Thursday, March 15, 2007

Boisclair's racist comment

Andre Boisclair made comments Wednesday about Asian students having "slanting eyes" and has so far refused to apologize.

In a speech made yesterday, he spoke about global competition from Asian economies and how many of the young people come to North America, specifically the United States, to study. "When I was in Boston. I was surprised to see that on campus about one-third of the students doing their bachelor's degrees had slanting eyes," he said.

As if the comment wasn't controversial enough, Boisclair sees nothing wrong with his comment. "I don't have any intention of apologizing," he repeated several times, saying it's a term he uses quite frequently. Imagine how awkward it must be for PQ members of Asian origin to explain Boisclair's comments to their constituents.

I don't understand how Boisclair can possibly hope to become premier of Ontario when he makes comments like this and doesn't see the racial stereotype that it implies and enforces.

2 comments:

Scott M. said...

A few things... I think Boisclair was hopeful that he would become premier of Quebec; instead he brought his party to it's worst showing since it was founded.

Secondly, the "slanting eyes" expression in French does not carry *any* negative connotation at all and I'm sure he's absolutely correct when he says he uses it all the time, as do many others.

The problem was he didn't realize it doesn't translate. And while I have a hard time defending him, you'll find that if you look up the news stories from that day both of his major opponents, Jean Charest and Mario Dumont, also defended the use of the term and thought he was not being racist.

The duck thief said...

Right, going premier of Quebec
(kicks self). I don't know why I though Ontario.

While I understand that the expression may have no negative conotations in French I think Mr. Boisclair should have taken into account that he is a public figure and that what he says will also be covered by anglophones. I know it was probably just a slip-up but it those kind of things that ruin political careers.