This guest post was submitted by Fargo attorney Mark Western
Today, the internet is gripped by the hysteria of knowing that the Prime Minister of Canada wore a black-faced costume in 2001, and also appeared blackfaced at some point in the 1990s. As a matter of war and peace, this is not. But it is far easier to talk about politicians in blackface than it is to talk about trade wars, interest rates, or health care. If this passes for political discourse, please count me out.
That Justin Trudeau is now the victim of the very uber-woke-ishness that he champions on the world stage is somewhat laughable. Even though the prospect of hoisting Trudeau upon his own petard is appealing, it is wrong, and it rewards bad behavior. Let’s look at this outside the passions of Twitter and the hypersensitive talking heads.
- Fact: Justin Trudeau is not a racist person. He has never advocated for any government policy anywhere in the world that treats one race of people any differently than any other race. One could argue that his government’s policies in helping indigenous Canadian peoples show that he is anything other than a “racist.”
- Fact: That Justin Trudeau wore brown-face or blackface to a party in 2001 or before does not make him a “racist.” This is no different than comedian Mike Myers starring as Indian Guru Pitka in “The Love Guru” or Will Ferrell playing a Turkish/Egyptian henchman named Mustafa in Austin Powers (“I’m still alive. I’m only very badly burned”). They were all trying to be funny, and whether you laugh at it is not dispositive of racism.
- Fact: 2001 is not 2019. Nor is it 1984, 1999 or any other year. We, as a society, have different sensitivities to attempted humor directed at racial or cultural differences than in the past. Simply put, society has changed. Justin Trudeau’s decades-old brownface antics are undoubtedly distinguishable from criminal behavior or immoral acts.
Trudeau’s costumes are regrettable but not unforgivable. Instead of endless rounds of hand wringing and mea culpas and admitting his “racism” of old, Prime Minister Trudeau should ask woke society to collectively relax and not be so quick to condemn. I’m sure that Trudeau’s opinions about judging others has changed pretty dramatically in the last 24 hours.
The only thing that you can truly control is the present. Judge Justin Trudeau on his politics, his record, and how he treats people, not some costume he wore when he was a private school teacher.