How Do You Call a Quebecois Who is Not a Minority?
How do you call a regular generic Canadian? You know, a white guy called Rob or Bill with a last name that starts with W and ends with ON?
Or what about an American (see description above)?
You just call him a Canadian or an American, right? If need be you could call him an Anglo or a white guy or a WASP, but unless race or ethnicity is an issue, you just use the standard issue label, right?
That’s the way it was supposed to work in Québec too. In French the label Québécois was taken up PRECISELY to shed the baggage of the old French-Canadian label that implied that you were White, Catholic and had way to many siblings. A Québécois would be someone who lives in Québec. Period.
Sadly, it seems that even Them, the Franco-French-North Americans of French Expression, have picked up the very sad and even dangerous English-language concept of using the word Québécois to define not anyone who lives in Québec, but specifically one group of people, the white French-speaking men an women who have at least one uncle in either Gaspésie or Saguenay.
I have friends, born here, French-speaking, not especially fervent Canadian patriots, who will say things like: « Mon boss est Québécois », as if, because of their Viet Namese or African Roots, they weren’t Québécois themselves.
People, for a variety of reason, need a word to identify THEM. Whether it is to express solidarity, denounce exclusion or spew out racist prejudice for profit in Canada’s daily newspapers, people need a word that points to THEM. Since we need to protect the use of Québécois as a generic label that includes all the members of our civil society, even those we don’t like, it is time we pick an official label for THEM.
Many are already in use. Pick one, people:
Pur (Pure) Laine: The most commonly used word in the English language to designate the Them. The notion of purity is part of the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars inspired vision of Canadian multiculturalism that celebrates a motley crew of men and women in easily identifiable folkloric costumes who fight evil separatists before returning to ethnically segregated ghettos. This is what John Porter called the Vertical Mosaic in 1965. Jews get +3 business ability points and Them get +5 in goaltending. Just as in the Lord of the Ring, English-speaking white males with no special skills have all the command jobs.
De Souche: Literally « of the stump », as in a tree stump. This is the more common word used in French to designate Them. The tree is indeed a nice image to describe a people, any people. Out of innumerable and invisible roots a common trunk emerges before, once again dividing up into hundreds of branches that reach to the sky (take that poet-laureate!) Sadly the Québec version of the image carries the weight of it’s terminal loser syndrome, the stump symbolising where the tree was cut down to make way for a Tim Horton’s parking lot.
French-Canadians: French-Canadian has a quaint old fashioned feel that evokes horse-drawn sleds and midnight mass. Although still commonly used by Them when travelling abroad to avoid the whole « What’s a kweebeekwa? » conversation, most don’t use it at home. Federalists feel they are full patch Canadians and indépendantistes don’t feel they are Canadian at all.
Paleo-Québécois: As opposed to Néo-Québécois. A commenter on this forum came up with that one. It is the AngryFrenchFavorite.