Vive la xénophobie: Cannibal myth-making…again

Making news in Canada today is a Quebecois entertainment website that features a well worn stereotypical rendition of a cannibal scene, this one set in Africa, replete with two “whites” boiling in a pot, victims of a rather dopish looking, slack jawed, generic African “savage” figure. The story appeared on the CBC news website, in an piece titled “Quebec video site criticized over ‘cannibal’ skit.” According to the report:

“The creators of Quebec-based humorous video website Têtes à claques are being criticized over a comedy skit some organizations are calling racist.

“The video The Cannibal, featuring bobblehead puppets and computer animation, shows two white people in a pot of boiling water while a black “cannibal” prepares to eat them.

Québec pluriel, a group that promotes diversity, says the clip is derogatory toward black people.

“The group has called on the creators of the site to take it down and said it will take the issue to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.”

Many news reports, in some cases appearing on a daily basis, have featured incidents of Quebecois xenophobia and discrimination against ethnic minorities, immigrants, and Muslims. This seems to reinforce notions that Quebecois are very insular, and that their own quest for recognition of their status as a distinct society, if not one entitled to complete independence, might be one way of evading the multicultural “contamination” that is to be found in the rest of Canada. That is one possible take. Another comes from a colleague at Concordia University, which is much more symapethic in its analysis of the root causes for expressions of Quebecois xenophobia.

Links:
CBC story:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/05/01/skit-quebec.html

Têtes à claques website:
http://www.tetesaclaques.tv/

Video of “Le cannibale”:
http://www.tetesaclaques.tv/video.php?vid=52

59% of Quebecers say they’re racist: poll
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/01/15/mtl-racism.html?ref=rss