Here We Go Again: Justin Trudeau

Another day, another white person that most people liked being exposed for Blackface.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, was exposed for wearing Brown and Blackface on three separate occasions in the past. 

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As usual, he has issued the obligatory apology and talked about how he shoulda’ known better (cue Monica). 

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When I first heard about the story, I didn’t even bat an eye (or at least, I don’t think I did). I went on about my business. I mean, a white person doing some racist shit? At this point, it’s like your little cousin asking if you have games on your phone. That shit is gonna’ happen; probably more than once.

Trudeau, in a press conference on the matter said a lot but in part, he was reluctant when asked if what we’ve all seen were the only times he had donned brown or blackface. The Week reports that this was his answer: 

“”I am wary of being definitive about this because the recent pictures that came out I had not remembered,” Trudeau said, adding that because he comes “from a place of privilege,” he has had a “massive blindspot.” These revelations come a week after Trudeau launched his re-election campaign. –Brendan Morrow”

When I started out, I was going to write about how I’m tired of Black folks, in particular, being shocked and appalled at white people being racist or doing and saying racist things. I mean, it’s been 400 years and we didn’t get over here because our good friend Connor invited us to visit and we loved it so much we decided to stay. 

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But that piece of Trudeau’s statement is what struck me. I want to talk about this “blind spot” that whites always claim to have when they get caught in racism. 

I think it’s bullshit.

African-Americans especially are very expressive people who are strongly tied to tradition. A whole lot of what we do and know comes from learning from our foreparents. Even the things that we do and know intuitively come from this place that is inexplicably in us such that we just know what we know. 

Though I don’t believe that white people are as spiritual, you’ll never be able to convince me that they don’t know the same history we know. They’ve had no problem perpetuating that same 1619 racism generation after generation. There’s a reason that 18-year-old Rebecca knows Blackface is wrong when she gets caught on Snapchat. They know using “the N-word” to refer to Black people is wrong at a very young age and that’s why the solemn affirmation of “I’m not racist” and “it was a mistake” starts flowing almost by rote when they are exposed. There’s a reason they still skip us in line at the deli counter, or refuse to move out of our path when we have the right-of-way, or interrupt us as if we don’t exist in public spaces….exactly like their ancestors did. 

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Yes. She learned probably by the time she was 15 but here she is on her way to 50 acting like she learned yesterday. 

Just like Black people teach our kids about slavery and Jewish people teach their children about Hitler and the Holocaust, white people teach their progeny their legacy as well. Now, how they teach it is up for debate, but none of them can say that they have a “blind spot” or didn’t know better in reference to Blackface. To do so is intellectually dishonest.

I honestly believe that white people just don’t care. They’d rather ask for forgiveness because doing so is an easier game than confronting the grave underbelly of what Blackface signifies enough to punish oneself for even thinking that it might be okay to do. 

I wish for once that when a white person is busted, instead of the typical “I’m not racist/I didn’t know better” script, they’d say, “I did that shit. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway because I wanted to and thought it was funny. I have no excuse.”

If more white people were honest, I think that’d be a huge step forward for race relations. 

My Thoughts On Cancel Culture

This week (so far), there have been a couple of notable celebrity dustups that are once again forcing people to decide whether or not their fave (or would be) is #cancelled. 

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The first that comes to mind is Shane Gillis. He was hired…and then fired…by SNL when previous anti-Asian and homophobic remarks were discovered. It didn’t help that hired along with Gillis was Bowen Yang, SNL’s first East Asian cast member and an openly gay man. The comedy community has come out to defend him and express their disagreement with SNL’s decision. Gillis offered to apologize to anyone who may have been offended or hurt but also said that his comedy career requires him to take risks. 

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About two or three weeks ago, people (re)canceled Dave Chappelle because of jokes he told on his latest comedy special for Netflix. One of the jokes the stands out to me is when Chappelle said that transgender people are in a “hilarious predicament” and then mused about what would happen if he went around telling people he was Chinese in a nigga body (paraphrase) making the face similar to the one Mickey Rooney donned when he played a Chinese man in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and speaking in a stereotypically exaggerated Asian accent.

Of course, the think pieces flowed. Some loved it and thought that Chappelle offered the kind of comedy that makes us think. Others hated it, called him all kinds of -phobic, and said that “punching down” is not funny. Interestingly enough, he also addressed cancel culture in his routine. 

