AngryFrenchGuy

Acadians and Using Language Politics to Avoid Speeding Tickets

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Acadian Congress

Like most well informed Québécois passionate about North American Francophonie, I know just about nothing about the Acadians.

Acadie is a State of Mind of a Nation of about half a million French-speaking people spread around at least five canadian provinces and a couple of american states who’s history and culture is completely different from Québec’s.  They came over from a different part of France at a different time in history and are extremely proud about their distinct heritage.  The Québécois don’t know or care about this and just assume  they’re some families from Beloeil who got lost on their way to Cape Cod.

In that way, Acadie is to Québec what Canada is to the United States.

All I know about Acadie I learned from my sister who figured out she could skip Cegep and graduate a year early by going to the Université de Moncton, the only major French language university in Canada outside Québec.

(Here’s another cool Acacheat: Because New-Brunswick is Canada’s only officially billingual province police officers must address you in the official language of your choice, but a significant number of Anglo cops don’t actually speak French.  Next time you are pulled over for speeding in NB, politely but firmly demand to speak French and the the policeman will legally be obligated to radio in a colleage to give you your ticket.  He is more likely to let you off with an (English) warning.)

My sister spent five years living among the Acadians, learning their stories and their language, Shiak, a blend of French and English.  (Which, of course,  is completely different from Québec’s Joual which is a mix of English in French).  She also learned the difference between an Acadian and a Brayon and the strange diet of this strange place wher poutine has nothing to do with cheese and gravy.

She told me about how there weren’t many Québécois at the Université de Moncton except for hockey players on scholarships.  Apparently Acadians can’t skate.   Who knew?  There were a lot of Franco-Canadians from other provinces, however.  Many militant Francos who wanted to study in French but were extremely bitter over Québec wanting to separate from Canada and the Québécois’ tendency to treat French culture outside their province as moribund, or, in the words of author Yves Beauchemin, as a still warm corpse.   Francos from the strangest places–Yukon and a village in Alberta eight hours north of Edmonton–travelled thousands of miles to Moncton specifically because they didn’t want to study in Québec.

There were also kids from France, Gabon, Mali and Luxemburg and today, even though Moncton is still a mostly English-speaking town, most immigrants and newcomers are part of the French-speaking community.  That’s Acadia succeeding where Québec still struggles.

At my sister’s graduation the valedictorian was an algerian Berber who’s life as an emmigrant had actually started in Glasgow.  (You can just imagine the scene when he arrived in New-Brunswick and some bureaucrat decided he couldn’t possibly be speaking English because of his scottish accent and sent him to French school.)  To this day he wears an Acadian flag pin–a France flag with a yellow star in the corner–on his vest when he teaches math at the École de Technologie Supérieure engineering school in Montreal.

Oh Yeah…   just about every single one of my sister’s acadian friends are now living in Montréal because it turns these militant Francos figured out you can’t work in French anywhere except in Québec.

Respect Acadie.  Nous Vaincrons.

Check out the Acadian National Congress, on now.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

August 8, 2009 at 8:51 pm

89 Responses

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  1. 4. And finally — I know people here will hit the roof with what I’m about to say; I know it’s needlessly provocative; and I know that the two scenarios are not at all the same—although who they happened to target is not why the comparison is inappropriate…

    … but Lord Durham wanted to promote social cohesion too…

    Nick Nicholas

    August 13, 2009 at 10:12 pm

  2. Since it hasn’t been raised here yet it should be said that multiculturalism in Canada is seen (rightly or wrongly) by many francophones as an attempt to reduce the French element to an ethnic group “like all the others” in a culturally anglo country where English is the language of convergence (even in Quebec).

    Now, I am not sure if that was the original intent of Canadian multiculturalism, but it has at least partially had this effect on many non-francophone Canadians, from whom you often hear “sure you are Quebecois/French Canadian, but I am Ukrainian-Canadian or Italian-Canadian, so it’s the same thing”… often from people who know zilch about their immigrant forebears’ language and culture.

    This might explain a lot of the hostility of francophones on this forum to multiculturalism.

