Toronto Star claims that “blackface is as Canadian as hockey”
In a bizarre new article in the Toronto Star, Dr. Cheryl Thompson makes the outrageous claim that “blackface is as Canadian as hockey.”
Thompson goes on to describe that “From the 1880s through to the 1960s, blackface was performed regularly in public spaces, such as department stores, high school graduations, churches, women’s auxiliary groups, and even at summer camps.”
That’s all true. But this is 2019. And Trudeau’s transgressions took place in the 90s and 2000s. Blackface was universally regarded as racist by that time.
What’s going on here is obvious. The Toronto Star is carrying water for Trudeau. And they are doing so in such a blatant, shameless way that it’s enough to make one blush.
One can have the opinion that Trudeau must be forgiven. One can have the opinion that Trudeau must not be cancelled.
But this is not an opinion; this is an abhorrent insult. Suggesting that it’s inherently Canadian to wear blackface is an insult to all Canadians.
Worse, it effectively disregards all peoples of colour and minorities who have had to face the wrath of simply being different.
It trivializes racial issues with an absolutely reprehensible and immoral justification.
While it may be true that there is a history of racist makeup in Canada, it certainly is not a national pastime.
The Toronto Star may want to defend the Prime Minister. But doing so at the cost of the entire country just makes their case, and that of Justin Trudeau, even worse.
A former government employee told HuffPost Canada she was punished for giving comment to the news outlet on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of blackface when it became an international story during the 2019 federal election.
39-year-old Manjot Bains told HuffPo she was reprimanded and commanded to not speak about racism publicly after she spoke to a HuffPo reporter in a September story where she wasn’t identified as a federal employee. Bains faced a lot of backlash at work where she was a senior program adviser, which led to her quitting her job at the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives program that’s part of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
“The prime minister is the one who performed blackface, not me. But somehow I faced repercussions for his actions,” Bains said to HuffPost.
Bains was hired last May and was cleared by her new employer to still continue contributing to her media website, Jugni Style, that covers South Asian culture, so she thought it wouldn’t be a problem to comment on Trudeau’s history of blackface.
Bains told HuffPo she passed along the story to her manager when it was published and was swiftly told she shouldn’t have spoken to the media and had lost her manager’s trust.
Bains then had a meeting with her superiors and was told that public servants aren’t allowed to speak critically of Trudeau publicly, and would have to do “loyalty training” and redo ethics training.
Bains cited her union actually promotes political activity and her contract stated, “the right to engage in political activities while maintaining the principles of political impartiality in the public service.”
Public servants are expected to show a “duty of loyalty” to the Canadian government.
In a much more clear cut case of political activism, a federal public servant was put on leave from his job after releasing an anti-Harper folk song during the 2015 election.
Bains also wrote her own personal account of the ordeal she faced after speaking about her thoughts on Trudeau’s blackface incidents publicly, published by HuffPo as well on Thursday.
The election is over, Justin Trudeau won the most number of seats, and Canada now has a Prime Minister who cannot remember the number of times he wore blackface throughout his life.
As Liberals nationwide celebrate their ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, pundits have been left to wonder just what Trudeau’s victory in 2019 could mean for citizens, politics and the nation as a whole.
While the long-term implications are hard to predict, one consequence certainly is not.
In a matter of four short years, the Liberals under Trudeau have gone from the promised heroes of progressive values to the gritty practitioners of Realpolitik, with no other goal in mind than winning.
No longer are they concerned with broken promises, such as electoral reform, skyrocketing deficits or lacklustre help for injured veterans on a pension. Nor are they bothered by the federal government’s continued attempts to hold money designated for Indigenous child welfare, or heck, their willingness to campaign off the climate change issue, while putting forward plans that all but fail to meet Paris requirements when it comes to carbon cuts.
This doesn’t even include the gigantic mess that is the SNC-Lavalin affair, and Trudeau’s habit of violating ethics laws and throwing powerful women in his own government under the bus on a regular basis.