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Lastly, Lizzo narrowly escaped cancellation when she angered several fans after she accused a Postmates runner of stealing her order. She posted the name and pic of the person. Many people thought Lizzo was wrong for “snitching.” Some said that Lizzo was wrong because the runner works in the service industry (notoriously low-paying) and would likely be fired. Lizzo issued an apology yesterday saying that she would be more responsible with her tweeting as apparently, the young woman was doxxed by hardcore fans (unconfirmed). 

Personally, I feel like there are categories of cancellation. Someone like R. Kelly needs to not only be #cancelled but abducted, tortured, and buried alive so that he slowly feels the life leave his body due to preying on children for more than two decades. 

But I think there are a couple of things that people are forgetting. First, nobody is born “woke.” We all make mistakes and missteps. Even if what was said was written as a part of a comedy routine (Chappelle) or a line in an outrageous podcast episode (Gillis), most of us have said things that would get us #cancelled by today’s standards. 

Yes, there are entire e-annals at this point on what’s taboo these days. Believe it or not, though, there are a lot of people who do not spend 70% of their day on social media trying to learn what’s been added to the Do Not Say List every day. I’m guessing most of the people on the famous list make up a big chunk of those people. 

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Let me stop here to say that Shane Gillis used legit slurs. To me, that’s different than someone telling a joke about a certain demographic. I never knew who he was until this happened but I can definitely distinguish between him and Dave Chappelle. 

Two, and this may be a shocker, I’d actually much rather know what a person thinks or feels than for them to be tip-toeing around with a big politically correct smile on their face. If the person wishes all niggers would die, let me know; especially if they work in medicine, law enforcement, or the judiciary. Someone who tells jokes or stands on stage singing and doing the Reebok in a leotard for a living? I really couldn’t care less unless I’m such a fan that my hard (oh so hard)-earned money may have gone to them at some point. 

Three, there are other people you still like and have not yet #cancelled who say and believe the same things (if not worse) that you’ve #cancelled other people for. Soooo….is it that you don’t like people thinking and speaking that way or is it that you don’t want them expressing it in a public forum? 

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***Note: evaluation of your WQ (Woke Quotient) is dependent upon how you answered that question.

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The truth is, if you wanted to cancel everybody who says or believes -ist things, you’d likely quit your job, move out of your neighborhood, and settle in an area uninhabited by other humans somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Your 100% politically correct friend would be a dolphin…or a shark.                                                                                                                        

I still use the word “crazy” and I don’t bristle when I hear “the r-word.” I guess that makes me cancel-worthy or at least complicit. *shrug* I think we all could use a crash course in managing our expectations of our fellow humans. 

What’s It Worth? The Colorado Baker is Being Sued Again and I Honestly Don’t Know Why

By now, we’ve all heard of the Colorado bakery that was sued for declining to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. If you haven’t (you really should read more), Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop was sued by Charlie Craig and David Mullins for refusing to make a cake for their wedding citing his (Phillip’s) Christian faith. This happened in the summer of 2012.

Of course, the couple sued and after various wins and appeals, a Christian organization (Alliance Defending Freedom) took up the case on Phillips’ behalf and got the case to the Supreme Court. In July of 2018, the bakery owner won with the SCOTUS ruling 7-2 in his favor. It was determined that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not apply the Constitution with religious neutrality in its evaluation of the case.

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Fast forward to July of 2019. This cakeshop owner was again sued by a transgender individual, Autumn Scardina, for declining to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. This will be the 2nd time Scardina has sued him, first through the same Colorado commission and now, with Scardina’s own legal team.

That makes three times that this bakery owner has been sued; basically, for the same thing.

This time, the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case (I don’t blame them) and Phillips’ position is that Scardina is trying to rehash something that has already been settled.

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It should be noted that Autumn Scardina is an attorney, called in to order the cake, volunteered that this birthday cake was to celebrate gender transition and after the employee informed Scardina that they did not do gender transition cakes, Scardina called back more than once to the point where the bakery allegedly hung up on Scardina.

There is no final outcome on this current case yet.

Now, regardless of how you feel about any of the players in the aforementioned rundown, if you’re anything like me, you have to be wondering if any of this is worth it?

I am not defending the bakery (I mean, I’d make a cake to celebrate a worm if it pays…and I HATE worms). With that said, once the SCOTUS ruled in his favor over a same-sex wedding cake, it seems like that’d be a loud and clear message to other individuals in certain demographics that they may have an issue getting a cake celebrating something that goes against what we all know is evangelical Christian philosophy. I mean if gay marriage was too much, surely saying that you’re a man who feels like a woman on the inside is a non-starter.

At first, I thought the ploy was to try to sue this bakery owner into the poorhouse just to make a point. Then, I thought that it was a “get money” scheme. You know, walk into the bakery you know is discriminatory, have them discriminate against you, sue, become social media famous, win and buy the Range Rover of your dreams.

