Monday, March 26

Excerpt of letter to Boisclair from Quebec women

The undersigned deeply regrets that Mr. André Boisclair used derogatory and deplorable references to describe persons of Asian and Indian origin during a speech to students at the Université du Québec in Trois-Rivières.

Our objection concerns not only his use of the French expression “yeux bridés” to describe Asians in general. This common expression in the French language dating from the 19th century, during a period of expanding colonization of Asia by European countries, is essentially a western invention to label peoples of the Orient. It may appear to be acceptable for persons who do not care, including Asians.

However, Asians do not form a homogeneous group: the reactions vary according to their respective history, social experiences and national cultures. In North America, the simplistic expression “yeux bridés” has been largely rejected by many Asians because of its derogatory and condescending meaning, in whatever possible language.

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