Posted by: BigFoot
I don't think it was blown out of proportion because the leader of our country has committed an act of racism. I used to see Justin as someone who support immigrants. Now, please explain why you asked that question? Are you looking for a debate on if the act was racist or not?
I asked because I felt the topic was originally blown out of proportion with the first picture, particularly wrt the calls of racism and extreme racism from some people. As an aside, I still think Trudeau is someone who supports immigrants as I doubt something that happened almost 20yrs ago and has now been exposed is suddenly going to change his views on immigration, and more specifically refugees. As for calling people who don't feel this is racist as ignorant, well that's a stretch imo and I shall explain why. I will also add there is a caveat here in that the story has changed a fair bit since yesterday, but I will address that too.
To start, the first two photos are from the same event, an Arabian Nights theme party in which Trudeau dressed up as Aladdin. I get why he may have chosen to go with the face make-up, but it was definitely overdone imo. The thing to consider here is the context of the evening and the costume that he was wearing. I think it should also be considered that people of middle eastern descent are typically grouped into caucasian and not "brown" or Asian. Sure it may be splitting hairs, but it plays into the context of the whole thing. I think you could call the incident insensitive and even ignorant but to call it racist is a reach. If Trudeau was to go to a costume party today dressed as Aladdin but sans makeup, would you consider the representation any less racist? He would still be a white person representing the same character of colour, with or without make-up. The second incident, from roughly 30 yrs ago, ups the ante, but again it is supposedly in the context of a performance imitating Harry Belafonte singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight. In the case of a performance, if one is playing a specific character/person of colour, is it racist to use make-up to achieve that character? In both of these cases I think it's important to consider the context and the intent of what was done.
The third incident, the one of the where he is in blackface and dancing around is far more troubling as the context seems to have no merit. The explanation from Trudeau is that it was from "costume day" from when he worked as a whitewater raft guide. To me this is the one that could be labeled as a racist event. I mention this one separately as at the time of the posts last night I was not aware of it but you may have been including this in your overall take on things. So for me the question becomes, if someone commits a racist act, does that necessarily make them a racist? The reason I feel this is important to investigate is that the terms racism and racist are extremely powerful words in today's society that sometimes get used indiscriminately to forcefully shut down not only the offensive language, but any potential discussion attached to them. I've been saying for a while that if we are going to have any chance of shifting people's thinking on subjects of oppression then it's important to do it in a way that does not cause people to leave the discussion.
So to sum up I don't think you can make an automatic call of racism or racist on someone in blackface or other similar appearances. I definitely believe that it is wholly applicable in many circumstances, but we should also take some time to consider context and intent before taking someone to task on their choice of behaviour. You may not agree with all or parts my explanation, but that's how I'm viewing the entire issue. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask and I will give you a response.