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

A football club played a match in blackface to be against the racist chorus made against an African teammate.
Now from an European perspective blackface is quite different. The titular characters in Verdi’s Otello and Aida are traditionally played with a black makeup. Because in the Verdi era no slavery was present in Italy this was never meant as a problem except recently by an USA prima donna that refused to play the Aida rehearsals in blackface.
Besides there are talented Africa American sopranos that played Aida role.
If this passes on opera African soprano will be typecasted to some roles, mrs. Brown will neve play as Desdemona in Otello, for instace, because in this case is important for the story that Otello is African (il Moro di Venezia) and Desdemona isn’t.

So… digging out displays of outdated morals from the past of liberal politicians weakens them, while for conservatives it might even endear them to their base. That’s a tough pattern to break, isn’t it. There’s no statute of limitations on moral outrage, and time works against us all. So when a photo of Trudeau being an unthinking dick 18 years ago leads to Canada ruled by an “authentic anti-racist” like Scheer, or a “true social conciliator” like Stephen Harper again… maybe we should let political reason get in the way of working up and venting a good and honest moral outrage? Or accept an apology instead of always assuming the worst? Or just forgive something that happened a generation ago?


Not to mention, it weakens the liberal (or should I say, non-conservative) base. I can’t help thinking about how many of these call-outs are an effort by conservatives to discredit popular liberal politicians and cause discord within the liberal voter base/community.

Obviously, I’m not saying these acts shouldn’t be called out, but I think people should be careful about how they react, and think about what say, “cancelling” Justin Trudeau means in a larger context. If there’s someone to step into his place sure, but if there isn’t… well. Not saying there’s a good and all-around satisfying choice to be made here, but I think politics as such has moved way beyond that (if it was ever there).

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To: Justin Trudeau
Canada, Canada

From: Blotchy, Stinky, and Forgettful, PR, LLC
New York, New York

Re: HELP!!

Dear Justin,

Have you tried making sure the person who is second in line for your job has sexually assaulted a number of women? If not, we suggest you find someone and hire them, it’ll take the pressure off you once the salacious details get out. Sex always plays in the media far better than racism does.

Note: we do not advocate pointing at the opposition and saying “but they’re worse.” That doesn’t seem to be working any longer. Also, if you could refrain from pointing out that you have “many black friends”, we suggest you do. It’s proven to be less effective than it did in 1973.

Our bill is in the mail.


Best of luck,

You’re a right bastard,

Mr. Henry Harvey Hillman Blotchy, Senior Partner


Yes, it sucks. But as a liberal, we’re going to be consistent. Racism and racist tropes have zero place in society and there is NO EXCUSE for these sort of performative racist actions. It reinforces stereotypes and reveals to me the deep current of racism in our country.

I was 15 when I went on stage with five other students to break dance. I did not feel the need to put on black face to do so, despite the fact I was otherwise trying to dress like Michael Jackson and moon walk because I greatly admired him. That was 1982. If I knew then how wrong it would be to wear black face, at 15, living in the whitest state in America, Justin knew 18 years ago (2001) that it was also wrong. We cannot keep excusing this sort of behavior, even if it kills us that it’s people on “our side.” Yes, the cons are doing it to weaken the liberal movement. But you know what? We ARE weakened when we stand against racism and the people leading us turn out to be racist.

So liberal leaders, hear me now: if you did racist shit when you were younger, sit down and shut up, we don’t want or need your “leadership.” When it comes out - and it ALWAYS comes out - you’ll only weaken us. You have done incredible damage to the cause of stamping out racism in our society by becoming a leader and proving you’re morally bankrupt.

I just makes me realize how desperately we need more women leaders. When was the last time you heard a woman putting on black face as a teen because they thought it was funny? Maybe Rosanne Barr? No, I think that was dressing like Hitler or something like that. . .


… I kind of doubt that, I mean, things should not be hushed up, but I would like to see us react to them in a nuanced way, and not throw a potential ally under the bus for a mere thoughtlessness that happened a long time ago.

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For sure all those European countries that were never involved in colonial exploitation in Africa or the slave trade get a pass. Here’s a list:


You certainly have a point, but other cultures might be slower to pick up on identifying certain tropes as racist, simply because these conflicts take another form, or are along other lines, and they don’t have that discourse at the same time. In continental Europe, it has more been about religious freedom in the last decades, and the rights and issues of Muslim immigrants, and less about divisions along skin color; simply due to the composition of the population. So many of us picked up on the inappropriateness of blackface only second hand, relayed through bits of international media coverage or the Internet. On the other hand, most of us scratch our heads when seeing how Americans have an entry for “race” (and, as I’ve just now learned, also “ethnicity”) in some of their official documents, something that would be considered wildly inappropriate here.

The timing is very suggestive. The person who “noticed the photo” in July, finally goes to TIME earlier in September, and they release the photo the day after poll results had the Liberals edging up against the Conservatives.

The odd thing in the night-time is why it didn’t appear in Canadian media sooner. Postmedia would have run it in an instant, barely taking time to verify the yearbook for legal CYA. Macleans, no problem. I think even CBC or TorStar would have carried it.

