Last September, Time Magazine released a provocative yearbook picture of Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada. It was taken at a costume party for teachers college, in Vancouver. He dressed up as Aladdin……. with Black face.
My first thought seeing this picture, “Which version of Aladdin is this?” I wasn’t aware of the Jim Crow era of Arabia nights. Before I knew it, media tried to spin this story, calling it “brown face” because he was dressed as an Arab/middle easterner.
Since then, he has apologized for his behavior in 2001. He properly recognized his actions as Black face and acknowledged his white privilege. He also admitted to a separate instance in high school when he wore Black face for a performance singing Harry Belafonte’s “Day-o”. Well that’s that right?
Trudeau was right in the middle of washing his white privileged hands of an ignorant past in the ivory sink of his father’s prestige, in a house built on stolen indigenous land, when a new 3 second video surfaced. Justin again, Blackface with an Afro, tongue sticking out acting as if he had just witnessed watermelon or fried chicken. This video was taken in the 90’s, I guess if he didn’t know better in 2001, his first apology is still good right? The media went ballistic within 24 hours over the video. More apologetic blah blah blah from the PM.
Then he was asked if there are any more instances of Black face that could come out. He said out of his mouth, he couldn’t recall how many times he may have done it.
Canadian political scandals are usually dry and it’s embarrassing how some even make national headlines at times. This, this right here is actually the creme of the crop since former mayor Rob Ford got caught smoking crack after assuring the public he didn’t smoke crack.
While the scandal unfolded fast and furious, the optics of this story should be placed in context. Time Magazine released this photo in a timely fashion. One month before Canadians head to the polls to elect the next PM on October 21st. Trudeau is the leader of the liberal party, equivalent to the democrats in the US.
This scandal (allegedly) is a silent power play by the liberals rivals, the progressive conservative (PC) party. Maybe an assist from 45 and Putin running guard, the PC party is equivalent to the republicans.
Canada has the same screwed up, lesser of 2 evils election system as the states. Loyal liberal voters keep asking about the pictures, “Why now? Where were these pics during the first election?” The answer is obvious!
Andrew Sheer, the candidate for the PC party is tired of being labeled the open, bigoted mini- Trump racist. He might as well fight as dirty as possible during the 45 era. Andrew Sheer has been seen befriending white nationalist media and supremacists. Icing on the cake would be insulting the LGBTQ+ community (not in the Dave Chapelle way either).
Malcolm X already broke down the lesser of evil 2 party system in his speech “The Worst Enemy of Black People” :
“They are fighting each other for power and prestige, and the one that is the football in the game is the Negro, 20 million black people. A political football, a political pawn, an economic football, and economic pawn. A social football, a social pawn. The liberal elements of whites are those who have perfected the art of selling themselves to the Negro as a friend of the Negro. Getting sympathy of the Negro, getting the allegiance of the Negro, and getting the mind of the Negro. Then the Negro sides with the white liberal, and the white liberal use the Negro against the white conservative. So that anything that the Negro does is never for his own good, never for his own advancement, never for his own progress, he’s only a pawn in the hands of the white liberal.”
Whether Black face-gate costs Trudeau the election or not, this tarnished his image of a squeaky clean, all inclusive, diversity pretty boy. He has been building this image up since his first campaign.
I don’t need to paint Justin Trudeau as a racist. He is already the new face of a silent white-supremacist machine. There is a hidden history of oppression against enslaved and freed Africans, indigenous Natives, Caribbean and African immigrants up north.
Several decades of slavery, segregation and state policies that targeted employment, education and immigration from the 17th century, still playing itself out in the form of the current system today. Historically, Euro Canadians felt morally superior to Americans. One reason for their flawed logic was that they only practiced private slavery ownership opposed to full plantations.
Canada abolished slavery 31 years before America but it wasn’t as if Canadians were thrilled with their new free neighbors. Mary Ann Shadd, an anti-slavery abolitionist and journalist coined the attitude of white Canadians as “Anti-slavery negro haters”
Trudeau Senior came into office and adopted Canada’s multicultural identity in 1971. After generations of oppression against Black and indigenous peoples, it was finally time for the citizens of this great white nation to act like it didn’t happen.
Fast forward to the first election of 2013, Justin was ushering in a new era and legacy of his father. The photos have since tarnished the past 6 years of his public image. Before the images were revealed, Trudeau Jr was never completely squeaky clean to begin with. His true legacy is on the outskirts of media coverage and propagated outrage.
Justin Trudeau’s federal government purchased the Trans Mountain Pipeline for $4.5 Billion in 2017 which intensified the controversy over the construction. There are environmental, social, political and most importantly, territorial ramifications that need to be taken into consideration.
There are 117 indigenous communities along the pipeline and the risk of oil spills along the coast of B.C, making this a potential aqua issue. The Canadian government doesn’t have full consent to construct a pipeline across traditional indigenous territory.
It’s understood if one indigenous nation says no, then the whole project is a no! It’s obvious that the federal government didn’t buy the pipeline, and it’s controversy, to not build it. That means it’s being done illegally, immorally and unethically all in the same breathe.
