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White Speak

The interesting letter of Ch. Tillen, "In defense of French" is clearly

written from the perspective of a Quebec nationalist, who wishes us to believe Canada

and Quebec are separate linguistic and geopolitical entities. Of course, the reality

is that Quebec remains a part of Canada, and approximately 25 percent of Canadians

live in Quebec. So it makes little sense to write that "Canadians say to Quebecers...speak

like me". It makes even less sense when you realize that while a majority of

Quebecers speak French, a significant minority speak other languages, especially

English, just as a significant minority of those living outside Quebec speak languages

other than English, including French. Quebec nationalists would like to ignore that

linguistic reality and imagine the country in black and white, i.e. two separate

English and French States.

The term "speak white" is a very odd one, as I have only heard it spoken

by Quebec nationalist radicals, especially of the 60's variety, making exaggerated

claims that they represent the "white Niggers of America". Such claims

only seem to denigrate the legitimate struggles of African peoples. The reality of

contemporary Quebec society is that the language of work is not determined by an

"Anglo boss", as the great majority of bosses are francophone, and the

Quebec government legislates the use of French in the workplace. Many Quebec nationalists

have also championed repressive legislation which prohibits the use of written English,

and other languages, in public places. English is more in evidence on public signs

in some Asian countries than in Quebec, where it is the first language of many of

its citizens. How can anyone supporting the position of Quebec nationalists possibly

accuse Anglophones of being "imperialist"?

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