Ms. Atma Adoungotchodo: “Racism: why so much energy wasted on semantics?” [Le racisme : pourquoi autant d’énergie gaspillée dans la sémantique ?]

Ms. Atma Adoungotchodo, PhD candidate in engineering [École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS), Longeuil, Québec]. A picture taken from the Journal de Montréal

Thank you Ms. Adoungotchodo for sharing your refined thoughts on racism (published in the Journal de Montréal):–pourquoi-autant-denergie-gaspillee-dans-la-semantique

Your letter to the Editor is surely cleverer than many of our Canadian media (or propaganda ??) articles we read nowadays”. Best wishes in your PhD training!

Before translating it below, in Bambi’s mind, a vague concept like “systemic racism” is likely meant to control our societies. Period. As you elegantly wrote it, it is a way of not doing anything to solve the problem of racism.


“Since my arrival in Montreal in 2009, I have become more and more involved in the issue of racism against blacks. Not because I have experienced racism, but with the events of obvious racism happening nearby in the United States, it’s hard not to feel concerned.

However, the only thing that amazes me is how Canadian society, and Québec in particular, has appropriated these American problems and that now, we are talking about racism everywhere in Québec, to the point where we want to establish the name of systemic racism.

Systemic racism here?

To my understanding, to speak of systemic racism is to say that society is organized in such a way as to discriminate against people of certain races.

With the cultural diversity that there is in Québec, it is certain that there are people who are racist. With all the cultures that I have encountered since arriving here, surely I have experienced racism without even knowing it. Surely also that I made racist remarks towards other communities without wanting it.

Ignorance, or our perception, can sometimes lead us to say or think things that may offend others.

For me, the best way not to fix a problem is to blame a certain system. Who established the system? Who maintains or runs it? In my opinion, we get lost in semantic mazes that only lead us away from the real problems.

We need to help people become more responsible

When someone behaves badly towards me, I judge him/her individually. Just because a white cashier looked askance at me doesn’t mean I’m going to jump to the ceiling and accuse all white Québeckers of being racist.

Just because a black person received poor service in a hospital does not mean that all hospitals have a system that discriminates against blacks. I believe in helping people in becoming more responsible individually.

Yes, there are racist people! When you meet them, it is your responsibility to denounce them with all your energy so that they can be punished by the law and serve as a lesson to all the other racists in the making.

As much as it is absurd to say that blacks are lazy because a white man has crossed paths with a lazy one, it is as much unacceptable to accuse all Québeckers of racism because one or some Québeckers have behaved reprehensibly towards you.

We are all humans, and idiots are everywhere. Maybe the person you think is racist doesn’t give a damn about the colour of your skin. Maybe this guy is just stupid … or you’re the one exaggerating.

Speaking of exaggerations, I believe that in this category, the gold medal goes to the person who denounced her teacher for having used the word “negro” in her class. I believe that politicians should become more involved in these censorship regulations and stop waiting for extreme situations like the one experienced by the professor in France to take actions that clearly show the limits of individual freedoms”.

Atma Adoungotchodo
PhD candidate in engineering at ÉTS

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