Racial integration in Canada

Merci !

Annales corrigées
Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : Espaces et échanges
Type : Écrit LV2 | Année : 2015 | Académie : Antilles, Guyane



Antilles, Guyane • Septembre 2015

Séries générales • LV2

Racial integration in Canada

Text 1 Racial prejudice on the housing market

The scene takes places in Canada after World War II. Segregation was never institutionalized there. Langston is a black student.

[Langston] was in his last year of medical school, and [Dorothy] had finished her studies and taken a job with the Toronto Labour Committee for Human Rights, and it fell upon her to head out on her lunch hour to find a place for them to live. They both wanted to rent part of a house.

After rejecting a few flats that had cockroaches1 or that demanded princely rents, Dorothy found the perfect flat on the second floor of a house on Palmerston Boulevard. Langston could walk to the university in twenty minutes. […] Dorothy offered to pay for the first month then and there, and to take the key and come back the next day with her husband and their possessions.

“I don’t usually like to rent until I have met both tenants,” ­Watson said.

“My husband, as you can appreciate, doesn’t have much time on his hands these days. He’s preparing for–”

“Yes, of course, of course. I’ll tell you what. I’ll hold the apartment for you. Come back tomorrow, and we’ll sign the contract and exchange the keys for the first month’s rent. You have my word. I’ll hold it for you.”

“All right, then. Tomorrow at seven in the evening?”


They shook hands.

The next day, Dorothy parked her 1946 Plymouth2 on Palmerston Boulevard. As she walked with Langston up the steps to the house, Dorothy noticed the red and white For Rent sign still on the door.

“How come it’s still there?” she said.

“Not a good sign.” Langston said. He rang the bell. Watson opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. […]

“Well, we’re here.” Dorothy said. “We’d like to sign the contract, pay you, and bring our things in from the car.”

Langston watched the man open his mouth, close it, stop, pause. People looked at Dorothy and him in the streets – in fact people looked at them every day – but this was the first time that they had decided to rent a place together. Langston instantly knew that they would not get the flat. […]

“I’m so sorry,” Watson said, looking only at Dorothy, “and I hope you haven’t been overly inconvenienced, but I have made other arrangements.”

Lawrence Hill, Any Known Wood, 1997.

1. Cockroaches: cafards.

2. Plymouth: middle-class car.

Text 2 Cultural identity versus nationality

My generation’s parents came to Canada in the late ’60s and early ’70s to avail themselves of expanded educational and professional opportunities – not because they were searching for a sense of belonging or wanted to reinvent themselves, as is often associated with immigrant folklore. They were descendants of fifth and sixth-generation Guyanese, Jamaicans, Kittitians, etc. Whether they began in Canada as university students or domestics, their identity as people from the Caribbean remained completely intact. The influence was so strong that my generation exclusively referenced our parents’ birthplace as our own.

[…] After all, what, really, was being Canadian? Yes, you were born here and lived here all your life, but everything – absolutely everything, from your table etiquette to your family pride – was figuratively imported. There was no anchor1 here, nothing to claim, at least not the way our parents claimed “back home,” […] We Canadian-born blacks were not established; therefore, we had no reason to feel pride – or so it appeared.

I remember that shortly after I arrived […] in Los Angeles, I met a black American bus driver. He told me that he really liked Canadians because he had met two who treated him as though he were white. Wh-aaa-t? Was he serious? White?

Wait. That’s desirable? Why? Black Americans have their own schools and self-sufficient communities... and... “Hmm,” I thought. Maybe the sanitized TV images of a multiracial American haven2 that we watched growing up were not entirely reflective of Americana, white or black. Perhaps my generation’s parents knew what they were doing when they insisted on raising us as West Indians first, rather than Canadians.

Alyson Renaldo, ‘Black Canadian Like Me’, The Root, April 25, 2011.

1. Anchor: (here) a link with the place.

2. Haven: a place offering favourable opportunities or conditions.

Compréhension 10 points

Text 1

1 Copy out the following sentences. Complete each blank with one word from the text. Underline your answers.

.......................... and Dorothy want to ....................... a .................... together in ............................’s house.

2 Explain in your own words why the place that Dorothy has found seems to be the ideal place. Give three reasons.

3 Which adjective from the following list best describes Watson’s attitude when Dorothy offers to “pay for the first month” (l. 9-10)? Justify with a quotation.

aggressive – curious – generous – distrustful – enthusiastic

4 Say whether the following statements are true or false. Justify your choice with a quotation.

1. Dorothy is alone when she first meets Watson.

2. Watson and Dorothy initially manage to reach an agreement.

5 “not a good sign” (l. 28). Explain Langston’s reaction.

6 1. Which adjective from the following list best describes Watson’s reaction when he opens the door? Justify with a quotation.

friendly – scared – surprised – intimidated – enthusiastic

2. How can you account for his reaction? Answer in a few words.

3. Say if the couple can finally move into the flat. Justify your answer with a quotation from the text.

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L.

7 Explain in a few words why “people looked at them every day” (l. 33-34).

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L au titre de la LVA.

