When images of Prime Minister Trudeau in blackface, appeared several weeks ago, there was tremendous shock, and a frantic public and very political discussion about his racist and offensive behaviour.
Blackface is a very troubling legacy of the slavery that existed in Canada1 and the United States. Its true purpose, outside of the amusement of its primarily white audiences, is to mock the existence of Black people through stereotypical portrayals of Blackness: it makes fun of slavery and its impact, and like slavery, denigrates and dehumanizes Black people and their bodies.
However, the shock and outrage of seeing our Prime Minister in blackface, stuffed pants and all, has quickly passed. The public, the media, those on social media – on the left and the right – seem to have moved on to other issues. The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is deeply troubled by the fleeting nature of the outrage.