouchard as the "Franco Catholic". It's a label, a prejudicial label and a condescending, negative connotation, anyway you slice it. It's about as harmless as "New York lawyer". Hey, isn't (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman a New York lawyer? After all, he is from New York and he is Jewish! It's all in the context the label is used. Case closed.

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  8. Je suis Canadien, but also a québecor, and I have seen so much racism it's unbelievable, when I studied in Halifax, I seen nothing but tollerace and donaires :), It's partially because immagrants who speak none french are persecuted so, make PQ bilingual abolish language police and murder all separatists, problem solved mais oui vive le Canada

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  9. Is Gary Bettman a NY lawyer ?

    Just too bad. I hate lawyers.
    They are cockroaches that want to suscitate feud in order to benefit from both sides and suck the disputed values dollar per dollar.

    A lawyer sounds like a lier.

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  10. Neeeeeeever heard "bon juif" used in 29 years between small town quebec, and Quebec City.

    Stop hanging out with low-lives and old folks. My (anglo) grandmother used to use the N-word freely. I knew it was just because she was an old bat. Incidently she was rabidly anti-franco, but hey.

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  11. Here's the real scoop about everything that has been said thus far. I have read everything. To answer the first series on anti-Semitism in Quebec, yes Quebeckers are a hateful bunch period. That having been said, I will quote a paragraph from the article"

    "There was a time when Anglos would describe getting cheated as being "Jewed." Today that term has largely disappeared, only a brave and foolish soul would dare use the term at work or in mixed company."

    .... gee I wonder why they wouldn't say anything in the workplace? This is not to be ant-anything, to be honest is all I am doing, but I know the signature at the bottom of my pay check is NOT "Henry O'Shannon" so ya, no one in our office would dare say anything against people of the Jewish faith. By the way it's a religion, not a race card so stop pulling it out. However, they're just jealous because they do not have the intelligence to work together like people of the Jewish faith do, so of course they will hate. Have any of YOU seen a Quebecker work hard, and achieve anything as a whole? Aside from turning an entire country against them, Quebeckers will NEVER be good at anything other than hatred for anything that isn't white, Christian, and French speaking. That's a fact.

    Next..... I am 1/2 black, and 1/2 Native in Quebec. I am a savage when visit family on the reservation, and a nigger on the island of Montreal. Guess what? I really do not care what these uneducated dumb-asses say about me, and neither should any of you. Whether you're of the Jewish, Muslim, or Christian faith, black, hispanic, or arab culture these idiots just do not care.

    My suggestion: Get over it, because it's not about to change. Jealousy is jealousy.

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  12. As an asian canadian lived in montreal for about 20 or so years, and currently living in the US, I do believe that people in Quebec are extremely racist and intolerant towards foreigners. Quebecers should realize this and accept which will be first step toward improvement. They do not admit that they are racists, and will keep being racists. There are other means to preserving their culture than being so negative and racist. How about giving and caring for example. If i had such experience of receiving a good deed from any quebecer when i first immigrated in to quebec, i would think much more about quebec herritage and would be happy to assimilate to preserve this.

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  13. Pensez-vous une minute que le maire de Jérusalem pourrait être un mulsuman, que le maire d'Ottawa ,de Westmount ou de toronto un francophone que le maire de Beijing un japonais ?

    La deuxième plus populeuse ville francophone du monde avec un maire anglo. Est-ce que Londres aurait un maire francophone ?

    Poser la question, c'est y répondre.
    Hey the sheep, speak white.
    On mérite seulement d'être assimilé(e).

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  14. Tiens un blog appartenant probablement à Richard Bain ou à un fils de pute de même calibre..... loll

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