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Blackface: Beyond the Gotcha Moment

After voting day, it may be tempting to file away those headlines about Justin Trudeau wearing blackface and brownface. Elections are wild and someone’s always going to dig up some dirt, right? To think that way would be to miss this prime opportunity to dive deep to understand the roots of racism in Canada and become agents of positive change.

If you’d like to study up, may we suggest Crawford Kilian’s review of a biography of Calixa Lavallée, who wrote Canada’s national anthem — and performed in blackface for a decade. Read Professor Cheryl Thompson’s “complicated history” of Canadian blackface. View the stereotyped Simpsons character of Apu through the eyes of a South Asian. And consider the actions Ritika Goel proposes we take if we’re really serious about addressing the “disease” of racism instead of just playing gotcha.

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Now that the dust has settled and the votes are cast, The Tyee team would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all of our readers who gave their input, time and money into our election coverage. Independent, public-interest journalism is important all year round, but especially during elections. Support from thousands of readers in the Tyee Builder program means we can offer our articles for free to everyone. Thank you!

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Who’ll stand up for vets?
(click to read in context)

I served with the CAF military from 1972 to 2002. It was a good experience overall, with a few great years in there. I left with no disabilities or even hard feelings. I didn’t look back though.

We used to say: “don’t get hurt, don’t get sick.” Due to the nature of our work, we were vulnerable. We knew the deal, prepare for disappointment and a fight, if one should get injured or worse.

Every last government has treated those serve more or less the same way. If people truly cared about veterans, they wouldn’t turn it into a political “bun fight.” We used to toss buns at one another at mess dinners, a useless activity and waste of food.

Howard Gibb, in Veterans’ Group Relaunches ‘Anybody but Conservatives’ Campaign

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