Why was a festival in Quebec branded as racist? See if you can find the answer

Why was a festival in Quebec branded as racist? See if you can find the answer
Image: Facebook video screen grab

If you have to explain a joke, then there is no joke. Similarly, if you have to explain a dog whistle…

On to the business at hand. The photograph above is a still from a video shot at a parade in Montreal to celebrate the city’s Francophone culture. In it, you see female marchers dressed in white. The object in blue on the right side is part of a float. Do you see the racism? No?

Try the wider angle shot below. Can you see it yet?

Image: Facebook video screen grab

If your answer is still no, don’t berate yourself too harshly. According to the BBC, the organizers of the event have called the charges “unjust” and “exaggerated.”

The complaint, as summarized by the BBC, is that the clip (which appears below) “shows a singer on a float pushed by four black men in khakis, as a white crowd dances around them.”

In other words, in someone’s vivid imagination, the black men are menial laborers toiling on behalf of their white masters the people riding the float and marching alongside it.

In fact, the men pushing the float are volunteers recruited from two local organisations — the Association for School Retention and the Louis-Joseph-Papineau High School Sports Team — and according to Maxime Laporte, head of the organization that sponsors the parade, the fact that they are black is a coincidence.

A statement posted on the festival’s Facebook page adds another detail about the float that should gladden the hearts of liberals:

[S]ince our parade is to be environmentally responsible, all allégoriques floats are driven by citizens rather than being motorized.

As for the volunteers:

It goes without saying that these young people — who were proud to participate in the event — were not chosen according to the colour of their skin.

Try telling that to the 16,000-plus people who have viewed the video on Facebook, most of whom are beside themselves with rage.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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