Justin Trudeau wore brownface at a party in 2001 when he was a private school teacher

Seems like an exhibited pattern of consistent thoughts and behavior to me, but what do I know?


We don’t get to disagree about low-hurdle issues like the unacceptability of a man in his late 20s wearing blackface in 2001. You’re welcome to disagree, but don’t expect other liberals to see you as an exemplar when it comes to principles.

It was full of weasel words falsely implying that it was a problem of the times that “we” were affected by rather than a problem of his own serial bad judgment at that age in regard to his costumes. I expect a better apology from someone in his position and from his background. That’s the larger problem for me, and why he’s earned himself and his party yet another own-goal.

There is a history of it being unacceptable over the past 50 years in all of North America, even if it wasn’t as prevalent in Canada in the U.S. (and make no mistake, historically at the height of its popularity minstrelry made its way across the border like most American culture). This is yet more lame excuse-making.

You’re going on the naive assumption here that all racism is virulent, KKK-style racism. Casual, thoughtless racism is a thing, too, and Trudeau’s costumes are a good example.

Then his apology should have reflected that personal asshattery, instead of making it about everyone else around him at the time.

I will, too. That doesn’t exempt Trudeau from making a proper apology so that the Conservatives’ attack on the basis of his history can be blunted. I want the Conservatives to lose, but the Liberals seem hellbent on making it easy for them to win.

Oh, it’s not denialism, just a bunch of privilege-blind white woke bros focused on economic justice and the class struggle and also appealing to the centrists, throwing social justice for PoC, women, and LGBTQ people under the bus as reasonable sacrifices.


Well she would make a good prime minister.

As for those of us in other ridings in theory with first past the post we get to decide about our local candidate. Our Liberal candidate seems like he is a decent person so if I decide to vote for him I will have no issues. On the other hand our former MP who is now one riding over due to redrawing boundaries- he really seems to be a slimy asshole and I would have problems voting for him without this issue of Justin and Arabian Nights.

Obligatory, as usual in these kinds of discussions:


It’s obvious heard to judge how millions of Canadians will react to this until we see some poll numbers.

However, to me it feels like the Liberal party is going to take a really big hit. The Conservative party is racist, but not overtly racist for people who aren’t following politics closely enough. The Liberal party won big around major cities that are very multicultural. Especially in the suburbs of these cities where the Conservative party is looking to make inroads. That said, from what I’ve seen online what I’ve typically seen is no people switching from Liberal party to another but people upset at the candidates and giving up on voting for this election. I wouldn’t be surprised if voter turnout takes a drop with them mainly coming from the Liberal side of things.

With all that said, it is still several weeks until the election which is a lifetime in politics, so there could be other big swings that happen between now and then.

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Some people here seem a little too interested in brushing this away, and relitigating other instances of bad behavior as being “not that bad, and you’re hurting our team.”

You want to defend sexual harassment and racism, because the guys doing it are on “our” side? No, there is no “our” there. Defending those things means that you see me, and others even less privileged than me, as acceptable sacrifices, so long as you win. Just because someone does good, doesn’t mean that they also don’t do a hell of a lot of harm. “Fuck you, I got mine” does not make you my ally.


But wait, there’s more

You also get a third instance caught on video of him in blackface (and black arms and legs…) from his youth… It’s more than a little strange. You can argue that someone might have worn blackface twenty years ago and not realized it was offensive (although perhaps they should have realized) but it’s starting to seem like this was something that Trudeau did again and again. And with gusto.



Yes. I think that maybe people are more clear about why it is offensive, there’s more of a dialogue about it, but yes.

I recall in the late 70’s being appalled by Andy Rooney playing an East Asian guy in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And I don’t recall anybody doing blackface in the 80’s, 90’s, subsequently-- it’s not like that was something that people in any of the circles I ever traveled in would have thought would be well received. Maybe it was different in elite male prep schools…


I think you mean Mickey Rooney (who was also the star of the Andy Hardy movies). But as it happens Andy Rooney, who I greatly admire as a writer and journalist, also had several prominent moments of casual racism.

One example I recall, besides the Ted Danson roast incident discussed above, was this 1986 movie which was not well received.