    If it’s a scheme to fight racism, everyone can agree it is a good thing. But it’s when it is perceived as a means of reducing a founding people’s status to that of an immigrant group, that’s a different story.

    Acajack

    August 14, 2009 at 6:39 am

  3. Acajack’s response reminds me of a conundrum in my background reading.

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the book I ended up reading to try and make sense of Quebec while I was there was by Ramsay Cook. A fellow traveller of Trudeau in the ’60s, an outspoken federalist—so ideologically sympatico to me. But also, as he explains in his introduction, a Western Canadian who realised as a history student that he hadn’t been listening to French Canada, and was obligated to.

    This does relate to what Acajack just said, honest: part of the realisation Cook describes in his introduction is, realising that Francophones were not a minority like any other (which is how they seemed to him growing up in ’30s Manitoba), but a founding people, who did deserve special status in the confederation. So this federalist was saying “yes, but” to the multiculturalist ideal.

    My conundrum is, this guy aligned himself explicitly with Trudeau; but there’s a clip of Trudeau speaking around the time either the first or the second referendum (I can check), and saying that no, Quebec does not deserve special status in the constitution. He then said something that, like a lot of what I’ve heard him say, showed him to be an intellectual without necessarily making a clear point: Quebec is distinct from Ontario, but Ontario is just as distinct from Quebec. In other words I suppose, each province is distinct and to be valued equally.

    Maybe that’s a consequence of Trudeau being burnt by Alberta while running a confederation, I dunno; but Cook explicitly speaks of Levesque and Trudeau in the 1960s setting out to safeguard Quebec through completely different national frameworks. And that the Manitoban anglo federalist concludes that Quebec deserves special status, while the Quebecois franco federalist concludes it doesn’t… well, that reaches at least Alanis Morisette levels of irony…

    And multiculturalism isn’t just a scheme to fight racism. It’s a scheme to reinvent—or weaken—nationalism. Even if it’s not regarded as an Anglo Trojan Horse, I think I get why Franco-Quebec does not see Canadian muliculturalism—or even Quebec multiculturalism—as a benevolent force.

    Still. That’s the side I’m on.

    Nick Nicholas

    August 14, 2009 at 8:36 am

  4. I’m a federalist not because I think Canada is something special, but because the alternative is rather bleak. Canada and its policy of multiculturalism is a bulwark against Quebecois nationalism. Without that these guys running the show:

    I bet these are the people that afg referred to as “brothers and sisters”.

    allophone

    August 14, 2009 at 9:05 am

  5. Allophone,

    [sarcasm] Yeah, I’m sure the 20 or so members of Jeunes Patriotes will run the show.

    Why stop midway in the path to unreasonnability and not claim it’ll be just like in this video:

    [/sarcasm]

    FX

    August 14, 2009 at 10:07 am

  6. Le marche de patriotes is laughable enough but only until the leader of your major political party shows up at the rally to endorse it.

    For me, that’s where it stops being a funny joke, and starts being a sad joke.

    allophone

    August 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

  7. “And multiculturalism isn’t just a scheme to fight racism. It’s a scheme to reinvent—or weaken—nationalism”

    Interesting that you would say this. I don’t think you’re wrong in your general assessment, but in the Canadian experience the guy (Trudeau) who was behind Canadian multiculturalism was actually a big proponent of Canadian nationalism, of which he thought there was *too little* when he became PM.

    His tenure as PM saw the greatest expansion and push for Canadian nationalism ever seen, with flags plastered all over the country, huge government-funded Canada Day celebrations in cities and towns, innumerable national unity and other Canadian pride materials flooding schools and other institutions… I remember getting an “O Canada!” information kit at school as a child, which featured most memorably a floppy 45 rpm record that played the very Trudeauist song: “Bonjour mon ami how are you my friend, ça va très bien thank you”.

    Sure, Trudeau liked to style himself as a citizen of the world, anti-nationalist type in opposition to the PQ forces of René Lévesque, his career-long nemesis. But there wasn’t really that much difference between them fundamentally, except for the colour of the flag.

