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

If you want to set Whoopi Goldberg’s personal attitude against every other person’s attitude to blackface, you’re not going to end up looking good.

She was also okay with Ted Danson in blackface in a way that the rest of the world saw as “not as funny as she thought”.

Whoopi’s great, but she doesn’t speak for all people on this subject.


You didn’t answer my question. If Whoopi plays a dark skinned alien on tv, and a fan wants to pay tribute by dressing as that character. It it ok with Whoopi’s blessing, or is that the same thing as hate fuelled black-face? Maybe you don’t think it’s worth differentiating tributes from hate crimes.

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I did answer you. “Whoopi’s blessing” isn’t the blessing of all people.

Whoopi’s great, but she doesn’t speak for all people on this subject.

Context matters, and it’s not always a “hate crime”, (who called it that in this instance? I think it was you.) but in the modern age it is almost always insensitive, and almost always has dehumanizing effects to classes of people.

People who do it in spite of overwhelming public access to the knowledge that people feel that way, can’t then claim to be unaware innocents that just stumbled into making offence. They’re making a choice to discount people based on thinking their concerns are of no value, and that’s what speaks to their views on racism, not the specific shade of make-up.


She doesn’t speak for most people, but neither do you or I. Being the black woman who played that character, we might want to take her opinion into account, don’t you think?

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That’s the point.

If you’re ignoring most black people because you think their opinion isn’t that important, well, that’s why people probably aren’t happy that you’re publicly indicating you don’t value the opinions of most black people.

You don’t get a pass from that sentiment just because one person said it was okay.


The only time blackface has worked as comedy for the past half-century is when the character wearing it is being mocked as being clueless and thoughtless and casually racist – think Dwight Schrute (2000s) or Archie Bunker (1970s).

I’ll listen to Whoopi Goldberg’s opinion as an African-American woman with a lived experience that I don’t have, but also as a celebrity who (as is standard in the industry) frequently uses her platform in her own self-interest (e.g. defending a celebrity boyfriend or a dedicated fan of one of her characters).


I didn’t ask for a pass, I think her opinion should hold some weight precisely because she is a black woman and it’s her character. I don’t see how you are more qualified to make that determination, besides vague claims about how “most black people” feel.

I suspect it’s a more sophisticated thought process than you make it out to be… more to it than simply whether they are using dark makeup or not.

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I said:

You replied:

You’re accusing me of not saying what I just said.

In any case, you’re not saying anything new or particularly interesting, bringing up Whoopi.

Her individual defence of an instance of blackface didn’t make blackface universally loved and accepted. That scenario already happened. It’s a historical event, not some theory about whether her approval has more weight than all other people involved. If you want to know why that’s wasn’t a successful defence of blackface, go read about how it wasn’t a successful defence of blackface.

You’re right. This was also the only reason people can watch Tropic Thunder, too. It’s explicitly and clearly, as the main point meant as “mockery of people who think blackface is defensible” not “basic mockery of black people”.


Marxface is bad now, too?!

God damn it, Justin!


I have a good memory. I recall as a kid watching the Neil Diamond remake of “The Jazz Singer” and being very confused as to why the main character wore blackface in the club scene. When I asked, my mother explained that the film was trying too hard to pay tribute to the original Al Jolson movie without being racist, but didn’t do a very good job of it and didn’t have to because blackface is offensive in modern times. This was in 1980, so Trudeau’s excuses about the state of things in 2001 really ring hollow.


It’s a more sophisticated thought process than, “that person is wearing dark makeup, therefor, they must be trying to offend me, or discount my concerns”.
You’ve agreed that there are cases where dark makeup is ok. I’m just saying that if a fan is wearing it and the female black actor is cool with it, maybe it isn’t racist or a discount of concerns. It’s just meant to honor something they love, or in some cases, make fun of racism itself.

Saying that dark makeup is the same as blackface is the same as saying the eagle must symbolize the nazis. The defining attribute of Blackface is caricature.

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When people say “It’s a tribute”, you don’t need skin-matching make-up to show you love someone.


Do you think black fans are “inauthentic” if they don’t whiten their faces? Imagine if all the black women who liked Taylor Swift started walking around in corpse-white pancake make-up, in “tribute”.

Do you think this woman is inadequately cosplaying Wonder Woman? Do think she is inadequately showing her respect and love for the character?

Trudeau didn’t have to darken his face to pay tribute to a singer, nor did he have to darken his face to celebrate the Arabian Nights. Those are mistakes, and they irritate and dehumanize people more than any theoretical “tribute”.


I recall at the time Michel Trudeau died there seemed to be an attitude amoungst liberal supporters that the hope for a politically viable scion had died as well. Don’t know what if any “media training” the sons had, but Justin’s shortcomings had already been noted. And yeah, you’d have to be pretty tone deaf to wear blackface on more than one occasion in Canada for at least as long as I’ve been alive (considerably longer than young Justin ).


Probably because he wasn’t playing in blackface, he was playing a character that thought blackface was acceptable. And said character was called out several times by actual folks of color for being racist.


If the Liberal party won a minority government, if the NDP held onto enough seats and possibly the Green party, there could be an coalition government between them. However, Elizabeth May has made it quite clear that the Liberal party would have to step up in dealing with climate change in order to get the Green party’s support.

If this had come out in July when the man who found the photo, this combined with the SNC-Lavalin could have caused Trudeau to step down. The guy held onto the photo in order to inflict the largest political damage. As once the election has started it is too late for the Liberal party to change leaders.


You could excuse literally any bad behavior that way. Everything anyone has ever done is “in the past.”


As much as I don’t relish the prospect of PM Scheer, I do feel like there’s a certain poetic justice to Trudeau losing an election where, had he not broken his promise to bring in ranked ballots and/or proportional representation, he probably would’ve ended up staying on with a minority or in an NDP alliance. Looks good on ya, Justin! Looks better than that dumb Arabian Nights get-up, anyway.

I mean, the joke’s on all of us, I guess, but at least we get to appreciate the irony.


Exactly. It’s like the difference between someone who plays a klansman and someone who is a klansman.