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Censor Brathwaite?

Censor Brathwaite?


Ten years ago the biography of Normand Brathwaite, written by Isabelle Massé, appeared. But if I spoke to you today, on the radio, about this book, I could not pronounce the title. Otherwise, I would risk a reprimand from the CRTC. 

The bio of my friend Normand (a black artist), which was written by Isabelle Massé (a black journalist), bears a title in a nod to a book by Dany Laferrière (a black writer): Brathwaite, How to work like a nigger without getting tired


Do you realize? Ten years ago, Normand and Isabelle found it normal and amusing to wink at Laferrière's book by using the “n” word”. How the world has changed in just 3650 days! 

Last week, the CRTC ordered Radio-Canada to apologize for using the “n-word” during a radio show in which a columnist mentioned the book Nègres blancs d'Amérique by Pierre Vallières.

Since then, the Professional Federation of Journalists of Quebec has condemned this “dangerous precedent which imposes on the media censorship that is as exaggerated as it is unjustified”.&nbsp ;

And on Friday, in an open letter, thirteen media personalities, including Bernard Derome and former Radio-Canada ombudsmen, also denounced the CRTC's decision. 

One thing in particular shocks me in the CRTC decision. It's when the federal body blames the crown corporation for not having “shown enough respect and sensitivity to the communities affected by the term.” But who judges what shocks “the communities concerned”?

Isabelle Massé, Normand Brathwaite and Dany Laferrière are not part of these “concerned communities”? ” alt=”Censor Brathwaite? ” />

For The Spicy Aperitif, the podcast that I co-host with Richard Martineau, we received Normand Brathwaite at home on May 18. In this episode that you will be able to hear from Thursday of this week on QUB Radio, Normand tells us, about the title of his biography, that when we talk about the “word in “n””, the context changes everything. It all depends on what you put in front of the “n” word.

I would like to recommend that CRTC members listen to this podcast. But I have a question for them: how, as an interviewer, am I supposed to tell Normand Brathwaite about the title of his biography…without naming it?

Do you know what is written on the back cover of Normand's biography? “Actor, improviser, comedian, comedian, host and musician, Normand Brathwaite has undeniably marked our television and radio history. We are a long way from the service negro…”.

It's crazy how things can change in ten years…

Listen to Alexandre Moranville's interview with Sophie Durocher on QUB radio: 


In closing, a word about the “artist” who is behind the complaint against Radio-Canada that led to the decision from the CRTC. 

He is a musician I have already mentioned in my column, because he had dared to seriously ask the question “Does Quebec only like white artists?”. He was also one of the leaders of the resistance against the play SLĀV.

In short, a subscriber to Permanent Victims who sees racism everywhere.

But this time, this activist has led a battle that threatens the freedom of expression of all Quebecers, regardless of their skin color. 

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