28 avril 2016

Les francophones d'Amérique sont-ils invisibles?

Extrait de ce fascinant article de David Vermette:

Our long history throughout North America is connected with various narratives of U.S. history: the “French-And Indian War,” the War of 1812, Westward expansion, Industrialization, Nativism, the story of the Roman Catholic Church in the USA, etc. Any one of these narratives should include either Franco-Americans or our Canadien and Acadien forbears. With the exception of the “French-And Indian War” narrative, where they figure as bitter enemies, they’re almost completely missing.

For example, one-third of the participants in the Lewis & Clark expedition were Francophones but one never hears of this. Sometimes they’re mentioned as a faceless, nameless herd: “the French voyageurs.” The fact is, Lewis & Clark couldn’t have managed without them.

The invisibility extends, in fact, to a history wider than the Franco-Americans in the Northeast USA. The cloak of invisibility falls over all of the descendants of the former Nouvelle-France. 

(...) If one totals up these descendants of Nouvelle-France on both sides of the border they number some 20 million people. It’s hard to hide a population of 20 million under one's hat but so far the writers of history, beyond specialists in certain areas or topics, have performed the disappearing act.

(...) In her book Moving Beyond Duality, psychologist Dorothy Riddle posits that making people invisible is a form of depersonalization. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that my family’s and my entire people’s experience is insignificant and beneath notice and that I should forget all about identifying as a Franco-American. The message here is, “People don’t know about you because you don’t count.” 

Addressed to any other ethnic group this notion would be insulting at the very least. It’s the invisibility, whether it’s our own doing or someone else’s or some combination of the two, that makes statements like this socially acceptable. In fact, the converse is true: we haven't counted in the eyes of the wider culture because the story has remained untold.

Je suis ben tanné. I’m tired of being called a “quiet presence.” I’m tired of blending into a pale, beige background labeled “non-Hispanic White.” It's un-Franco-American to do so, but perhaps it’s high time we raised what one of us called “a Franco ruckus.” Let the ruckus commence!

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