    Acajack

    August 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

  8. Canadian multiculturalism is neither a laudable ideal nor is it a cruel conspiracy. It is simply a necessity. Consider: Canadian multiculturalism is an evolution of the idea of biculturalism, two founding peoples which in and of itself presents Canada as NOT culturally monolithic. But to end things at bilculturalism is to somehow state that “sure you are Quebecois/French Canadian, but I am Ukrainian-Canadian or Italian-Canadian, so it’s NOT the same thing.” In a sense then biculturalism seeks to redress discrimination against French-Canadians and multiculturalism goes one step further to include, non-French, non-English Canadians in the mix. Specifically, Ukranian-Canadians provided this impetus.

    We see or hear from time to time the language of the bicultural possibility, when a journalist refers to Italian and Jamaican Torontonians as “ethnic communities or cultural communities” as if being an old British Canadian was so normative that culture and ethnicity, rather than being shared human traits, were deviations from the norm of Canadianness.

    As France has learned, it is impossible to govern a democratic country of plural origins without some sort of recognition of those plural origins. Brazil and the United States do this through a national myth of immigration (which is why Natives fit so poorly into Brazilian & US national mythology). Switzerland does this through a national myth of the fiercely independent neutral state (nevermind the fact that Germanophone regions conquered the Italophone and Francophone ones). Canada’s multicultural myth posits that we are all equally Canadian in our own way whether immigrants (read: non-British/French descent) or not (read: Natives, Canadians, and French-Canadians).

    The myth does eat itself though in the contradictions inherent in its rhetoric. There’s a bar of Canadianness, which some multigenerational Canadians cannot seem to pass. Eg: He’s not really Canadian, he’s Jamaican…

    The Quebec intercultural myth faces the same contradiction, but comes from a starting point remarkably less appealing to people of diverse cultural origins. That is not to say, for example, that an Indo-Quebecer will not wish to be a Quebecer, but he may not wish to on the terms of interculturalism.

    In a sense then, multiculturalism is not so much the government policy, but rather the actualization of cultural interaction and immigration in a country with two language groups and a founding not born out of a single cultural identity. Basically, we can’t have it any other way.

    Fon

    August 14, 2009 at 2:07 pm

  9. African-American culture is an interesting example, because much of what the world finds fascinating about American culture is African-American: jazz, hip-hop, house, Dunham modern dance, urban dance, tap. However, these artforms are also considered American (in a non-hyphenated way). Whether or not this is co-opting is an interesting discussion.

    Fon

    August 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm

  10. You’re right of course. And Lord Durham probably was as well.

    The rub is that Quebec has, in the 160-odd years since he made his report, grown to have almost all the attributes of a nation except for independent status. So much so that much of its population is convinced that it doesn’t even need independent status in order to be able to fully express itself.

    Now that Quebec has emerged as a unique and distinctive voice (recognized perhaps not by all but by many) in the concert of nations, it’s much, much too late to turn things back as Durham would have had them evolve.

    Acajack

    August 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm

  11. Lord Durham is an interesting example. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many of histories monsters are people who think they are taking up some sort of moral calling. As I outlined (rather poorly — I got off on a tangent) below, Canadian multiculturalism rose out of necessity. Obviously societies need social cohesion, but how to get it is often our question. I think rather than asking ourselves what means are best suited to us, we simply ask what’s possible. Lord Durham’s model was simply not feasable.

    Fon

    August 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm

  12. “In a sense then biculturalism seeks to redress discrimination against French-Canadians and multiculturalism goes one step further to include, non-French, non-English Canadians in the mix. Specifically, Ukranian-Canadians provided this impetus.”

    I believe the idea emerged during the Bilingualism and Bicultural Royal Commission in the 1960s, which was supposed to have a French-English. But Jaroslav Rudnyckyj, one of the commissioners, pushed things in the direction of multiculturalism.

    Another truism for many people is that multiculturalism was a carrot thrown by Trudeau at non-French, non-English groups in order to get them to accept official bilingualism (read “more French”, since they didn’t usually have a problem with English) and not see it as Quebec or francophones getting everything.

    I still think that multiculturalism has led too many people (especially outside Quebec, but even inside Quebec in some instances) to see francophones as just an ethnic/immigrant group to an already established English-speaking country, but that somehow we’ve carved out a (largely undeserved) special deal for ourselves that other groups never got.

