Blackface and brownface in Canada: a history

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Pondering

quizzical wrote:

i think the whole blackface gotcha thing by white people is just using PoC to further agendas and is a form of racism by exploitation in itself.

Agreed. 

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

i think the whole blackface gotcha thing by white people is just using PoC to further agendas and is a form of racism by exploitation in itself.

Wow. Thanks for making that point, quizzical. You managed to shut me up and make me think. Not easy.

voice of the damned

quizzical wrote:

i think the whole blackface gotcha thing by white people is just using PoC to further agendas and is a form of racism by exploitation in itself.

Okay, but where do we draw the line between "legitimately drawing attention to racist acts commited by people who want to lead the country" and "cynically exploiting PoCs to further an agenda"?

Obviously, something like the blackface scandal has the potential to turn PoC voters away from the Liberals, and toward other parties, and maybe that's the only reason the source released it to the press. But what would we prefer to have happen instead? Blatantly racist actions by politicians go unreported, so as not to feed the cynical manipulation of the electorate?

 

quizzical

are people of "colour" out there looking for politicians racist transgressions of 20 years ago?

 

Pondering

voice of the damned wrote:

quizzical wrote:

i think the whole blackface gotcha thing by white people is just using PoC to further agendas and is a form of racism by exploitation in itself.

Okay, but where do we draw the line between "legitimately drawing attention to racist acts commited by people who want to lead the country" and "cynically exploiting PoCs to further an agenda"?

Obviously, something like the blackface scandal has the potential to turn PoC voters away from the Liberals, and toward other parties, and maybe that's the only reason the source released it to the press. But what would we prefer to have happen instead? Blatantly racist actions by politicians go unreported, so as not to feed the cynical manipulation of the electorate?

 

I think it should be used to draw attention to all of the ongoing racial injustices in Canada and demand that something be done about that. 

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

are people of "colour" out there looking for politicians racist transgressions of 20 years ago?

Spot on. Thanks, quizzical.

And Cons aren't using these incidents to oppose racism or defend POC or anything of the sort. It's a bonanza for them (they hope), proving that JT is a hypocrite, "unfit to be PM", etc. The same rallying cry they've been using all along.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Writer/podcaster BLM-Toronto Co-founder Sandy Hudson on Justin Trudeau's blackface escapade in Now Magazine.

quizzical

it's a good article but it is still a product of white people digging through 20 year old archives to play a gotcha politics.

whether Trudesu is racist or not doesn't play into the racist action of exploitation f a black face find to play gotcha by white people. 

her whole article happened because of the initial racist action of exploitation of "black face" and persons  of colour treatment.

no people of  colour are out there digging around  looking for examples of white people being racist 20 years ago they live it every damn moment of the day.

it's such a fkn exploitive racist action by whites and whoever did the digging needs to apologize too, not just Trudeau for doing it.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

It's called connecting the dots between Justin Trudeau's rich frat boy racism and his racist/colonialist policies while running the government.   There is continuity between the two.

quizzical

there's a "continuity" between it all.

not saying Trudeau is not a privileged white boy whose a racist hypocrite. he is.  but so is seeking out gotcha pics to use for political purposes. 

Misfit Misfit's picture

quizzical wrote:

are people of "colour" out there looking for politicians racist transgressions of 20 years ago?

 

Yes. Two of the three journalists who broke the news story to Time magazine are women of colour.

Yes, it is very hypocritical of Andrew Scheer to exploit this issue for his own benefit especially when he associates with known racist groups. However, there are some people of colour who really don’t care and there are other people of colour who are deeply hurt and offended by what he did. You do not speak for all people of colour.

quizzical

Misfit they broke the story they were given the info.

and don't get me wrong i think the conversations happening about this are important. and they couldn't be happening without the pics.

and no doubt some PoC are deeply offended now they know. but it was apparent to many well before the exploitation of these pics by Scheer.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Here is another perspective from a woman of colour.

article

Misfit Misfit's picture

quizzical wrote:

Misfit they broke the story they were given the info.

and don't get me wrong i think the conversations happening about this are important. and they couldn't be happening without the pics.

and no doubt some PoC are deeply offended now they know. but it was apparent to many well before the exploitation of these pics by Scheer.

 

Actually, Anna Kambhampaty, one of the three reporters who broke the story wide open claims that she heard rumours of Trudeau’s brown face and actually went out to actually hunt down a yearbook with the picture of Trudeau in it.