Heck, after this, it seems MPs and voters are still somehow all too happy to support a PM who considered blackface only racist after being elected as a member of parliament in 2008. Photos and videos have shown that Trudeau wore blackface more than three times before 2008, with the most recent known instance occurring in 2001.
With seven years of space between the time the Prime Minister was last known to wear blackface and the time he learned blackface was wrong, it is possible that the number of times it was worn stands to be far higher than three.
For the many Liberal MPs who are having difficulty keeping up with the scope of this, It’s wrong to wear blackface in 2019, just at it was wrong in the year 2001. Typically the cancel culture mob, which so intensely has concentrated into the progressive wings of politics, would have ensured a politician with such a history would have all but failed to ascend and then dominate the heights of politics.
There’s a catch though. To successfully cancel a person, normally their own fans must turn on them. And here’s where Canadian progressives are similar to Republicans in the US. Forced to campaign with a flawed idol and the protector of their views on the international stage, the willingness to cancel these individuals evaporates, principles be damned.
Instead, the boogyman of the other side has been used to ensure dedicated voters continue to push forward, regardless of moral deficiencies.
For Justin Trudeau, and perhaps the Liberal party, that level of voter control is a life-saving relationship worth its weight in gold. For the nation, it potentially sets us up the country to be defined by the actions and moral makeup of Trudeau and his government.
Said simply, there is no getting around the fact that Canada today has a leader who takes Indigenous children and veterans to court, breaks ethics laws, can’t keep simple promises, and can’t even keep count of the number of times he performed an act he himself now considers racist.
Liberal members and parliamentarians voted for that, and unless action is taken from within the party, the country alongside the Liberal movement as a whole, will come to be maligned and defined by it.
A teacher who wore a blackface costume to Halloween has been suspended from the school he teaches at in California. The teacher, who was attempting to impersonate the rapper Common, was soon captured on video by his students.
In the video, the teacher raps about artificial intelligence, saying: “Opportunities limitless, possibilities senseless, what will you do? Millions of people, not enough to eat, what will we do? With AI, Microsoft technology, the future is up to you.”
The teacher, who worked for Milpitas High School, was condemned by his principal and the greater school community. The principal, in particular, labeled the teacher’s actions as “dispersing.” The teacher is now under investigation by the district’s school board.
In a statement, the school board’s president also called the teacher’s action “inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive.”
The president, who is an Africa-American man, went on to say that “the history of Blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred and fear my parents and people of African Ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today around the world.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a man who is not known to shy away from a good costume party, will not wear a costume for this year’s trick-or-treat photo op.
Trudeau will be “trick or treating with kids, but not going to Rideau Hall or doing a photo op,” a spokesperson told the Canadian Press.
Trudeau’s office did not provide a reason for the decision, though some are pointing to obvious reasons that remain in the public consciousness, specifically the blackface scandal.
The 2019 Canadian federal election made international headlines in September due to Trudeau’s admitted wearing of racist blackface makeup on multiple occasions, as well as lying about the number of times he wore the makeup.
“I should have known better but I didn’t, and I’m really sorry,” said Trudeau to reporters hours after the photo had surfaced. “The fact of the matter is that I’ve always … been more enthusiastic about costumes than is somehow — is sometimes appropriate.”
Trudeau and his costumes made headlines again in 2018 during his trip to India in 2018. The leader was subject to fierce backlash for him and his family’s traditional Indian attire, a full wardrobe made up of multiple different outfits that had many wondering if his enthusiasm may have crossed into mockery.
Indian politician Omar Abdullah even shared several photos of the Trudeaus on Twitter during the trip, stating: “FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood.” He added that the “choreographed cuteness” was “a bit much.”
In other years of his leadership, Trudeau has dressed up along with his family to go trick-or-treating. Trudeau has dressed up as Clark Kent, Han Solo, Sherlock Holmes, and the pilot from The Little Prince in years prior.
If Trudeau did want to dress up for the occasion, though, TPM has compiled a nice list of six totally appropriate costumes for Trudeau to wear this Halloween. Just saying!