What to think about the blackface scandal
Most of my social media universe just doesn't see Trudeau as racist or taking on a role in full makeup as mockery. He was a drama teacher and clearly has a penchant for the theatrical, and was playing Aladdin. Normal he would go all in, encouraging students to take on roles to the full. Minstrel shows are a different thing. This for me falls into the same category as the idea that a man can't write about women: political correctness gone mad. We saw The Glass Menagerie at Niagara on the Lake this year and the main male role, the son in a white family, was played by a black man. He didn't wear white face to be fair but it wasn't offensive. Acting is acting.
I have over 500 friends on Facebook that I interact with, and only those who have hated Trudeau from the beginning are giving this story any traction at all, and even some of them acknowledge that at 30 there are a few things they did that wouldn't fly today. Around the same time, one person pointed out, Jim Carrey made Ace Ventura Pet Detective, in which he kisses a man and then vomits, and a bunch of police vomit in a reaction to homosexuality. You couldn't do that today and it doesn't mean Jim Carrey is homophobic, and no one would suggest it did, yet it is far more egregious than what happened here.
I know some visible minorities are hurt by it, but I think they are mistaken to be.
Increasingly I believe the press around the world jumps on anything they can that will get interest, the prime purpose being ratings and sales. I guess it has always been that way. This is a non-story as far as my friends are concerned and it is hurting the press more than it is hurting Trudeau. Internationally it is unfortunate that having been a drama teacher and done a bunch of playacting and dressing up as various characters makes him vulnerable to be seen as a lightweight. Even the recent bio by the National Post reporter, far from sympathetic, apparently makes clear that his reputation as a lightweight is unearned, and whether you agree with him or not you have to respect his seriousness about his beliefs and his preparedness. I have seen some interviews recently where he deals with the thorny issue of climate vs. pipelines and he shows that fundamental proof of intelligence: the ability to understand that apparent contradictions are not always irreconcilable.
He is constantly underestimated (just ask Brazeau) and I don't doubt that in direct meetings he can dispel the myth that being irreverent and playacting are incompatible with also having gravitas when the situation demands it.
It is forgotten also that the Aladdin costume was donned for a fundraiser for white water rafting, a sport that receives no government funding but in which Canada is competitive. And what happened to imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Why is dressing up as someone mockery? If I am asked to play Modi in a school dramatisation of current events, can I not make myself up as an Indian?
Both he and his Dad have a consistent track record of actions that are inclusive. Our local Liberal candidate's mother was in her Sari in Halifax, when Pierre Trudeau saw her and walked over and said Namaste. The result of that greeting was that this newly arrived Indian family embraced Canada as their home and the remarkable Anita Anand, the first child born in Canada, is putting herself forward for public service, leaving a stellar career to do so. This is the real DNA of Justin and it is ridiculous that it is being obscured by him doing his job by being dramatic at the school where he is trying to teach drama.