Canada is now the second biggest arms dealer to the middle East. Trudeau had concerns over murdered journalist Khashogi but that didn’t stop him from cancelling a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. While he is increasing Canada’s notoriety as an arms dealer, Toronto has been plagued by gun violence that affects African and Caribbean communities at disproportionate rates.
Young Black men involved in gang violence make up a portion of the yearly murder rate. The issue of illegal guns reaching the city of Toronto has forever been a problem. The federal government has consistently missed the mark by increasing legislation affecting law abiding gun owners and not dealing with illegal guns. I spoke on this issue several times on my blog.
The issue of gun violence has little to do with licenced gun owners and most of the guns used in gang violence are illegal. Somehow our Prime Minister is just as aloof and simple as Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. This is our lesser evil for the upcoming election……..
On the flip side of the coin, police brutality against unarmed Black men has been a decades long practice in Canada. Junior Manon. Jermaine Carby (no knife was found on the scene). Eric Osawe. Bony Jean-Pierre. Marc Ekamba-Boekwa. Hugh Dawson. Marcellus Francois.
Canadian law enforcement are also notorious for being trigger happy when it comes to mental health issues. Andrew Loku. Albert Johnson. Reyal Jardine-Douglas. Lester Donaldson. Wayne Williams. Abdirahman Abdi. Alain Magloire. Nicholas Gibbs. Albert Moses, these are just some of the names in our community.
Edmund Yu and Sammy Yatim and several others outside our community have also sparked conversations on police use of force. Police are overly trigger happy when it comes to Black and Brown people. Police services are then dumbfounded by the deteriorating relationship between police and the Black community. Police are overly trigger happy when it comes to Black and Brown people. Police services are then dumb founded by the deteriorating relationship between police and the Black community.
A 2006 study revealed Black residents of Ontario are 10 times more likely to be shot by police. We make up 34.5% of all shooting deaths by police despite being only 3.6% of the Ontario population. When responding to minor offences, police are 4 times more likely to draw their weapon on Black people then any other group.
“The majority of victims were white, a demographic comprising the largest percentage of the Canadian population: 71% according to Stats Canada. Conversely, Indigenous people make up only 4.8% of the population, yet represented 15% of total fatalities.
Members of the Black community, which makes up only 3.4% of Canada’s population, represented 9% of the fatalities. Both racial groups are disproportionately affected by police violence relative to other ethnicities.”
“The relationship had been tense since at least the early 70s, because the police were targeting black people unnecessarily and unjustly.
It was getting worse and worse and then people had had enough. When we came to Canada, we were under no illusions that there was no racism here, but we thought that with the principles of law, and Ontario having a human rights code, we believed we could navigate the system and get justice. That was a myth.” – Kingsley Gilliam. Director of communications for Black Action Defence Committee.
Officers utilize the fear for their lives to avoid charges regularly. Consider the van massacre on Younge Street where Alek Minassian, killed 10 and injured 16 in a driving rampage. Police peacefully took him down AFTER he brandished what appeared to be a firearm 3x and walking forwards towards the officer!
Justin Trudeau is lucky that the oppression in Canada isn’t fully comprehended by the majority of Black Canadians. Many have already forgiven him and ready to vote for him. To be honest, most of it is fear out of Andrew Sheer being elected.
I’ve seen plenty of excuses for Trudeau’s Black face already, simple ones like not judging the past. Also some Asinine comments comparing Trudeau’s scandal to white face movies/sketches and the damaged physiological usage of skin bleaching.
It almost seems like Black Canadians have forgiven Justin faster then the media is able to fully drag his name through the dirt for the rest of the week. I can’t tell folks how to vote but what I do know is our best solution can only formulate at a grassroots level.
What are our needs as a community and what are our demands? We consistently complain about all the problems but not enough hands on deck working on the solutions. Maybe Andrew Sheer is the right man for the job to motivate the Black community to get our house in an organized order.
Whether we decide to vote or not, there is no reason why individuals who are concerned about Black issues can’t organize and join a group. Join or start a group working and fighting for the liberation of Black people. Voting for one day will not solve the rest of our problems for the other 364 days.
There are so many different organizations NOT to get involved in some way shape or form. Our community supports and puts energy into voting the most without seeing benefits. The community work isn’t being supported at the same level.
We trust the word of politicians every election cycle faster then we trust and support community organizers building consistent work uplifting our community. To the ones that already do, I applaud you but this message are for the ones not doing any work.
There is no reason we can’t build our own communities without political power. Freed slaves built up Black Wall Street, Freedmans Bank and Africville in Nova Scotia, with the little that they put together. We should have more than well wishes from politicians today and A LOT more self respect.
Black people represent 3.5 % of the Canadian population and 15.78625 % of the Torontonian population. Our taxes does give us some kind of right to have a voice but it’s our civic duty to put our community first before any politician. If we don’t do it, no one else will.
Peace and Blessings.