Not for the first time (by any means), a liberal politician is in trouble for painting their face a different color in an attempt to look like a member of some other race. Conservative women like Megyn Kelly get fired just for taking a devil’s advocate position on the subject of blackface, but Democrats like Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam seem to be immune from any serious consequences stemming from actually participating in the fun! We’ll see if that holds true for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
This week, Trudeau’s re-election campaign was rattled when Time magazine published a photo from 2001 in which Trudeau was seen wearing brownface makeup to attend an “Arabian Nights” party at a private school where he used to teach. While some critics covered up for Northam by citing his age at the time of the photo, Trudeau was 29 when the picture was taken. This also was not back in the 1980s, when we were less politically correct about these things. Less so than now, granted, but we’re in a whole new world these days (no pun intended).
“I attended an end-of-year gala where the theme was Arabian nights. I dressed up in Aladdin costume and put makeup on. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better, but I didn’t. And I’m really sorry,” Trudeau told reporters.
Recalling other incidents where these things tend to show a pattern, reporters asked if he’d ever used blackface on any other occasions. Trudeau admitted that he had.
“When I was in high school,” he said, “I dressed up at a talent show and sang ‘Day-O’ with makeup on.”
Trudeau then took on his best racially-sensitive posture to apologize for the indiscretions.
“This is part of the reflections we all have to have on how we judge the mistakes we’ve made in the past, how we take responsibility for them and how we keep moving forward as a society, recognizing we do need to do more to fight anti-black racism, systemic discrimination, unconscious bias, all the things that are present that I’m certainly not immune from. I think there is a significant reflection that I’ve had over the past while on this. And if it leads other people to have reflections, that’s a good thing, but this is very much about me taking responsibility for an action I shouldn’t have taken,” he said.
“I didn’t consider it a racist action at the time, but now we know better. This is something unacceptable and it is racist,” Trudeau concluded.