    Acajack

    August 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm

  13. If you read Durham’s report, he actually says that his plan would be good for francophones, and would open up many new educational and economic opportunities for them.

    Place yourself in the context of his times, what with the totally anglo-centric evolution that North America was taking… he was simply sensing what he thought was the way the wind was blowing.

    He wasn’t much of an ogre that’s for sure.

    Acajack

    August 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

  14. I still think that multiculturalism has led too many people (especially outside Quebec, but even inside Quebec in some instances) to see francophones as just an ethnic/immigrant group to an already established English-speaking country, but that somehow we’ve carved out a (largely undeserved) special deal for ourselves that other groups never got.

    I agree entirely and I don’t think it’s any accident that this dogma was developed at the same time as was being elaborated a constitutional offensive targeting Québec nationalism and the territorial approach to language by Québec which as Castonguay notes has been a mitigated success while federal bilingualism has been a mostly unmitigated failure in arresting assimilation of francophones outside Québec and preserving their integrity as a national group.

    The multiculturalism discourse has been endlessly invoked to banalize the national revendications of the Québécois and to banalize any legitimate concern or demands relating to the fate of the French fact in Canada. It’s a classic divide and conquer or “confusion through profusion” strategy.

    And it’s a canard that it’s somehow only “old stock” francophones in Québec who have misgivings about multicultural dogma. English Canadians share these misgivings, as Keith Spicer learned when enquiring about it. And notice that when a respected English Canadian supreme court justice writes an opinion saying there are reasonable limits to multicultural discourse (such as, oh, say, using it as a cover for the inferiorization of women) English Canadians including the editorialists of the Toronto Star say “here here!”, whereas when Québec feminists raised similar concerns at the B-T Commission the Toronto Star and English Canada’s chattering classes were quick to assume the worst about their motives. French Canadians have no right to talk about multiculturalism, whereas English Canadians can with a pure conscience. We haven’t seen the end of this doubletalk either. Ready your stomach for lots more.

    James

    August 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm

  15. A Acajak et a tous les acadiens, je souhaite bonne fete nationale.

    midnightjack

    August 15, 2009 at 8:01 am

  16. Durham wrote his report at a very specific time in history when the entire British Empire was transitionning from an Orientalist policy of telling the locals what to do in their language to an Anglicist policy of treating them like humans, if not Englishmen, and giving them access to English science and culture.

    This was the newest in new for young progressive imperialists like Raffles in Singapour, Macaulay in India and Durham in Canada. It was unthinkable to old conservatives who did not thing dark people and foreigners able to think “englishly”, exept maybe for the Scots, and even then…

    In 1835 MaCaulay wrote his famous “minute” announcing that English edcation would from now on be available for Indians, although, he lamented “it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.

    Only four years later, in 1839, Durham wrote in his report that it was not humane to let French-Canadians rot without any literature or culture (of which they indeed had very little at that time) and that they should be made English as soon as possible. “It is to elevate them from that inferiority that I desire to give to the Canadians our English character. I desire it for the sake of the educated classes, whom the distinction of language and manners keeps apart from the great Empire to which they belong.”

    Durham absolutely was, in the context of his time, a friend of the French-Canadians.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm

  17. By wigs and long skirts, I mean dressing like a Jewish orthodox (and probably also walking a good fifteen feet behind my husband). Freedom of religion is nice, but I somehow feel that the Rockland Centre is a kind of Little Israel, and it bothers me. I feel like I have to watch where to shop now, just to be sure not to invade somebody’s turf… But it doesn’t say Jewish Orthodox Shopping Centre in big bold letters on the building, does it? Well, at least, now I know where I don’t feel comfortable shopping. Goodbye, Rockland Centre! I just hope not all of Montreal’s shopping centres turn out that way…

    Why can’t they just shop and live all over the place like most people do? How would it be hard for them to keep up their traditional lifestyles and religious practices while mingling? Muslims from Old Yugoslavia are all over the place and they can live here peacefully…

    Going to Rockland Centre is like going to an army base: everybody is wearing the same uniform. If I wanted to live in such an environment, I would have moved to Israel, thank you.