Article

quizzical

Misfit wrote:

quizzical wrote:

Misfit they broke the story they were given the info.

and don't get me wrong i think the conversations happening about this are important. and they couldn't be happening without the pics.

and no doubt some PoC are deeply offended now they know. but it was apparent to many well before the exploitation of these pics by Scheer.

 

Actually, Anna Kambhampaty, one of the three reporters who broke the story wide open claims that she heard rumours of Trudeau’s brown face and actually went out to actually hunt down a yearbook with the picture of Trudeau in it.

Article

ya no try again misfit.

 

https://m.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/michael-adamson-trudeau-blackface-photo_ca_5d8e69cee4b0019647a88a29?ncid=other_facebook_eucluwzme5k&utm_campaign=share_facebook&guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cDovL20uZmFjZWJvb2suY29tLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADWHZcLMQmTcDZgS09vSJhBIvJbBOzN_LvbDkO--dAGxJqjXMw2C5aruHfQpap3K8HOSwxIEg-AXJW0WeyJ4OcF2euRgNo7vNkxGF__OJhoQk3aXV9JXkKfokeIM7zxjW1MEkI2p3-zrsdAqA7dzp4wblkfQIwYLjreU7u-W6VkT

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

quizzical wrote:

Misfit wrote:

quizzical wrote:

Misfit they broke the story they were given the info.

and don't get me wrong i think the conversations happening about this are important. and they couldn't be happening without the pics.

and no doubt some PoC are deeply offended now they know. but it was apparent to many well before the exploitation of these pics by Scheer.

 

Actually, Anna Kambhampaty, one of the three reporters who broke the story wide open claims that she heard rumours of Trudeau’s brown face and actually went out to actually hunt down a yearbook with the picture of Trudeau in it.

Article

ya no try again misfit.

 

https://m.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/michael-adamson-trudeau-blackface-photo_ca_5d8e69cee4b0019647a88a29?ncid=other_facebook_eucluwzme5k&utm_campaign=share_facebook&guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cDovL20uZmFjZWJvb2suY29tLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADWHZcLMQmTcDZgS09vSJhBIvJbBOzN_LvbDkO--dAGxJqjXMw2C5aruHfQpap3K8HOSwxIEg-AXJW0WeyJ4OcF2euRgNo7vNkxGF__OJhoQk3aXV9JXkKfokeIM7zxjW1MEkI2p3-zrsdAqA7dzp4wblkfQIwYLjreU7u-W6VkT

 

Thank you Quiz for that very interesting and relevant article. I think a lot of people are interested in finding out how the yearbook picture showed up at Time magazine.

But the very same situation happened. She was told of the existence of the photo of Trudeau and she asked to see the photo herself and would have had to ask for permission to use Adamson’s yearbook. So that does constitute actively researching a story after getting the scoop.

voice of the damned

I can honestly say that if someone told me they had a photo of a high-ranking politician doing blackface, and the politician in question were not from The Party I Support Religiously, I would ask for a copy of the photo, and, if given permission(and maybe legal advice that I wouldn't be sued), would post it on one of my regular on-line haunts. And if the mods told me that I wasn't allowed to post it, I would start my own blog or social-media page for the purpose of posting it there.

And if it WERE a politician from The Party I Support Religiously, not sure what I'd do. I guess it might depend whether I would consider myself more of a journalist than a partisan in that instance. Could probably go either way, depending.

Is there anyone reading this who can say that, if put into the same situation, their response would be radically different from what I've outlined above?

Misfit Misfit's picture

I will self disclose. I wore blackface for Halloween when I was ten or eleven years old, I can’t remember which grade. 

My mother and the school principal’s wife were very close friends. They were both NDP and feminists. They were both actively involved with the status of women. My dad considered them both members of SPECTER, same difference to him, but anyway, I digress. 

My mother thought it would be a unique idea to dress me up as a Jamaican woman for Hallowe’en. I hated the idea but I had no original ideas of my own that year so I deferred to my mother’s better judgement.

I don’t know if Dorothy was over at our place when I got home from school because the principal told Dorothy what I wore to school or if Dorothy was over at our place just because. Anyway, Dorothy was totally aghast when she saw what I wore to school.

She told Mom that my costume was racist. My mother told Dorothy that there was no racist intention involved. I remember Dorothy mentioning racist multiple times. I know that she used the term “cultural appropriation”. I remember my mother defending herself that she wasn’t racist. I remember feeling very loyal to my mother because I knew that my mother wasn’t racist.

After Dorothy left, I wanted to go out trick or treating. My mother told me to take off my costume. I told Mom that I needed to wear my costume to go out trick or treating. Mom told me that I wasn’t going out trick or treating that I was staying at home.

