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I'm actually pretty riled up right now.

There's a video going around titled "crazy quebecer goes apeshit on Asian dude for speaking English".

Or very similar, but the words Quebecer, apeshit, and "for speaking english" are definitely right.

Anyway. The video is of 3 Asian dudes (Canadian dudes, I'll point out - visiting Quebec from English Canada) getting in a fight with - yes, a fanatical French-speaking dude. The problem seems to have started a while before the video begins, with the 3 dudes refusing to make the slightest courtesy of a "bonjour" rather than a "hello".

The French guy goes absolutely insane by the time the video is rolling. The Asian dude (he's Canadian, let's face it!) continues to refuse to do the slightest courtesy of saying a French word that it's hard not to know - bonjour. The French guy is even debating the issue with them in English, proving he also speaks pretty good English. The Asian guy tries to make an argument about Canada being a bilingual country, and how if French guy ever went to English Canada, he'd have to speak English.

Ok. So let's analyze that. English-speakers are all backing that, going "YEAH, ASSHAT WOULD HAVE TO SPEAK ENGLISH IF HE CAME TO SASKATOON!!" Yes. You are completely right. And French guy points out that he does speak English (and points this out IN ENGLISH). Ok. So. Let's flip that. Now this native English-speaker goes to a French-speaking province. And then completely outright refuses to do even the smallest courtesy of speaking the language of the province. He acknowledges that things would be different in English-speaking Canada, which means he acknowledges that he's in French-speaking Canada, and still thinks he's right?

Do you see how that does not add up?

I started to debate this on Facebook. People attacked the shit out of me. "Yeah, well Quebec needs to remember it's not a country!" Ok. But the Asian guy is acknowledging that English Canada speaks English, and that there French people have to speak English. So what of English speakers in French Canada? Why is this a double standard? French people have to speak English in English-speaking Canada, and English people have to speak French in French-speaking Canada. Or at least make an effort, in either case.

No, this Asian dude is saying "French people have to speak English in English-speaking Canada, but English people do not have to make the slightest effort in French-speaking Canada."

I'm a Quebecer by birth, but I've lived in Manitoba - a bilingual province (one of only 2 in the country) for 20 years. I speak both English and French, and have cultural ties to both of them through my hertiage. Do I hold one about the other? No. Do I respect both when I am in places where the dominant language is one or the other? Yes.

It enrages me that even some of the most open-minded, apparently non-prejudiced people came out at me to point out that English people shouldn't have to try. Canada to them is "bilingual", meaning that everyone (every single person) should speak English, and French people should have to speak English, but English people shouldn't have to speak French. It's incredibly disrespectful.

If I were going to a reserve where the actual language used was Cree, I'd pick up a greeting, a thank you, and a please-type word. Gratitude words, in their own language. Because that's just fucking common courtesy.

English-speaking Canada is drunk on rudeness, prejudice, and hate, and this perpetuation is not helping.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 4th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with you on this one. If I were going to a city or town in Quebec, I would at least say, "Bonjour. Je parle anglais. Merci." That's really the extent of my French speaking, but I would at least respect a French-dominant region enough to make an attempt. It seems really disrespectful to think otherwise especially when we are a country with 2 official languages.
Sep. 10th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
It's tough, as Anglophones tend to get really really defensive about it, and keep using examples of "crazy Quebecers". How about just a group of people with a language that's being trampled?

A common argument thrown at me is that no one speaks the native tongues of the Aboriginal people of the area, so why should English-speakers have to speak French? This is a red herring. If we could go back and rewrite history, they wouldn't be speaking English either - so why would they have such strong feelings about keeping English - another colonial language.

It just shocked me how many of my friends - university-educated friends who have bleeding hearts for all kinds of minority groups and cultures - could talk so much shit and be so incredibly supportive of complete ignorance, laziness, and cultural disrespect. And that my suggesting that the French guy had a reason to be angry would make them come out so forcefully.

The points raised did sway the opinion of one stranger, but everyone else just got too emotionally involved - which I found SO weird.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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