Why go to an American publication with an exclusive on a Canadian story?

If it was a called Conservative air-strike, I think they would have liked to hold it for a couple weeks later, but were worried about a Liberal break-out in the polls.

It was forecast to be a dirty election, and I wonder what the Liberal response will be. They’ve been using old speeches and social media posts effectively, but that’s pretty weak stuff. With all the footsie Scheer has been doing with white nationalists and their supporters, I’d be surprised if they weren’t holding something in reserve.


Fact: in a schools a questionnaire with the subscription form was blindly translated from an USA one and sent to the parents of kids with neurological problem. They asked for the “razza” of the child. Test a scuola, l'Azienda sanitaria di Bolzano chiede la razza - Cronaca | l'Adige.it

Parents were upset. Especially because in Alto Adige there’s a bit of friction of German-speaking and Italian-speaking population, so not only was a bad reminder of Fascist laws but looked at as illegal profiling.


It doesn’t really help that the English language discourse on race/etc. is overwhelmingly American and so relies on American definitions and concepts, which are not always compatible with different cultures. I’ve seen this affect local discourses, and discourses held in English (due to lack of other common language).

For example, in my country I belong to an ethnic minority that had undergone what can be deemed as persecution. I’m also lily white with blue eyes, light brown hair, etc. For most Americans I’ve talked to apparently this simply doesn’t compute, because for them “ethnicity” is closely tied to a non-white skin-color. Which makes sense in America I guess, but in Europe where most of the historic conflicts that still affect politics and cultural discourse have been, historically, along ethnic lines - not so much. (And let’s not even get into parts of the world where white is not the dominant skin color.)

(For those curious, I’m Swabian - since we’re technically “German”, after WWII much of Hungary’s Swabian population had been effectively forced to relocate from the country as easy scapegoats for all the Nazi collaboration that mostly non-Swabians did. Almost all of my family had been affected, basically one day they were told to pack up what they can and gtfo from the country. Where? Who cares.)


Well… consider me part of the problem, if you must, but this is not the trench I’m willing to die in.

Every proletarian … sees the difference between a compromise enforced by objective conditions … which in no way minimises the revolutionary devotion and readiness to carry on the struggle … and, on the other hand, a compromise by traitors who try to ascribe to objective causes their self-interest.

Lenin said that, and I like it because it cuts both ways.

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Do you realize how totally crazy this PC to the idiotic limit is If he was singing a song of Mr B’s, in black face that is one thing if he was using it to demean then there is the problem. And the Arab get up criticism is no not worth talking about. Intent and presentation are what is important not the opinions of incel bed wetters

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“Blackface” is caricature. Mocking another culture. Where I grew up, the stories of the Arabian Nights were seen as delightful fantasy stories, we had toys and costumes that were no doubt based on stereotypes, but not hatred.

This looks more like a misguided tribute than hatred to me.

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But you probably also weren’t the scion of a prominent political family and exposed to media training from a young age. Remember, Justin spent the first decade of his life as the Prime Minister’s kid and would have probably been taught some more about things to not do on camera.


Why is blackface called brown face in Canada? What’s the conversion rate? Is it to piss off Punjabis?

Of course it’s not ok to mock other cultures by painting your skin, but there are other reasons, such as fandom or tributes to do that (which some people opportunistically ignore). Notice all the Klingons in next generation have darker skin… is it now racist for a white person to darken their skin when dressed as a Klingon? Who is that racist against? Klingons? Guinan wasn’t human, is that also racist against her race of El-Aurians?

We need to stop treating tributes as hate crimes.

Edit: Whoopi Goldberg’s response to this is apparently that people who think it’s not ok to put makeup on as your favourite character are the racist ones. I agree. You’re creating rifts, not bridging them.

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This is a strawKlingon argument.

It’s a lot more racist to claim that black people should be treated with the same consideration as fictional aliens. (And if there were Klingons on Earth, it most likely would be insensitive to dress up as them)


That is the core of the problem here. He can’t change the past, but he can own up to it without making excuses that claim that “we” North Americans didn’t know blacking up was wrong in 2001 (or 1991, or 1981). If he’d taken full responsibility for his own actions as a thoughtless and privilege-blind 29-year-old and condemned it both then and now as something more than a less-than-appropriate choice of costume, he’d be getting a different reaction from liberals and progressives. But no, he and his team blew it and perhaps the election, which may now be won by someone who’s tolerant of actual white supremacists.

We need to see an end to this political culture of never giving a full apology (even when it’s due) and instead using mealy-mouthed apologies full of the passive voice and claiming the “we” are all at fault has to stop with liberal and progressive politicians. It’s counter-productive and ultimately loses them more votes and support than it saves in cases like this.


I never said black people should be treated with the same consideration as fictional aliens. I was responding to someone who thinks we should.

Why don’t you pick a side? If Whoopi Goldberg, who is black and portrays the character, thinks it’s ok for a white fan to wear dark makeup to pay tribute to the character, is that ok?

I think my point is, and possibly Whoopi’s, is that it’s not about race. It’s about the character, who this fan loves. You’re taking something positive and making it into a hate crime.