June Show: Racism in Quebec

When Nydia Dauphin published a post on HuffPost Canada on May 16th, bells and whistles went off; sirens even.  Her crime:  pointing out the resurfacing of blackface minstrelsy in Quebec.  Dauphin was responding specifically to the dawning of Blackface by Mario Jean at the annual comedy award show, the Gala Les Olivier.  The show aired on Radio Canada.  Jean was apparently attempting to impersonate a black comedian.

Dauphin's post also included a slideshow of blackface performances  by white Quebeckers in recent years and provided some much-needed context of the offensiveness of these sitings and her personal observations as a black quebecker.

We, as women of colour, lamented the reaction and the outpouring of mischaracterizations and attempts to dismiss Dauphin's remarks.  Flat out defenses of blackface were given in media.  The assertion that ugly forms of racism persist in Quebec society were mocked.

As a show that comes together every month to say NO to the silencing of the voices of women of color, to provide a platform for women of color to have self-determination as they discuss their lived experiences, we felt compelled to spend this month's show looking more closely at racism in Quebec today.  From the resurgence of blackface to the Quebec Soccer Federation's initial ban on the wearing of religious headware to the hostile reactions in the press at the assertion that racism persists in Quebec today, we took to the airwaves to give voice to our experiences as women of color members of the press confronting this discourse head-on.

To that end, we spoke with illustrious critic, writer, podcaster, and artist Fariha Roisin.

Alyssa Clutterbuck  also responded to the denials that blackface, slavery, and other forms of anti-black racism form part of Quebec's history in her piece, "Are people still denying that slaves were brought to New France by French settlers?”

Mercedes Bonair presented a personal testimony of growing up in Little Burgundy in Montreal.

We also had a reading by Lili Dao - The Silencing of Racism in Quebec, which is a book review of Jan Wong’s Out of the Blue.

Listen to the show here.