BPC Bulletin: High-School History Workbook in Montreal Challenged

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

 

In October 2020, two English-language school boards in Montreal decided to temporarily withdraw a high-school history workbook that includes a racial epithet. They also decided to put opaque stickers over the epithet.

Journeys Through the History of Québec and Canada refers to Pierre Vallières’s White Niggers of America. Vallières’s book, which was originally published in French (Nègres blancs d'Amérique) in 1968 , compares the liberation struggles of French Canadians and African Americans. Vallières was considered an intellectual leader of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ).

Jean-François Roberge, Quebec’s minister of education, subsequently spoke against the censorship of textbooks. He also introduced a motion on November 3, 2020, in the National Assembly to stress the importance of free expression in schools and reaffirm the assembly’s trust in the expertise and judgment of educators.

REPORTAGE

CBC News reports:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/national-assembly-motion-academic-freedom-n-word-1.5788335

In Le Devoir, Marco Fortier reports:

https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/588816/un-manuel-d-histoire-banni-a-cause-du-mot-en-n

In Montreal, CTV News reports:

https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/english-school-boards-in-montreal-pull-high-school-workbook-containing-racial-slur-1.5166454?cache=ohatwurlcrurule%3FclipId%3D104062

In the Montreal Gazette, Brendan Kelly reports:
https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/n-word-controversy-emsb-lester-b-pearson-school-boards-pull-history-workbook

In the Huffington Post, Emilie Clavel reports:
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/n-word-textbook-quebec_ca_5f9ae6c0c5b61d63242022a5

CBC News reports:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/teachers-want-action-against-n-word-textbook-1.5781094

Verity Stevenson of CBC News reports:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/n-word-montreal-high-school-history-textbook-1.5778980

COMMENTARY

In the Montreal Gazette, Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed comments:

https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/fariha-naqvi-mohamed-n-word-has-no-place-in-a-high-school-text

In the National Post, Lloyd Wilks comments:
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/lloyd-wilks-it-is-never-ok-to-say-the-n-word-even-in-academia

Thanks go to Charles Montpetit who forwarded some of the news stories.

 

The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.

Share: