I had a strange evening tonight: I would have had access to free food and great people involved in environmental stuff, but I decided out of the spot that I wouldn't go, despite my hunger and liking those people, because the reception was not opened to everyone. This was the first move I made according to my non-environmental principles I can recall.
Instead, I went to have fun with the newly founded Club of World Domination http://mcgill.facebook.com
So tonight, a sort of Larouchian mail was circulated in the meeting where Jews where described as hiding under the cover of environmentalism. When someone made a joke about environmentalists (which I am), I replied with a Jew joke, and people's faces fell.
Later in the evening, women jokes came up, to which I wondered loudly how come people where so shocked when hearing Jew jokes and not as much on women jokes? To which a member wisely declared women and Jew jokes outlawed.
Since I'm not a native English-speaker, it took me some time while learning to speak (some two years ago in Rez, because 9 years of schooling during elementary, high school and Cégep are worth nothing compared to immersion) to be able to make anglos laugh.
I'm also curious about the phenomenon of the acceptance of self-deprecating jokes by minorities, but the rejection of those same jokes uttered by someone not from the community. I take as an example a famous pair of politicoes on campus that make antisemite and racist jokes in between themselves, while shocking people not in the know to a certain extent.
So I wondered about the weight in history of several minorities that suffered genocide, as well as the McGill context in general. Would an Armenian, a Rwanda or a Darfur joke have the same shock effect on people? And what about jokes about minorities that where oppressed (or simply unequally treated) but not mass-murdered, like women (if you don't count China's female infanticides)? I don't know how big the jewish minority at McGill is, but I'd be interested to know, because I'm guessing their number might influence the reaction people have to discrimination towards them.
I also had a thought for my father, who attributes the richness and powerfulness of America to a jewish plot. And I thought of a jewish ex-boyfriend I had in secondaire V (grade 11) and cégep 1.
I could bring the antisemitism that used to reign in Quebec before (50's?), Quebec as a nation, reasonable accomodation and Pauline Marois' two-tiered citizenship. But I won't.
In brief, I'm really glad to live now rather than then. Bringing old-style imperialism back to life as a joke is delicate, especially for a Quebecker, that as a French-Canadian, was historically conquered by the British (and still somewhat feels diminished by it). And as a French-speaking student in an English-speaking institution, I'm able to experience being a minority. All I can wish for is that we Quebeckers stop identitying ourselves against others, and find our intrinsic value, as a people.
And if I'm not using the proper terminology, I'm sorry, tell me and I'll edit this note.