    As I said, I have a BIG problem with those who prefer not to integrate.

    By the way, I totally get what you say about people not helping you to integrate. I have been told by lots of anglos wanting to learn French here that people are trying too hard to be nice by speaking English to them (sometimes so poorly that even the anglo would understand them better if they just spoke French), and this doesn’t help to learn French. I am trying to educate my fellow francos on the issue. What sucks is that there are a lot of people not bothering to integrate, and those who are trying real hard get a bad reputation because of those who don’t care to integrate. It’s a shame.

    AngryFrenchGirl

    August 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm

  18. “We see or hear from time to time the language of the bicultural possibility, when a journalist refers to Italian and Jamaican Torontonians as “ethnic communities or cultural communities” as if being an old British Canadian was so normative that culture and ethnicity, rather than being shared human traits, were deviations from the norm of Canadianness.”

    This is something I have always had trouble with. How can those immigrants be well integrated when they are, in a way, called “the others” even when it is not pertinent to do so? I don’t think there is anything to be proud of when Canada chooses to have a black governor general, when The States elect a black president and I still don’t get the big fuss about Sotomayor being the first latino supreme judge–they are all smart, competent people, and whether they are part of a minority or not, whether they are women or not, whether they are white or not doesn’t take anything away from what they can do for their respective countries. Being proud of the fact that a black president was elected is the same, at least to me, as admitting that we are a bunch of racist hypocrits. Pointing out that, by the way, he is black (about as much as he is white, to be fair), is racism.

    This may also be why I choose to raise an issue with people labeling me a Québécois. Maybe I am trying to make a point: there are people who don’t identify with the Québécois and yet live in perfect harmony with them (I am part of that group). I don’t think it is important whether I am or not–what is important is that I am here, I contribute to this country the best I can and I make it a point not to disturb the local culture. I don’t believe that you need to be assimilated in order for both the immigrant and the native to feel at home and live happily ever after.

    A citizen is a citizen, no matter his accent and how long he has been in Canada.

    AngryFrenchGirl

    August 15, 2009 at 11:08 pm

  19. Pretty damn good post…and one I heartily agree with.

    As one with Greek-Canadian heritage, I could never get excited about eith Spiro Agnew or Michael Dukakis, both Greek-Americans. Yet the Greek-American — and to a certain extent — the Greek-Canadian communities went ape-shit over their candidacies.

    Why? Because I share some DNA with them? Some sort of cultural and linguistic similarities?

    And, yes, I agree that pointing out all the time that the president is Black is racism.

    And I also find it kinda racist of people to always mention how “intelligent” and “smart” Obama is. Well, Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scolar and a pretty smart guy but we hardly ever heard him referred to as smart? I suspect that that those that keep saying how smart Barack is are really saying how surprised they are that a Black man is so intelligent. Or else why go to the trouble of pointing it out all the time?

    Tony Kondaks

    August 16, 2009 at 12:06 am

  20. Wow. This whole discussion about multiculturalism is of very good quality. I am not sure if it’s on topic for acadians, but I really want to thanks everyone on both side who contributed, because I will come back to it to help me understand that question becausethere’s lots of insights from everyone. On the multiple identity as a problem or a good thing, on multiculturalism as a form of canadian nationalism vs evil plot vs necessity vs ghettoisation.

    Being someone who is deep down a Quebecker and a Montrealer (but not a French Canadian, except by blood) and who is forced by the nature of my job to often talk and write and most of the time read in English, and who sometimes catch myself thinking (subvocalizing) in English, all of this in quite interesting.

    It’s good to see a real discusssion, with everyone sharing his point of view instead of single-post slogan-droping, like we see in ‘mainstream’ medias blogs (in Quebec there isn’t many mainstream medias so you can see who I am thinking about – basically all the four of them).

    Trancrède

    August 16, 2009 at 1:45 am

  21. Why saying how smart Obama is ?
    Perhaps because he is damn smart (yes, Clinton was too). But perhaps also we (the whole world) went through 8 years of an anti-intellectual president that wasn’t even able to chew his bretzels while watching a football match and the contrast is just amazing.
    True that all this send a clear message to black kids out there, and we are all happy that it turns that way (two good things happening at the same time) but I don’t see much racism in that fact.

