Tag Archives: blackface

Trudeau flap a symptom of left-leaning sensitivity

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Manitoba — I have given some additional thought to a story that has threatened to swallow Canada whole. It involves Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s posing in blackface a couple decades ago.

He has apologized. He sounds sincere to me. He has owned what he did, calling it wrong, insensitive and offensive.

However, the story won’t go away. Trudeau is running for re-election.

My take on it has crystallized a bit since I wrote an earlier blog post on this matter. I am beginning now to believe — as one of my dearest friends has posited already on social media — that Trudeau has become a victim of an oversensitive reaction of the liberal/progressive wing of the broad political spectrum.

Yes, we are now more sensitive to how blackface is perceived. It is wrong. Trudeau made a serious mistake when he went to a costume party slathered in black makeup, posing as “Aladdin.”

I do believe, though, that a sincere apology ought to be enough. He has vowed to say he is sorry to political leaders of color in Canada. Trudeau is a chastened young man.

The international reaction from some quarters has been fierce, too. Surprisingly — and to be honest, I am pleased to report this — a muted reaction has come from the White House where Donald “Pu*** Grabber in Chief” has said only that he is “surprised” by Trudeau’s predicament. He has made — so far — no substantial comment on the specifics of what Trudeau has admitted to doing. That’s fine, Mr. President. Do not even go there.

I hope this matter can be put away. Prime Minister Trudeau has sought to make amends. He turned a campaign rally into a town hall event in Saskatoon the other evening, fielding questions from constituents about the matter. I believe that’s an act of political courage.

I’m done with this story. On to the next thing … whatever it is.

Are some offenses beyond forgiving?

REGINA, Saskatchewan — The word in Canada is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blew it when he appeared in what has been called “brownface” back when he was a much younger man.

You’ve seen the pictures. He is posing with others while wearing what looks like some sort of Arabic costume. He is slathered in dark skin makeup. He’s got a big ol’ grin on his face. The picture just surfaced, but it has taken Canada by storm.

This story is giving me fits as I watch it unfold.

Trudeau, who is facing a tough re-election fight, has offered a full-throated apology. There was none of that “if I offended anyone” non-apology crap you hear from politicians on occasion. The man said he is sorry. He is ashamed of himself. He is ashamed of his conduct. He said he meant no racist intent when he did it.

Has the public accepted the apology? Hardly. I have watched the news and heard from Canadians — particularly those of color — say, in effect, that what Trudeau did in the 1980s is unforgivable. No apology is good enough. No expression of contrition is sufficient.

Is it fair to condemn someone for appearing at a party dressed in such a manner? Is it fair to hold a 47-year-old accountable for his actions as a much younger individual? I truly am torn by this.

Is this different than a similar scandal involving Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who had a picture taken of himself in black face standing alongside someone wearing what looks like a Ku Klux Klan outfit? Yes. It is. Moreover, Northam’s apology did not seem to go quite as far in its sincerity that Trudeau’s has gone.

You may spare me any epithets you might hurl at me for being sympathetic to a racist politician. I do not believe Prime Minister Trudeau fits that bill. I do believe the young man made a serious mistake that has seen the light of day.

He also has delivered what sounds to my ears like a sincere apology.

The issue now lies in the hands of Canada’s voters.

Good luck, neighbors. I’m glad I do not have to make that decision. We’ve got our own political weirdness.

Now, what about a POTUS who said some nasty things?

Virginia Republicans need to tread carefully.

The state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, has apologized for appearing in a racist photograph showing two men — one in blackface and the other in a KKK-style costume. The Virginia GOP has called for his immediate resignation.

I agree that Northam should resign.

However . . .

Just a word of advice to the state Republican Party is in order. The nation’s Top Republican, Donald Trump, said in 2017 that there were “good people” who belonged to white supremacist groups, Nazis and Klansmen who protested the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va.

Will they hold the president to account for that hideous assertion?


Gov. Northam, you have blown it!

OK, so a Democratic governor way over yonder in Virginia has been revealed to have appeared in a picture with someone who had smeared black paint on his face while he posed with a guy dressed in a Ku Klux Klan-style robe.

Ralph Northam has apologized; he hasn’t said which of the young men was him. He issued this statement:

“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment. …

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

I’ll give the governor credit, though, for avoiding one of those “if I offended anyone” non-apologies. He has owned his egregious error.

However, is that good enough? Does that settle it? Not even close.

You see, the picture showed up in a 1984 medical school yearbook. Northam had graduated already from college, received his bachelor’s degree and was enrolled in medical school. He was an adult. It’s not as though he was some dipsh** junior high schooler who got carried away because he wasn’t thinking straight.

This picture is now going to haunt Northam for the entire time he serves as governor of a former Confederate state.

Virginia Republicans say he should resign. I believe they have a point. Gov. Northam cannot possibly be taken seriously from this day forward as he seeks to govern all the residents of his state.

Northam needs to go.

Megyn Kelly gets the boot she deserves

Now I get it. I am ashamed of my ignorance on the hideous history behind “blackface,” but I have been educated.

I want to stipulate that I’ve never accepted or laughed at blackface performances. I have known all along how insensitive and inciteful — and profoundly offensive — it is. I just didn’t appreciate fully the extent of its offensiveness.

Until now.

Megyn Kelly, the broadcast journalist who became a media superstar over her questioning of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s treatment of women, now has joined the Media Hall of Infamy for her on-air remarks regarding blackface.

Kelly said she saw nothing wrong with people smearing black grease paint on their face to make them “appear black.” The reaction to her remarks was ferocious. NBC canceled her morning talk show. Her future now in broadcast journalism is, shall we say, in serious doubt.

I have learned about how African-Americans have perceived blackface performances by entertainers, how they have demeaned an entire race of people. They portrayed African-Americans as subhuman, as cartoon characters. I now know about how this practice pre-dates the Civil War, a bloody 19th-century conflict fought over the issue of slavery and that euphemistic issue of “states’ rights.”

I once rooted for Megyn Kelly to succeed after she changed networks, moving from Fox to NBC. Her new employers saw a great deal of potential in their new hire. Her weekday morning talk show struggled with ratings. Her future was getting a bit tenuous even without this outburst of anger over her on-air thoughtlessness.

Do I believe Kelly is a hateful racist? No, I don’t. However, she has painted herself (pun intended) as an individual who clearly needed an education on a behavior that long ago has been tossed onto the trash heap.

Her popping off in front of an entire nation about how blackface is no big deal exemplifies a level of ignorance that has no place on a major broadcast network.