Sorry, Trudizzle, but this is bad. And the Rational National breaks it all down:
Once is a lapse; twice is suspicious; thrice is a pattern. Any which way, this is not a good look.
Especially not when you consider his less than stellar track record on such varied issues as selling arms to the Saudis, the government’s continued shitty attitude towards indigenous people, and the entire Trudeau cabinet’s excessive willingness to kowtow to the horrid man in orangeface who squats in the White House. (And that’s not even touching on his installation of an actual Nazi’s granddaughter, who defends her fascist propagandist grandfather as a mere “patriot”, as his foreign minister!)
If we wonder at all the fascism that’s currently burbling in our own politics, we need to look closer at our long and tangled relationship to those just south of us, whose overtly racist minstrel shows (which were performed up here as well) form the basis of this continued ignorance we’re seeing on gross display right now. And if we wonder why Canada’s relationship with Latin America is deteriorating, and mining-company exploitation there is increasing, we need only look at the attitudes displayed at the top.
It would be nice to assume that our usual throw-the-bums-out election cycle would fix this, but that wouldn’t be the case if the party currently waiting in the wings were to win. In fact, things would get even worse.
Remember, Andrew Fucking Scheer is cut from the same cloth as Stephen Fucking Harper, who tried to implement a “barbaric cultural practices” snitchline that would see people expelled from the country for wearing in earnest what Justin Trudeau wore in ill-advised jest. And actual white supremacists are stumping for him, running his campaign for him, and even campaigning as candidates for him. So don’t be looking to the big blue C for racial decency. They’re even more racist than the Trudeau Liberals, and they’re looking to deepen institutional racism at a governmental level, where it will be that much harder to eradicate in future.
Jagmeet Singh, an actual brown guy whose turban is a custom, not a costume, says it the best in the video. If anything, he’s too kind. I think he may have missed a perfect opportunity to criticize and warn against Scheer and his Conservatives as well, but we can always hope for subsequent, stronger declarations if any of them ever decides to cock their doodle-doo over this embarrassment. He better hop to it, though; his relative quiet over the Greens and their racist raiding attempt in New Brunswick (as well as Elizabeth May’s declarations that she would help prop up the Tories if it came to that) doesn’t bode well.
Institutional racism is nothing new up here; it’s the basis for much of our current model of policing, especially where the RCMP are the main police force (and the local Third World’s kept on reservations you don’t see, as Bruce Cockburn famously sang). Remember, at one point, there was slavery in Canada too, although it wasn’t called Canada then. Indigenous genocide was the order of the day, and few said anything less than supportive about it. Evil was banal. Even when the Underground Railroad was operational here, and the land was becoming a haven for those escaping slavery, racism was still a lingering scourge; Viola Desmond found that out the hard way.
Not so long ago, racism was overt up here, complete with exclusion laws and segregation of public spaces, and the uneasy “calm” was peppered with race-riots and lynchings, such as the infamous Greektown massacre of 1918 or the Nazi riots at Christie Pits. It was quite possible to be of European descent here, and still not be considered “white” by the Anglo-Franco powers-that-were. Racism used to be everywhere, and pointedly obvious, when Canada was young. Now, at best, it’s just lurking behind our famous politeness, glibly glossed over with an “I don’t see color”, or something to that effect. But there are still always those moments when someone decides that blacking his face is just harmless fun, maybe even a tradition, and that it doesn’t do to be too “politically correct” when there’s fun to be had (and it’s not considered nice to question at whose expense it might come).
Worse than those moments, though, is the racism one doesn’t see, the kind that’s built right into our system. And the kind that might get worse, not better, if the other big racist party gets into power up here, and starts putting exclusion laws back on the books in whatever weaselly words they care to use.
If you think Justin Trudizzle’s blackface is not a good look, you’re right. But if you at the same time don’t think Canada is “ready” for a brown Prime Minister who wears a turban, you might want to take a harder look at yourself and see how much of that unreadiness actually lies in you.
And don’t think the biggest racists in our political system won’t use this to their own advantage, for however long it serves them. It was they who leaked the embarrassing video, so we already know they’re planning to make hay off it. Whether it’s you not voting for the party of the brown guy, or you not voting at all. Either way, those racists are rubbing their lily-white hands and smirking at this ugly incident because, at least for now, it makes them look so much better than they are.