It’s no excuse in Trudeau’s case. This is the son of a worldly and sophisticated former Liberal PM who should have known better, even if he wasn’t planning on running for office at the time (apparently it was his wife who was the real driver behind his embracing his political “destiny” after his brother died).


Yes I do (I’m crap with names)

Oh I’m not saying that is was extirpated from the Earth (recent US political scandals have pretty much proven that there were a-holes doing it in Frats and such) but that among most of the population it was no longer an accepted thing. That Danson’s attempts to do it were so poorly received are one of the proofs – but seriously I just don’t ever recall people I knew even considering doing blackface.

There were people who costumed themselves in other potentially offensive ways (like Hitler) but not blackface. And that is what is so singular about Trudeau doing it at least three times – this was not a normal thing! Why in the world would he repeatedly think it was a good idea??


Considering that in both cases, there is an absence of malice and that it is two events out of a 40-plus year life, I think when we look at the scale and scope used to determine a ‘pattern’ it should be perhaps not be shaped by the white-hot indignation the modern era feeds but rather by a human understanding of time and change over a series of decades. .

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skims the thread


I’m going to preface by saying I think it’s high time that this particular tradition comes to an end. That said, especially given that the Netherlands is considered one of the most tolerant and egalitarian societies in the entire world, is everyone who has participated in Zwarte Piet a racist? And if not, isn’t that the point here? I don’t think reasonable mainstream folks think Trudeau is a racist as a result of this. That’s a pretty serious allegation that needs more evidence than costumes you wore two or more decades ago, even if it was on more than one occasion. When we stop giving everyone, even politicians, the benefit of the doubt (notwithstanding full-blown fascists that is), civil society is doomed.

that’s not what defines racism.


And even if there was no conscious malicious intent whatsoever, it still doesn’t matter:


From his adoption of the Nation of Islam in 1952 until he broke with it in 1964, Malcolm X promoted the Nation’s teachings. These included the beliefs:

  • that black people are the original people of the world[93]
  • that white people are “devils”[94]
  • that blacks are superior to whites, and
  • that the demise of the white race is imminent

Not exactly a shining example of tolerance…

Racism isn’t a switch that’s permanently set to on or off. People do racist things. If we divide the population into “racists” (e.g. David Duke) and the rest of us then we are going to gloss over a lot of racism. This is very frustrating and it sucks. It’s a political attack by people who are more racist than Trudeau to get someone elected who is more racist than Trudeau. Depending on your riding I can completely understanding planning to vote Liberal despite this.

But there is really not point in trying to convince people that this doesn’t teach us something bad about Trudeau. And bringing up black Peter by way of saying people aren’t racist seems pretty bizarre. That myth is racist as hell.


If you think lighting torches over something someone did 18 years ago is stepping up for ‘social justice,’ then I endorse the idea of, I don’t know, reading a newspaper.

Also, seeing things differently is not privilege-blindness; rather, saying privilege-blindness is an attempt to discount other people’s non-hostile opinions as artifacts of hostile hegemony and oppression, which is a fairly disingenuous tactic.

" throwing social justice for PoC, women, and LGBTQ people under the bus as reasonable sacrifices."

Yes, whether or not one reacts precisely as irrationally to an 18-year -old minor offense as you is 'throwing PoC, women, and LGBTQ people under the bus." Wait, no, it isn’t. And if you asked any PoC, woman or LGBTQ person to name the biggest five problems in their lives in 2019, Justin Trudeau being an ass in 2001 will not be among them.

The Nazi Party existed for, say, 1930-1945. Mr. Trudeau’s foolishness adds up to perhaps five hours. Comparing Mr. Trudeau to a Nazi is an insult to booth him and Nazis.

Also, I do not have pure, empirical evidence that Mr. Trudeau was not motivated by malice, aside from the fact that he did not do so in the intervening years since his two errors, nor did he do anything at the time more calculated than foolishly trying to replicate cultural icons; at the same time, you also do not have pure, empirical evidence he was motivated by malice, so your suppositions and my suppositions erase each other. All we have is the evidence, and the evidence is only proof of bad faith intent by whoever had this pic and sat on it until riiiiight before an election.

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