Pierre Vallières - White niggers of America
The precocious autobiography of a Quebec "terrorist"
White Niggers of America (French: Les Nègres blancs d'Amérique) is a work of non-fiction literature written by Pierre Vallières, a leader of the Front de libération du Québec.
White Niggers of America chronicles the history of the French colonists of North America, first in the New France colonial empire, and then in British North America. A book about exploitation, author Vallières compares to some extent the plight of these immigrants to that of blacks in the American South, arguing that both groups were forcibly imported to the New World and subsequently exploited by aristocrat capitalists.
Vallières wrote the book while serving a four-year prison sentence for manslaughter in the Manhattan House of Detention for Men in New York City. He was later acquitted in a second trial in 1970.
The book is a class analysis of French Canadian settlement and social, political, and economic life in Canada since arrival. Vallières argues that French Canadians have been kept in a position of exploited workers by the English upper class entrepreneurs. He draws parallels between the social and economic position of French Canadians and slaves in the United States, hoping to show that both cultural groups have been brought to the continent to serve as the lower, under, and working class for a common oppressor.
Vallières's intention of using the term “nigger” is not solely as a cultural or racial indicator, but as a concept encompassing social class and power. In drawing these comparisons, he states that the liberation movements of Black people in America have provided inspiration for French Canadians.
The book also serves as Vallières's “call to arms” for the author's viewpoint of what are exploited masses of French Canadians. He describes the development of a class consciousness among French Canadians through which they become cognizant of their position as oppressed, and Vallières advocates for an armed uprising. Vallières traces the development of his own intellectual and class consciousness, citing the policies and actions of Maurice Duplessis as contributing to his own social unrest. He discusses the Asbestos and Murdochville mine strikes as particular instances contributing to his own sense of awareness of the injustice in Quebec.
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