How Judgmental Will Canadians Be of Justin Trudeau in Blackface/Brownface?

A story is breaking of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, having donned brownface at a private school Arabian Nights dance where he once taught, and blackface at the same school to sing “Day O”.

CBC story

BBC story

A devastating scandal to Justin Trudeau and his many fans, for sure! However, how devastating it might prove to be will depend on how judgmental Canadians are on this matter. Perhaps equally telling will be how hypocritical they might be. It’s easy to condemn others who may exhibit similar behaviours to oneself. It’s not like racism isn’t widespread in Canada, meaning a lot of people perpetrate it, intentionally and unintentionally. Perhaps one hadn’t donned blackface or brownface, but what about other acts of discrimination and racism one might have committed that might have had far bigger impact? They may not be as symbolic as donning blackface or brownface, or as public, but they may have had more harm.

I’m NOT saying one should let go and forgive Justin Trudeau for this. Definitely not! I’m saying to put it in context, then decide. And I’m curious to see how many Canadians might do that via the reactions and change in poll numbers, though it won’t all be directly related to this incident, of course. It’ll just be speculative, but definitely something to think about pending what else I hear the rest of the election campaign days about Justin Trudeau and the other candidates.

As a scientist thinking type, though, I always come into everything with a theory. On this matter, my theory is that it’ll be a tough storm that’ll blow over soon enough, with memories like that of a weak hurricane. The Internet will assure it’ll never be forgotten, but Canadians are globally known for being “sorry”, and appreciating others who are “sorry”, and Justin Trudeau is “deeply sorry” about this. For starters, Canadians are probably “sorry” to have seen this already, and “sorry” that their Prime Minister is presenting himself as such to the world. 🙂

Whether Justin Trudeau wins or loses this election, I don’t think it’ll be on this incident, or at least not clearly on it. I don’t think it’ll be a turning point in the campaign. We Canadians are not as condemning as our American neighbours, who don’t need to be talking about our leaders’ faults, ya know?

We’ll see if I’m right or wrong on the matter in five weeks or so.


Vocabulary: Truth Default Theory (TDT)

Truth Default Theory (TDT)

Truth Default Theory is a communication theory which predicts and explains the use of veracity and deception detection in humans. This theory gets its name from its central idea which is the truth-default state. This idea suggests that people presume others to be honest because they either don’t think of deception as a possibility during communicating or because there is insufficient evidence lending them unable to prove they are being deceived.


For MUCH more information, and some stunning examples, check out this podcast episode of Revisionist History, called the Queen of Cuba.

Vocabulary: Invasion Sports

Invasion sports

Sports where you have to try to get a “ball” and/or person past another person.


More formally…

Invasion sports are team games in which the purpose is to invade the opponent’s territory while scoring points and keeping the opposing team’s points to a minimum, and all within a defined time period.


But I like it less because points are generally a given, so is getting more points or minimizing points against, to try to win, along with a time period. But that’s organized sports for you. You can just play and go with the first definition I have.


From a long and engaging episode of the Rich Roll podcast with remarkable research by David Epstein on why generalists beat specialists. You have to  listen to this research in this age of hyper-specialization that may be good for some niche things, but leaves us worse off overall. A balance can and should be struck, as with everything, but if you want to be the best you can be, go be more of a generalist than a specialist.