Sometimes Makeup Is Just Makeup

By apologizing, Trudeau merely confirms his fatuousness.

2019-09-20

My observations about the recent controversy surrounding Justin Trudeau’s use of makeup.

Sommaire en français Quelques remarques au sujet de la récente controverse à propos du maquillage utilisé par Justin Trudeau.

Canada’s national bimbo and Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has been in hot water recently because of several photos which came to light showing him wearing black or brown makeup. One of the photos shows a young Trudeau as Aladdin, wearing a turban and heavy, dark makeup; another shows him made up to imitate Harry Belafonte for a performance of one of Belafonte’s hit songs. There are a number of observations that can be made about the controversy which has ensued:

  • The intensity of the controversy is outrageous, totally out of proportion to the triviality of the incidents in question.
  • It is nevertheless poetic justice that Trudeau—a darling of the identitarian left—should now be a target of that movement’s ire and condemnation.
  • The controversy is an example of imposing American (i.e. USA) standards outside the USA, showing just how Canada is so overwhelmingly colonized culturally by our neighbours to the south.
  • The whole hullabaloo illustrates, yet again, the damage done by the identitarian, intersectional, regressive pseudo-left—that pretentious and retrograde movement which has almost destroyed progressive politics in several countries and in particular here in Canada—and the necessity of doing what we can to reverse that damage.

Given the history of slavery and extreme anti-black racism in the USA, it is no surprise that blackface is now considered unacceptable in that country.

First of all, it is important to understand what blackface is all about. According to the Wikipedia article on blackface, it is an old theatrical tradition in the USA, involving a non-black person wearing black makeup in order to represent a caricature of a black person. The article goes on to explain that today blackface is “generally considered offensive and disrespectful” in the USA—a fair description, although perhaps understated. Given the history of slavery and extreme anti-black racism in the USA, it is no surprise that blackface is now considered unacceptable in that country.

Dany Laferrière is a Québécois writer, born in Haiti, and member of the Académie française. In a recent comment on the Trudeau photos, he comments that true blackface does indeed involve ridiculing and dehumanising people of black-African origin, a tradition from an era when Afro-Americans were considered to be little more than chattel. Often, the makeup was applied leaving some pale skin around the eyes, making them look menacing, while the lips were often exaggerated, to augment the caricatural effect.

However, that is not the case with the Trudeau photos. The first involved Aladdin, a fictional character from a dream-filled tale taken from Arab literature, nothing to do with Afro-Americans. The second was an imitation of a singer who happened to be black: there is nothing wrong or offensive about such role-playing. To imitate Harry Belafonte, Trudeau donned costume and makeup. Such impersonation might even be considered positive, displaying a desire to be the person one is trying to depict. According to Laferrière—and I agree completely—Trudeau’s behaviour was not racist and there was no need for him to apologize.

It is foolish to interpret every action involving blacks through the distorted lens of the traumatisms of American history.

But Trudeau did apologize, saying that he now sees that what he did was racist. He thus validates the indentitarian left’s toxic obsession with race, seeing racism everywhere (except where it really exists, such as the anti-Québécois ethnic bigotry so blatant among anti-secularists). I don’t know where the Trudeau photos were taken, but it was not in Alabama or Mississippi. It is foolish to interpret every action involving blacks through the distorted lens of the traumatisms of American history. As Laferrière points out, Trudeau’s apology is a matter of partisan politics, an affair of white politicians who have to keep up appearances for electoral and popularity purposes.

Trudeau himself is one of the most avid practitioners of the highly dubious politics of those who are now criticizing his so-called “racism” (or excusing him for behaviour they would condemn mercilessly in any politician they do not like). Trudeau has not been at all shy about using such gratuitious accusations against Quebeckers who disagree with his opposition to secularism, even though that issue has nothing to do with “race.” At least makeup has the possibility of being relevant to the issue of racism, but in this case it is not.

Alas, poor Justin, stung by his own stinger, target of the disapproval of his erstwhile adoring allies. Trudeau is not a racist; he is an airhead. He gets no sympathy from me.


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