The boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not are changing fast, so for many people today, scandals like the one involving Canadian PM are not shocking anymore. The stories of people who did something in the past, which is highly unacceptable today, keep on occupying the news. However, when an incident concerns the current head of state, the news obtains more interest from the general public. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to respond to the opinion piece by Molly Roberts in the Washington Post regarding the brownface scandal around Trudeau.
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The whole piece portrays Trudeau as an “affluenza teen” who committed a completely wrongful act but tried to justify himself by the lack of underprivileged experience. Roberts makes a critical point which in many ways, reflects the absurd reality of the gap between people from different social groups. At the same time, it points to the reality of racism, intentional or unintentional, which still permeates even quite progressive societies like Canadian. She also mentions some of Trudeau’s problematic political moves, such as making a tattoo based on the First Nations designs and approving a natural gas terminal against the will of the same First Nations. There is undoubtedly a sense of hypocrisy on Trudeau’s side, but is there a politician who has never committed this sin?
Although there are several points with which one would agree in the piece by Roberts, any final conclusion may seem hasty and overly judgmental. Regarding Trudeau’s apologies, it is apparent that the action is prudent. The man “copped a plea” and also came out with other negative things he did in the past. The tone of his apologies is a controversial factor that depends on one’s general opinion of Trudeau. Even though he made several mistakes, it was almost two decades ago, and it is debatable whether this is something he would do in the modern context.
The fact is that in the digital era, people are no longer allowed to forget, especially if a person holds such an important office and goes for re-election. On the one hand, to say that Trudeau is a victim of circumstances is wrong, but, on the other hand, to doubt his intentions and overall performance based on this scandal is probably a bridge too far.