Trudeau’s blackface debacle does not mean that Canada is racist

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in one of a number of blackface photos that have been leaked to the public. Courtesy West Point Grey Academy
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in one of a number of blackface photos that have been leaked to the public. Courtesy West Point Grey Academy

I write to you in reference to Cheryl Thompson’s opinion piece Trudeau and blackface: it’s time to stop a practice that’s as Canadian as hockey (September 26).

I grew up in western Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. The only time I saw blackface was on American television and the channel was swiftly changed anytime it came on. My white family didn’t discuss it, we simply knew it was wrong. My experience is the polar opposite of that described by Dr Thompson.

No nation is perfect, including Canada. I came of age at a time when Canada was declared bilingual and the government introduced Multiculturalism Canada as a ministry, as a national priority, to strengthen social cohesion in a rapidly growing country proactively seeking immigrants.

We learned to embrace diversity, to focus on that which unites us rather than that which divides us, to understand that difference is neither right nor wrong, simply different and to respect it. Those were important lessons that have become a core part of who I am and why the UAE is so appealing to me. The UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance is reminiscent of the office of Multiculturalism Canada with which I grew up and the expansive diversity we enjoy here – harmoniously and respectfully – is an absolute pleasure.

I have not lived in Canada in 30 years but I have to believe that the generation after mine did not normalise racism, and that it remains an anomaly, not standard practice. Canada still has work to do in reconciling with its indigenous population, rightly known as First Nations people, as do many countries that historically marginalised indigenous peoples. But I continue to believe that Canada is neither racist nor xenophobic, only that a few people are. Don’t tarnish an entire country with the acts of a few.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

Imran Khan should get Nobel Prize for calm response to Indian strikes

I write to you in reference to your article Who will win the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019? (September 30).

I believe that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan should get the Nobel peace prize for saying that a nuclear war with India will be disastrous. His country has nuclear weapons but he refused to use them and just gave threats. He should be given the prize for refusing to deploy Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Mahesh Kumar, Khobar

Let us work together to avoid road accidents and save lives

I write to you in reference to Nick Webster and Salam Al Amir’s article Eight killed and six seriously hurt in Dubai bus crash (September 30): May their souls rest in peace. Road accidents are avoidable, we need to work on greater safety and put security first.

Mumtaz Ahmad, Bangladesh

Updated: September 30, 2019 07:07 PM

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