Justin Trudeau's Blackface: Are Some People Judged By a Different Set of Rules

Recently, The Guardian published an article entitled, ‘Justin Trudeau's brownface scandal is bad. But voting him out isn't the solution.’ With articles like this, it would appear that certain people are not expressing significant outrage at Justin Trudeau’s racism. Some give excuses with the fact that he was a very young man when that high school photograph was taken, they say it was a different time, so how could he possibly have been aware of the implications of it?

And as for the other photograph whereTrudeau was shown to be wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened, his supporters say that at the time it was taken, Mr. Trudeau was just a 29-year-old teacher at the academy.

By any established standard, Mr. Trudeau’s career should have been done the day those pictures were first published.The photos would ordinarily have been unsurvivable for any other politician. Yet somehow, Mr. Trudeau seems to have just waltzed through the scandal. Most Canadian public pollsters say the entire episode seems to have scarcely affected his standing and any hits at all taken by the Liberal Party for this occurrence, appear to be within the margin of error.

The Guardian also recently published a personal opinion article on the issue entitled: ‘Justin Trudeau – not so much racist as slight and ineffectual.’The writer of the article, Leah McLaren says about Trudeau’s apology, “It’s not that we don’t believe he’s sincere – it’s that his sincerity has been revealed as a form of stupidity, a blindspot of privilege that undermines his project as a whole.”

A lot of people seem to believe Trudeau’s claim, that it was years after he became an MP for the Montreal constituency that he realized that blacking up was wrong.

A satirical piece on Spectator puts it better, “Now don’t get me wrong,” writes Jarvis Dupont, “if we uncovered a photograph of Donald Trump so much as eating a taco, we should hang him out to dry for cultural appropriation because that level of disrespect coming from a despot like Trump is not OK. But Justin Trudeau wearing the garments of other cultures is another matter entirely. When he does it, it is out of respect.”

Scott Reid, writing for the Globe and Mail suggests a couple of reason why Trudeau’ blackface scandal, did not exactly turn out to be the cataclysmic event that so many pundits and reporters predicted?

He suggests that people like the Prime Minister have always been judged by a different set of rules, “Mr. Trudeau brings to this incredibly difficult discussion of race, racism, diversity, intersectionality and white-privilege insensitivity, a multiyear track record of investment. Personally, politically and institutionally he has paid into these causes and he has used his power as prime minister to take action. In turn, that grants him a layer of insulation that clearly helps to blunt the force of this self-imposed strike. It doesn’t render him invulnerable but it certainly has a staunching effect.”


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