8 Explain in your own words why Watson is “… looking only at Dorothy” (l. 37).

Text 2

9 Who is the narrator (origin, nationality, place of birth)?

10 In your own words, give two reasons why the narrator’s parents came to Canada.

11 Say whether the following statements are true or false. Justify each choice with one quotation.

1. Education makes it easier for Caribbean immigrants to feel Canadian.

2. Second generation immigrants feel as strongly Caribbean as their parents.

3. Second generation immigrants are proud of their Canadian roots.

12 “He told me that he really liked Canadians because he had met two who treated him as though he were white” (l. 19-21). Explain in your own words why the black American bus driver appreciates Canadian people.

13 Copy out the correct answer. Justify your answer with one element from the text.

Second generation immigrants in Canada:

1. feel more Canadian than Caribbean.

2. feel they don’t really belong anywhere.

3. want to emigrate to the United States of America.

4. want to return to the Caribbean Islands.

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L au titre de la LVA.

14 “Perhaps my generation’s parents knew what they were doing when they insisted on raising us as West Indians first, rather than Canadians.” (l. 26-28) Explain the parents’ intentions in your own words.

Both texts

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L.

15 Compare and contrast the attitudes of the white Canadians ­described in document A with the attitude of the two white Canadians mentioned by the bus driver in document B.

expression 10 points

Les candidat(e)s de la série L qui ne composent pas au titre de la LVA traiteront uniquement le premier sujet.

Les candidat(e)s des séries ES et S traiteront l’un des deux sujets au choix.

Les candidat(e)s de la série L composant au titre de la LVA traiteront obligatoirement les deux sujets. (150 mots, +/- 10%)

1 Write Langston’s and Dorothy’s conversation with Watson after he tells them “I have made other arrangements” (document A). (250 words, +/- 10 %)

2 Langston writes an article to the Toronto Labour Committee for Human Rights to inform them about what happened to him and ­Dorothy, and to make suggestions to change things. (150 words, +/- 10 %)

Les clés du sujet

Texte 1


Lawrence Hill (1957-) est canadien, né d’un couple mixte américain émigré au Canada. Son œuvre est très influencée par l’activisme de ses parents concernant les droits civiques et l’histoire des Noirs en Amérique. Plusieurs de ses livres ont obtenu des prix au Canada ou ont été adaptés pour la télévision.

Pour en savoir plus : lawrencehill.com

Résumé du texte

Langston, jeune étudiant canadien noir, et son épouse blanche Dorothy cherchent un appartement à louer à Toronto. Dorothy a trouvé une location qui convient et le propriétaire lui promet de la lui garder le temps qu’elle revienne avec son mari le lendemain. À leur arrivée, le propriétaire, surpris de découvrir qu’il a affaire à un couple mixte, déclare avoir pris d’autres engagements pour cet appartement et qu’il ne peut leur louer.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

It fell upon her to (l. 3) : il lui incomba de ; to head out (l. 3) : partir ; princely rents (l. 7) : loyers exorbitants ; tenant (l. 12) : locataire ; have time on your hands (l. 14-15) : avoir du temps libre ; how come? (l. 27) : comment se fait-il que ? ; overly (l. 38) : trop.

Texte 2


Alyson Renaldo est une actrice et productrice canadienne. Elle témoigne ici dans The Root, un magazine en ligne consacré à la culture afro-américaine.

Pour en savoir plus : www.theroot.com

Résumé du texte

Alyson Renaldo argumente sur le fait que les Canadiens d’origine caribéenne de sa génération, nés et élevés au Canada, ne se sentent pas canadiens et se définissent essentiellement d’après la culture caribéenne que leur ont transmise leurs parents et grands-parents.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

To avail oneself of (l. 2) : profiter de ; a sense of belonging (l. 3-4) : un sentiment d’appartenance) ; to claim (l. 14) : revendiquer ; pride (l. 17) : orgueil ; sanitized (l. 24) : édulcoré.

Les points de convergence

Les deux textes traitent de la non-intégration des noirs dans la société blanche canadienne, que ce soit par rejet, quand on refuse la location d’un appartement à un couple mixte, ou par refus de s’y identifier, dans le cas des jeunes d’origine caribéenne.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Pistes de recherche

Le dialogue pourra être assez tendu. Dorothy peut rappeler au propriétaire la promesse non tenue. Langston peut lui montrer qu’il a compris la vraie raison de son refus. Watson tente de se justifier. Dorothy, qui travaille dans un comité pour les droits de l’homme, clôt la conversation en indiquant que le comité en sera informé.

Vocabulaire utile

To come to / to break an agreement (conclure / rompre un accord) ; to check (vérifier) ; neighborhood (quartier) ; to be prejudiced against sb (avoir des préjugés contre quelqu’un).

Le sujet d’expression 2

Pistes de recherche

Langston écrit au comité où son épouse travaille, ce qui donne plus de poids à son intervention. Il peut raconter brièvement les événements. Vous pouvez imaginer que sa famille vit au Canada depuis des générations (c’est d’ailleurs le cas dans le livre) et qu’il y est donc parfaitement intégré. Ce qui rend d’autant plus grande sa révolte et son désir d’informer le comité de l’attitude raciste du propriétaire et de proposer quelques solutions : mieux faire respecter les lois anti-discrimination, donner à l’école un rôle plus important dans la lutte contre les préjugés raciaux, etc.

Vocabulaire utile

Landlord (propriétaire) ; to treat (traiter) ; to pretend (faire semblant) ; to be willing to (être prêt, disposé à) ; prejudices (préjugés) ; to enforce a law (faire respecter une loi).