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But why? Lawsuits are a headache. They take time and money; no matter which side you’re on. Who would purposely place that type of stress upon themselves; especially with a Supreme Court precedent in place?

A bigger question I have is, what’s with this zeal to give people who you feel are discriminatory or hateful your money? If the bus boycott taught us anything, it’s that when businesses LOSE money, they are more likely to change. If money talks and bullshit walks, what’s up with being so desperate to make a “point” by wanting to… pay? I won’t even mention the free publicity that this bakery owner has received due to being sued twice by someone who likely doesn’t have snowball’s chance in hell of getting anything out of it.

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This newest cake is being called a birthday cake…for the birth of Scardina’s new gender. Scardina’s lawyers are trying to claim that when Phillips said in the SCOTUS case that he would sell any of his items to the LGBTQ community but that the religious symbolism of a wedding was what caused him to decline, he was lying to the public. Considering what the “birthday cake” is for, that sounds like a reach. However, I’m neither a lawyer nor a judge (judgmental, yes).

Without accusing of Scardina of anything, this seems…suspicious. I plan to be on the lookout for the resolution of this case.

My Thoughts on Jay-Z’s Thoughts

So, this week, the internet (aka Black Twitter) became big mad about rapper and businessman, Jay-Z, expressing his thoughts on police brutality. There is a video where Jay-Z was on a panel of speakers and he said (paraphrase) that when you’re raised in a home with a single mother, you learn to disrespect authority because it’s as if you are the man of the house. Because of this, when you find yourself in an encounter with the police, you let that disrespect flow and people end up getting hurt.

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Now, anybody who has been on the internet for at least 3 days anytime between 2013 and today knows that one of the things you DO NOT do is even insinuate that people who are brutalized by the police had a part in their own brutalization. I mean, unless you’re one of those people who simply do not give a damn what selfies with fonts think about you (me and Jay-Z apparently), there are certain things that you just don’t allow to pass your lips.

This comes right after Jay-Z, less than two weeks ago, signed a deal with the NFL and seemed to suggest that Colin Kaepernick’s protest was obsolete and it’s time to move on. So, Jay-Z was already in the corner with Black folks and this panel comment was basically the moment where someone tells you to go outside and pick your own switch from a tree before they whip your behind.

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First of all, I’m not a rap fan. I know who Jay-Z is because…well, obviously. But, I don’t have the emotional attachment that a lot of people (seem) to have to him or any of his personas. I had no preconceived notions about where he stands on political issues. Yes, I’d read that he grew up poor and sold drugs to get by and yes, I know that he’s filthy rich. Neither of those pieces of information abused me of how I thought he should feel about anything. I make that point because among “us,” though we holler about not being a monolith, there is an underlying belief that since we share a phenotype, we simply MUST share similar (if not identical) life philosophies. That’s where I think the outrage is coming from, to be quite honest.

If Jay-Z were a person of another race saying the same thing (and there have been plenty), Black folks would be upset but at the end of the day, they’d chalk it up to regular degular racism. But when someone from “our” group veers from what we think they ought to think or do, it becomes a way bigger issue (ask Omarosa).

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With that said, I’m not surprised. Maybe the old Jay-Z who had to slang rock to survive (I guess) would have thought there is nearly no circumstance under which police should use deadly force. But, alas, people evolve and there’s no better evolution agent than an 8 or 9-figure income. This new…or richer…Jay-Z may feel differently.

If it’s any consolation, there are some considerations that may lower the community-imposed sentence against him. For one, he may have said what he felt would be most acceptable in that setting when his real opinion involves much more nuance. Black people are known to self-censor in the presence of white people. We could also consider that fact that for all his be-bop and hip-hop, he’s still a man who is nearly 50 years old. The average age of the outrage machine is what? 27?

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Perhaps, he’s about to drop a new album of phat beats and was looking for free publicity.

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I’m not defending him but the truth is that a 50-year-old man and a member of the #triggered generation are going to bump heads on a lot of topics. Maybe Black Twitter’s Come-To-Jesus meeting is what he needed to re-evaluate his position.

I will say that his comments were interesting to me considering the time he spent on his friend Meek Mills’ case but often, our opinions on a topic are colored by the players in the scenario.

This week, I’ll be waiting for the myriad “think pieces” about this and some kind of statement from the man of the hour (you just knooooow it’s coming) “clarifying” his stance. Until then, I’ll continue laughing at the reactions of the fans who apparently never knew him.

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