    Trancrède

    August 16, 2009 at 1:50 am

  22. Well, Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scolar and a pretty smart guy but we hardly ever heard him referred to as smart?

    well no, in fact, Clinton’s superior intellect was the object of quite frequent mention, as was Hillary’s, and even their numerous detractors noted this often. Reference was often made to Clinton’s tremendous memory and swift learning ability.

    Most would agree that there have been white anglos of intellectual mediocrity who rose to the U.S. presidency. Bush fils is the most commonly cited example, but there was Reagan and if we reach back we’d find others. It is well to ask whether an African-American of intellectual mediocrity could have achieved election as U.S. president. I would argue that at this point in time, the answer is no.

    So while it may be consdescending to harp on Obama’s intellect as if there’s anything anomalous to an African-American having a superlative intellect, I think it’s still very pertinent to realize that the bar was set higher for him because of who he was. And I think he’s still being judged more sternly because of who he is, particularly on the Republican right, who rail about him printing money much more than they railed about Dubya’s plunging America into the military and financial abyss of Iraq or letting Greenspan turn the U.S. economy into a bloated corrupt hedge fund.

    I actually saw very little commentary in the vein of “gee, he’s Black and he’s smart too..”. What I did hear an orgy of was commentary commending him on his strategy of not displaying “anger” during his campaign. And lots of this even came from liberal types who didn’t seem to realize that this was a racist double standard, this notion that in America a black man doesn’t have the “right” to be angry, that it’s the kiss of political death. White politicians can be angry, they can barnstorm and make fiery demagogic polemical speeches and ooze with indignation, but the implication was that Obama couldn’t permit himself this if he wanted to succeed. I heard a *lot* of that kind of talk.

    Falardeau has often made the analogy of Québécois in the Canadian context to that of African-Americans in the U.S. context. I think the anger question is a perfect example. The bar is obviously set higher for French Canadians, and they too suffer the kiss of death if they insist upon equality with English Canadians and give free vent to indignation and resentment, no matter how justified. That’s why English Canadians like Québécois politicians like Chrétien, an intellectual mediocrity who caters to English Canadian expectations and never gets mad at *them*, only at his own people against whom no “coup bas” was barred. Whereas they hated Lévesque and Parizeau, much more worldly and intellectually developed men with a very superior command of English, because they were “uppity” and didn’t tell English Canadians what they wanted to hear. To this day I see very little acknowledgement in anglo media of Parizeau’s superlative intellect, which is much more freely acknowledged in francophone media, even by his political detractors.

    The same would happen if an aboriginal man or woman aspired to be Prime Minister of Canada. It would require an Obama scenario for any chance to succeed: a person of superior intellect and determination with a strategy and discipline honed to perfection, and of course, s/he could not under any circumstances afford to be seen as “angry”, as the pundits on Newsworld would be pointing out to us with the same obsession as were the pundits on PBS and CNN about Obama.

    James

    August 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm

  23. Acajack: I deliberately left myself an out for Trudeau: subvert *or* reinvent nationalism. :-) However vendu Trudeau looks to sovereigntists, the nationalism he was peddling was not the old Canadian nationalism with the red ensign. In fact the flag switch was part of the new narrative, which is why it was pushed so aggressively, wasn’t it?

    The challenge with multiculturalism is to allow cultural difference among your citizens, but still have the polity cohere. National myths do a lot of this, and hats off to Fon below for going into detail on it. Absent a cohesive national myth… you flag wave, I guess…

    Trudeau may have been the mirror image of Lévesque more than he cared to admit (oh to have been a fly on the wall as Cité Libre was wrapping up operations). But multiculturalism was not launched in order to dissolve Canada; and the information kit, in its own hamfisted kind of way, makes sense. Does the Quebec government do anything similar these days to instill pride-in-Quebec in the anglophone schools? It has the legal right to, yes?

