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The brown lady with white teeth

I heard that we are offend­ed by some of the Que­bec sol­idaire posters, that they are tinged with racism and polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect ideas. Yet when they appeared in the set­ting of the 2018 cam­paign that was begin­ning, I smiled with my white yel­low teeth. I laughed at this brown woman with curly black hair and immac­u­late teeth, this white­ness of the future in fact. I also laughed in front of Manon Massé’s poster, her name writ­ten as a mus­tache with the rather easy slo­gan of “the new face of politics”.

The cam­paign is, to use an out­dat­ed word, refresh­ing. Beau­ti­ful col­ors express­ing the real­i­ty of young peo­ple, some­times with bold­ness like Toulouse-Lautrec or aggres­sive­ness of a Bol­she­vik. Since Québec Sol­idaire has every­thing to gain by going off the beat­en track, they have the courage of the artist with­out means, free and happy.

I went right away to see these posters in their imma­te­r­i­al set­ting. Then I saw them appear on the city’s posts. It remind­ed me of the shock I expe­ri­enced when my first book, Le Putain, was on the shelves of book­stores, lost in an ocean of big books. And it also reminds me of that feel­ing when, on Sun­day morn­ing, I open my mail­box to find out if I won the lottery.

There is then a fall, an awak­en­ing, a loss or a retreat.

The Québec sol­idaire posters no longer had the expect­ed impact, mixed with traf­fic signs, urban nois­es, placed between the very for­mat­ted smile of their oth­er posters (Manon and Gabriel, togeth­er, plas­ti­cized by Pho­to­shop, it is no bet­ter than the curves of Roi-Soleil Couillard).

How­ev­er, I must admit that the poster of the brown lady with white teeth on a Gaspésie pole must have its effect… even if this kind of smile has already begun to pop­u­late Catholic meet­ings, since today’s cel­e­brants are often “mis­sion­ar­ies” who came from Africa to recon­vert the white Indi­ans riv­et­ed on their Netflix.

One thing remains, Québec sol­idaire got my vote a lit­tle bit thanks to these hon­est posters, lov­ing well-invent­ed col­ors and slo­gans. Is it a more real­is­tic polit­i­cal par­ty than the oth­ers ? I have my doubts. How­ev­er, I pre­fer this approach to the annoy­ing crony­ism of oth­er purring promises.

I tell myself that I should do the same with my own life and ini­ti­ate a project in sol­i­dar­i­ty with myself. For exam­ple, dress­ing com­fort­ably for work, with Indi­an clothes (those next to Pak­istan) rather than gut­ting me with Simons shirts.

Emp­ty­ing one­self of dreams seems so easy, it seems, stunned that we are by the three poi­sons of igno­rance, hatred, and greed. To con­demn a poster which, more­over, is a self-por­trait of the artist, is to refuse this marked iden­ti­ty. The dif­fer­ence is only because we haven’t been on each oth­er’s ter­ri­to­ry. Hate is one because one has not exam­ined one’s own injus­tices, and greed is a vast hur­ri­cane that only caus­es flood­ing and bleeding.

I met a client on Fri­day after­noon. He obvi­ous­ly had the means to afford impec­ca­ble teeth. Her teeth fas­ci­nat­ed me because she was sur­round­ed by her dark skin, her mulat­to North African eyes (I invent or fan­ta­size). Any­way, I had pain in my male ovaries.

He was also young, hap­py to have in front of him the most beau­ti­ful of futures. I wish him that. I wish us bet­ter politi­cians, less tech­no­crat­ic peo­ple, just like we are, a peo­ple made up of amal­gam. Real­i­ty can be as col­or­ful as posters from Québec sol­idaire as long as our hon­esty is nour­ished by the courage and we agree to roll up our sleeves. This is how dic­ta­tors and opi­um deal­ers are dethroned. We can nev­er say it enough.

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