All my life I held a grudge against my mother for not allowing me to go out that night. All she said to me was that I was too old to go out, and it made me upset because everyone else my age went out that night except for me.

In my first year of university I met a lovely black lady who became a very close friend of mine. I told her about my blackface incident and she said that yes it was racist but that it was ok to her because she knew that my mother and I were not racist and that there was no malicious intent.

My mother passed away four years ago so I cannot ask her. It just dawned on me the other day that my mother told me to take off the costume and stay home that Hallowe’en night because my costume was racist and offensive. This incident with Justin Trudeau helped give me some closure that I needed.

My grudge against my mother as a kid was that I could not go out and have fun that night like all the other kids my age could. As an adult it wasn’t the denial of fun but the not understanding why she acted so mean to me. Her refusal to let me go seemed irrational and I didn’t know what I had done wrong to have made her punish me like that. 

I have looked at it objectively through a different lens and my mother made the correct decision. My costume was racist, distasteful, and offensive. It would have been morally wrong for me to have gone out trick or treating that night, and I am now proud of my mother for making me stay home.

I am also stunned that it took forty years for me to figure this all out but I am glad that I finally did.

I also want to let everyone know that I am deeply sorry for having dressed up in blackface. It is not something that I am proud of. It is very embarrassing to have to admit that I did.

quizzical

misfit thanks for the disclosure hope it helped you. 

my point is they weren't out there searching for it. it was disclosed  to them.  you can mince what happened all you want but the catalyst was still a white man.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I think politics is a dirty slimy business and that brown face is racist. So what that the Conservatives dropped this nasty on the Liberals, has everyone forgot the first week where everyday the Conservatives had to respond to something dredged up on one of their candidates. I hate it but frankly the Liberals and Trudeau had it coming.

voice of the damned

The fact is, in our adversarial system, when we find out unflattering stuff about one party, it is more often than not because another party brought it to our attention. (Independent media can sometimes do the job as well, though they are often assisted by partisan operators).

So, basically, if you think it's a good thing that we know about Trudeau's blackface antics, you pretty much have to accept that the only way we were likely to find out about it is for Conservatives to draw our attention to it, since no one else seemed willing or able to do so.

And, even if you prefer that the Conservatives don't release the photo, that's not gonna dissuade them from doing it, so the whole debate about whether or not they should is kind of moot.  

quizzical

VoD i agree it's moot Conservatives are going to be racist exploiters no matter what.

but that doesn't mean it can't be pointed out for what it is and to indicate it shouldn't be happening.

Bacchus

I will point out that usually journalists are 'told' something by somebody and then choose to dig deeper or research it. It is really not sinister that it happened in this case. It happens in pretty much all cases of whistleblowing/gotcha stores from Svend Robinsons thefts to trudeaus blackface

voice of the damned

Bacchus wrote:

I will point out that usually journalists are 'told' something by somebody and then choose to dig deeper or research it. It is really not sinister that it happened in this case. It happens in pretty much all cases of whistleblowing/gotcha stores from Svend Robinsons thefts to trudeaus blackface

Like I said, everyone in this case has pretty much behaved as you would expect anyone with the same interests and occupations to behave: Paritsans want to get the media to reveal damaging secrets about their opponents, and the media is happy to oblige.   

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Misfit wrote:

I will self disclose. I wore blackface for Halloween when I was ten or eleven years old, I can’t remember which grade. 

The difference is that you were a child when this happened.   And I don't know how long ago it was.

And, you didn't grow up to run a country with 35 or so million in it.

Justin Trudeau was 29 years old when his last incident happened...and it was only in 2001, when it was well established that blackface/brownface was racist.    And, Justin Trudeau is the son of a former Prime Minister, went to expensive private schools, never had to worry about student debt and ended up teaching in an expensive private school...and later went on to end up running a country.

For the last four years he has been in a position to change the racist/colonialist narrative, particularly towards Indigenous peoples.     He hasn't.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

My incident happened in the late 70s. 77/78.

I’ll also add that when Mom found out that my costume was racist she made me take it off and stay home.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Bacchus wrote:

I will point out that usually journalists are 'told' something by somebody and then choose to dig deeper or research it. It is really not sinister that it happened in this case. It happens in pretty much all cases of whistleblowing/gotcha stores from Svend Robinsons thefts to trudeaus blackface

Svend's story was neither a whistle blower nor a gotcha moment in journalism. Your comment is a nasty little smear in the middle of a thread on smearing politicians.

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