TORONTO, January 7, 2009 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) continues to be disappointed by what appears to be a disturbing frequency of racist programs on Canada's public network in Québec which attempt to pass as humour. In its New Year's Eve program, Bye Bye, the show chose to play on some of the worst racial stereotypes, particularly against African Canadians.
"It is very unfortunate that some comedians choose to use racial stereotypes to get a laugh, but one always hopes that the entertainment industry would approach these topics with greater sensitivity," commented Dr. Ayman Al-Yassini, Senior Executive Vice President of the CRRF. "We are caught on the horns of a dilemma in that while we realize that these are supposed to be humorous, by not commenting on their poor taste and the perpetuation of racism sends a message that racial stereotyping is entertaining. If we accept this kind of comedy, do we then allow it in school playgrounds?
"The issue of race has been publicly discussed, particularly in the context of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission in Québec over the past year. The Commission pointed to the need for the media to take greater responsibility in how they approach the issue of race. That alone should have been an incentive to tread carefully. Perhaps it's time for the network to consider reviewing scripts with an eye for striking a balance between what is meant to be entertaining and outright racism."