    Nick Nicholas

    August 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm

  24. And the coopting, or whatever it was, started *very* early. Gustav Mahler wrote an editorial when he was working in New York, displaying the regrettable prejudices of his time: including that African-American music could never amount to the greatness of Classical music, because Africans are inferior to Europeans. (We’re talking around 1908.) The rebuttal from the locals mentioned glancingly that the argument doesn’t follow; but what it said loudest was, ragtime and spirituals (no jazz yet) was not African music: it was American music, dammit.

    To his credit, his biographer that I read this from rebuts that not only did Mahler not get African-American music, he also didn’t get European Folk music: it wasn’t Herderian National Vigour that transmuted jigs into Bach Gigues, or for that matter Austrian Ländler into Mahler scherzi.

    Nick Nicholas

    August 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

  25. Gee, thanks, Tony! I can only have respect for people who think totally different from me yet can admit they also agree on some points. Here, have a drag off my pipe! ;)

    Indeed, I also suspect that people feel obligated to mention Obama’s blackness because they are suprised that a black man can outdo whites, as though the black were inferior to whites in every way. I am glad Obama is president because he is proving them wrong. Obama’s being president is indeed good for blacks in general. I just wish people concentrated more on what he does as a president than on the Black President Miracle. To the public, he is president first, a smart man second. Being black, at least to me, is waaaaay down at the bottom of the list.

    By treating every single ethnic minority as an ethnic minority, we are alienating them. First off, some ethnic minorities like to be an ethnic minority because it gives them rights that the majority doesn’t have (especially those who belong to what I call uniform religions–see my post above on the Rockland Centre). How can we then pretend that everybody in this country is equal? Do we even wonder why Montreal is a big melting pot of ghettoes?

    Some ethnic minorities would prefer to be one of the guys, but they can’t, because instead of treating them like one of the guys, we treat them like an ethnic minority. How can we honestly expect these people to integrate? I think that the governments and the public at large are partially at fault for the lack of integration here.

    And then, why should the natives give special treatment to ethnic minorities? To my knowledge, they are the ones who chose to be an ethnic minority (before judging my statement, please consider that I myself am part of a very tiny ethnic minority). How are the natives responsible for that? By using white silk gloves with enthnic minorities, we are only comforting them in their specialness and we make them socially handicapped for life. I can’t stand shop windows that say welcome in a dozen languages… Leave that to Unicef!

    And then, what if I don’t want to be perceived as part of an ethnic minority? What if I am just damn happy to have made it alive after leaving my country behind and don’t want to be reminded of it? What if I have fallen in love with this place, this people and this culture and just want to embrace it? I think I should have the right. This is what I would use the Charter for, and not to force a daycare center to serve halal to my kid. And I am frankly tired of tolerating the intolerants…

    This is what I think is wrong with Canada’s multiculturalism.

    AngryFrenchGirl

    August 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm

  26. Merci beaucoup. J’espérais être à Caraquet en fin de semaine mais malheureusement ce ne fut pas possible.

    Acajack

    August 17, 2009 at 6:35 am

  27. The actual anglophone idiom, for what it’s worth, is “between two stools”, dating back to a time when most English people couldn’t afford actual chairs. There is also “between two fires”, which is much more desperate.

    For my own case, my wife and I (separately) left the U.S. and joined the Independent City of New York because everything about it suited us much better, even though both of us could do what we do in plenty of other places. Sometimes home isn’t where the heart is, at least not until you make it so. Are we native New Yorkers? No. Are we New Yorkers? Emphatically yes.

    John Cowan

    August 21, 2009 at 12:32 am

  28. This has worked for me twice in Louisiana. I think French is still a de facto official language according to their state constitution. (There are some small towns run like Duplessis-era Quebec, so it probably isn’t the wisest thing to do down there.)

    brian

    August 30, 2009 at 2:01 am

  29. Bonjour. Pouvez-vous me dire d’où en France sont venus les Acadiens? Mon père est Acadien de Nouveau Brunswick mais il a un nom de famille Québecois? J’ai fait un recherche et j’ai découvrit que ses ancêtres ont venu de Cacouna au Québec. Quelles sont les différences entre les Acadiens et les Acadiens? je suis de Los Angeles et je suis allée au Québec seulement une fois. Merci!! Nadine Pelletier

    Nadine Pelletier

    October 21, 2012 at 11:54 am


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