Culture

Four black teens pushing a Canadian float spark claims of racism

Four black teens pushing a Canadian float spark claims of racism”

If you haven't- you'll probably hear about it.

Footage posted on social media prompted some people to link the images to slavery and to speak of a lack of diversity in the parade.

The float featured Quebec vocalist Annie Villeneuve singing "Gen du pays" on a platform that was being pushed by four black men. Montreal's Fête nationale organizing committee posted their own version of the float on their Facebook page, which was deluged with outraged comments, with one by Rachelle Houde Simard criticizing the choice to put four Black men in "slave outfits" and calling the float "disgusting".

The video has been shared over 6,000 times, and has a running thread of almost 500 comments-many of them livid.

The video is just a "coincidence"- a fragmented perspective of the overall event, said Maxime Laporte, president of the committee for the Fete Nationale.

"We have people of all origins, Asian, African, from everywhere in the world who are Quebecers and participated in the parade", Laporte said.

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Laporte says that the committee did not select volunteers based on their ethnicity. Surrounding the float are droves of choir members, all dressed head-to-toe in white.

The volunteers' high school coach Steve Lubin says the students wanted to help out the parade.

In a statement, they claimed participants were needed to manually push the floats, as the event's eco-friendliness does not permit motorized floats.

The float was meant to represent life in Montreal around the time of the city's founding in 1642.

The parade organizers defended the floats, however, saying the people pushing them were from the Association for School Retention and the Louis-Joseph-Papineau High School Sports Team, and "not chosen according the color of their skin".

"We are fundamentally anti-racist- it's the opposite that we're trying to represent in our activities. If we didn't want to be there, we wouldn't have been there".



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