Analysis of Justin Trudeau’s Apology on the Blackface Incident

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In the recent time, the leader of the Canadian Liberal Party and the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became a highly controversial figure. On September 18th, photos and videos of Justin Trudeau wearing blackface during his time teaching in a high school in Vancouver, were leaked into the web. The leak came from the West Point Grey Academy 2001 yearbook, in which he can be found wearing blackface makeup and a turban. Later the same day, on the first conference after the incident, Justin Trudeau admitted that this was not the only time he has worn a blackface makeup, saying: “When I was in high school, I, dressed up at a talent show and sang Day O, with, with makeup on”. Previously he was playing the role of Aladdin in the play Arabian Nights in the West Point Grey Academy end of the year gala.

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During the conference, Trudeau seams very frustrated and unsure of his words. He didn’t have clear answers for many of the questions and also had very similar answers to many questions. His body language showed that he didn’t have much confidence in what he was saying and used different ways to protect himself, such as shoulder shrugging. His facial expressions and word choice show him not having a strong opinion and not putting much meaning into his words. There were some questionable statements by him as well, such as after reporter’s question “Why didn’t you tell people about this?” his response “I’m talking about it now”. This is not an expected answer and definitely not the answer the reporter was hoping for. Many questions tried to get election-related information but never got answered. Trudeau used simple phrases such as “I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn’t have done it. I should have known better”, “I regret it deeply. I am deeply sorry that I did that, I should have known better. Uh, but I didn’t. And I did that and I shouldn’t have done that”, “I didn’t consider it a racist action at the time, but now we know better and this was something that was unacceptable and yes, racist” and many other phrases to avoid some uncomfortable questions. Most of those questions were about resigning and Trudeau never gave a clear answer to it. He understands that giving an answer to this question will put his future as a Prime Minister under risk. All questions regarding his hypocrisy were also never answered clearly.

One of the examples is after reporter’s question “If one of your Candidates had come out with one of these photos during a campaign, would an apology had been enough for you to allow them to stay?” his response was “We would make that decision on a case-by-case basis and look at all the factors involved”. That is an example of poor literary choice because by trying to avoid an uncomfortable question, he just shown a sign of hypocrisy. Overall his apology doesn’t seem like anything but an attempt to keep his post after the upcoming election. Many questions,that he decided not to answer to keep his public figure in a better shape, were important to the people, who got offended by the blackface incident. His replies and body language showed uncertainty his own words. Taking in account other incidents, which included Trudeau making public apologies, such as “the turning away of the Komagata Maru, the treatment of children in residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador, the federal government's discrimination against LGBT Canadians, the hanging of six Tsilhqot'in chiefs, the refusal to accept the the asylum requests of more than 900 German Jews, the mistreatment of Inuit with tuberculosis and the conviction of Chief Poundmaker”. Having so many misconduct during his time as a Prime Minister make his new apologies not that valuable and believable anymore. This reminds me of the story about “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, one of the Aesop's Fables.

This incident is a worldwide problem. For a long time Canada is considered to be the land of freedom and accept people as they are. When the country’s Prime Minister gets exposed with such photos, outside world starts to consider whether or not Canada is really what they thought it is. Trudeau is relying on people trust. His arguments are not specific and his excuses are hypocritical. Many of the questions he preferred not to answer at all and gave a filler phrase like “I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn’t have done it. I should have known better”, “I regret it deeply”. Especially after the governor of Virginia was found taking pictures in blackface not too long ago and Trudeau didn’t think that telling Canadians about his own situation was necessary. People found his apology hard to believe and this is already noticeable in the 2019 Canadian election, where Liberal party is now tied with the Conservatives, when before the incident this was hardly imaginable. The consequences for Justin Trudeau and his party are unavoidable. Even though he stayed calm for he most of the conference and didn’t give any controversial answers, it’s hard to believe him after so many misconducts and apologies.

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