Trudeau wore brownface makeup at ‘Arabian Nights’ gala when he was teacher; more such incidents (update)

TIME MAGAZINE PHOTO

Media are now reporting about another “blackface” incident involving Trudeau. They are waiting for Trudeau’s comments on this.

The video posted by Global News shows a brief clip of Trudeau in blackface, wearing a white T-shirt, sticking his tongue out.

Liberal party spokesperson Zita Astravas confirmed to the Toronto Star that it was Trudeau in the video, which she said dates from the early 1990s.

The Star also reports that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer admitted Thursday that his campaign team had previously obtained a video of Trudeau in blackface and leaked it to Global News.

Scheer justified his dirty tactics by arguing that Trudeau had failed to be honest on Wednesday night when he admitted to only two instances of wearing brown or blackface costumes, when three instances were revealed by Thursday morning.

TIME magazine on Wednesday published a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taken from the 2000-2001 yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, a private Vancouver school, where Trudeau was a teacher, in which he wore brownface makeup.

The magazine said it got the yearbook from Vancouver businessman Michael Adamson, who was part of the West Point Grey Academy community and felt that Trudeau’s photo should be made public.

Trudeau, then 29 years old, was at an “Arabian Nights”-themed gala. He had on a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands completely darkened.

TIME noted: “Of the individuals in six photographs from the event published in the yearbook, Trudeau appears to be the only one who darkened his skin.”

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is calling on Trudeau to apologize.

“Seeing the Prime Minister in brownface / blackface is deeply saddening,” said NCCM’s Executive Director Mustafa Farooq, “The wearing of blackface / brownface is reprehensible, and hearkens back to a history of racism, slavery, and an Orientalist mythology that is unacceptable. While we recognize that people can change and evolve over two decades, it is critical that the Prime Minister immediately and unequivocally apologizes for his wearing of brownface / blackface”.

Trudeau apologized for his action while speaking to reporters on his campaign aircraft , saying that he didn’t think it was racist at the time, adding, “but now we know it’s unacceptable.”

He said: “I shouldn’t have done that. I take responsibility for it. It was a dumb thing to do.”

Trudeau added: “I’m disappointed in myself, I’m pissed off at myself for having done it, I wish I hadn’t done it, but I did it. And I apologize for it.”

Trudeau also said that in high school he wore makeup while performing a version of the Harry Belafonte song, “Banana Boat Song (Day-O).”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who was at a town hall, said: “I think [Trudeau] needs to answer for it. I think he’s got to answer the question why he did that and what does that say about what he thinks about people who, because of who they are, because of the colour of their skin, face challenges and barriers and obstacles in their life.”

Singh wanted to know who the “real Mr. Trudeau” is.

“Is it the one behind closed doors, the one when the cameras are turned off that no one sees? Is that the real Mr. Trudeau? Because more and more, it seems like it is,” Singh added.

In a message to kids of colour, Singh said: “The kids that see this image, the people that see this image, are going to think about all the times in their life that they were made fun of, that they were hurt, that they were hit, that they were insulted, that they were made to feel less because of who they are and I want to talk to those people right now.”  

One reader sent us this photo and wants to know who the “real” Jagmeet Singh is!

He added: “I want to talk to all the kids out there. You might feel like giving up on Canada. You might feel like giving up on yourselves. I want you to know that you have value, you have worth and you are loved and I don’t want you to give up on Canada and please don’t give up on yourselves.”

On Thursday, the media interviewed Sunny Khurana, one of the Sikhs flanking Trudeau in a photo from the event. Khurana, who runs a sari shop in Surrey, said that it wasn’t a big deal and he found nothing racist about it.

Sunny Khurana (left) with Trudeau at the school event.

MORE TO FOLLOW

1 COMMENT

  1. Many years ago when I was much younger I dressed up in black face to go trick-or-treating. Was I a racist then? No I was not. Am I a racist because of it? No I am not. Was my mom a racist for helping me to dress-up for halloween like that? No she wasn’t. Was Al Jolsen a racist? Was the Jack Benney radio show which had a very slow talking “sho-nuff” butler a racist radio show or was it, for the times, a humorous radio show that many, if not all radio listeners laughed and laughed at. Were all those listeners racist?

    Now if it was pointed out to me that some or many thought what I had dressed like for halloween was racist, well I appologise to them directly. I appologize now. It was not meant as a racist jab but I can understand now how it may have felt racist and why it was not appropriate. I am confident my parents would appologise about dressing me like that in my younger years but they have both passed away. I would think that anyone approached today that had laughed at a characature on radio or TV that had depicted others in a “racist” manner and while not intentionally trying to encourage or support racism would appologize for their lack of sensitivity. Would people accept our appologies for our past actions?

    Trudeau recognized what he had done was wrong and that he is sorry for what he had done. He said that he understands how what he had done is considered racist. He has profusely appologized.

    If we choose NOT to accept Justin Trudeau’s appology then everyone that has ever laughed at a racist joke or dressed for halloween in an ethnic costume that is not their ethnicity or depicted others in a manner that could be laughed at can not expect any sort of acceptance or forgiveness if they appologized for their past actions or behavior. It says that if you have now understood what you had done was wrong then that’s to bad. You did it and you can no longer be accepted as a non-prejudiced individual as you go forward with your life in today’s society. You did it and must always bear that “your prejudiced” label of having done it.

    In our society that has never rid itself of religious prejudice or racial prejudice or gender prejudice to name just three we have not heard many people say they are sorry for their past slurs and comments, including Conservative leader Sheer appologizing for his comments about the LGBTQ community or saying that he understands that his comments were wrong and he no longer harbours those prejudices.

    If Sheer appologized for what he had said and how he spoke about the LGBTQ community in the past would you accept his appology or would you still consider him, even as he is stumping to be the elected Prime Minister of Canada, as prejudiced against LGBTQ persons?

    What is it that is said is in the Bible……”Let he who has not sinned throw the first stone.”.

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