I'm a Racist for Calling Asians Slant Eyes

Canadian Universities Forum (discussion group)

Subject: I'm a Racist for Calling Asians Slant Eyes

Andre Boisclair
(in reply to: I'm a Racist for Calling Asians Slant Eyes)
MONTREAL (CP) - An unrepentant Andre Boisclair refused to apologize Thursday for using the term "slanting eyes" to describe Asian students.

The controversial description once again put Quebec´s sometimes tenuous race relations at the fore of the provincial election campaign. The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations called on Boisclair to apologize but the Parti Quebecois leader steadfastly rebuffed the request.

"I don´t have any intention of apologizing," he repeated several times, saying it´s a term he uses quite frequently.

According to a former Bloc Quebecois candidate who is now a member of the PQ, Boisclair´s comments have caused rumblings within the party.

"It has caused problems for the PQ´s candidates of Chinese origin because they have to defend Mr. Boisclair´s comments in front of a community who is very angry at these comments," said May Chiu, who ran unsuccessfully for the Bloc during the last federal election. "He really complicated their lives."

Boisclair used the words on Wednesday as he talked about global competition from Asian economies like India and China and the number of young people who leave these countries to pursue studies in the United States.

"The reality is these countries are not just working to create jobs in sweatshops," said Boisclair, who spent a year studying at Harvard University.

"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."

Fo Niemi of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations called the remark offensive.

"It´s a racist stereotype," said Niemi, who is of Asian heritage.

Chiu said the slip was out of character for a politician who normally is extremely sensitive to minorities.

"I just cannot explain how Mr. Boisclair could not have known that ´slanted eyes´ has been used as a derogatory insult towards Asians since as long as I know," she said.

Walter Tom, a member of the Chinese-Canadian National Council and a resident of Montreal, called it "one of the highest insults you can hear."

Rather than seek an apology, the council asked Boisclair to "correct" himself.

"It is rather disappointing to hear Mr. Boisclair, and an aspiring premier at that, refer to students of Asian heritage in this manner," said president Colleen Hua.

But Boisclair was adamant.

"I have no intention of apologizing," he reiterated when asked about his choice of words.

Boisclair made the "slanting eyes" comment in French, using the term "yeux brides."

"I don´t understand," he said in Quebec City on Thursday. "Maybe there´s a nuance between the word in French and the word in English."

French-language media tended to ignore the original remarks on Wednesday, while their English counterparts did mention it.

Boisclair accused Niemi of waging a political fight against him.

The PQ leader said he has travelled to Japan, which he described as "a source of wonder to me."

Quebec has been embroiled in debate over reasonable accommodation of racial, cultural and religious minorities.

It´s not the first time race issues have come up in the campaign for the March 26 provincial election.

The Action democratique du Quebec ditched a candidate for saying Quebecers should have more children to avoid being overrun by "ethnics," while the PQ defended a candidate who came under fire for a book that questioned the extent of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Niemi and Tom said they did not believe Boisclair meant to be insulting.

The former PQ cabinet minister has worked with the Chinese community many times over the years, Tom said.

"We don´t question his goodwill or tolerance," he said. "The only thing is these are the kind of slips of the tongue that need to be eliminated."

Even Boisclair´s chief political foes defended him.

ADQ Leader Mario Dumont joked about the comments.

"I´m told all the time I have slanting eyes," he said, laughing, before adding he does not believe Boisclair meant any disrespect to Asians.

Liberal Leader Jean Charest also came to the defence of his PQ opponent.

"Believe me, I find plenty of fault politically with Mr. Boisclair and I´m not shy about saying that," Charest said in Montreal.

But "I think I know Mr. Boisclair enough to know Mr. Boisclair did not use that term in a pejorative way."

Charest ran into problems of his own Thursday when he was confronted at a factory by an angry taxpayer.

Richard Levesque told Charest the Liberals have failed to deliver on a promise to cut income taxes by a billion dollars a year and have instead hiked fees and other taxes.

Charest said his Liberals have lowered income taxes in the past four years and would continue to do so in another mandate.

The outspoken Levesque was not convinced.

"Just like you said in your last mandate, that you´d lower taxes," he said at the factory in Varennes, Que., east of Montreal.

"I lost a hell of a lot of disposable income since you said that. It´d be better if you said nothing. It costs me too much money when you talk."

(in reply to: I'm a Racist for Calling Asians Slant Eyes)
qibec is stuped
cdi boy
(in reply to: I'm a Racist for Calling Asians Slant Eyes)
..so pathetic..There are people in the world dying, and they´re making an issue out of this
(in reply to: I'm a Racist for Calling Asians Slant Eyes)
^ Racism is an important issue douche bag!


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