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Trudeau MP criticizes Toronto teacher for wearing blackface

Parkdale-High Park MP Arif Virani criticized a public school teacher in his riding who wore blackface to his class, calling his action an act of "intolerance"

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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Parkdale-High Park MP Arif Virani criticized a public school teacher in his riding who wore blackface to his class, calling this an act of "intolerance."

"Halloween is a time of celebration—not a time for intolerance. The wearing of Blackface by a teacher at Parkdale CI is simply unacceptable. We need a prompt investigation by the TDSB and our community needs to see prompt accountability," said Virani in a tweet published on Monday.

"To the students who had the courage to speak up, know that we stand with you: Fighting Anti-Black racism is all of our responsibility," he concluded.

Many across social media were quick to point out that Virani's boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wore blackface so many times, that he himself could not put an exact number on it.

When photos leaked in 2019 of Trudeau in the racist makeup, he said that he was "wary of being definitive about this because of the recent pictures that came out, I had not remembered."

Trudeau apologized for the makeup, and called the action racist.

Parkdale Collegiate Institute sent out a letter informing faculty, parents, and students of the incident. According to the letter, a number of students complained to faculty.

The letter also stated that the high school ordered the teacher to wash his face so to avoid further offence.

“Caricatures of peoples’ race or culture are not appropriate and are offensive and hurtful. Regardless of whether this was intended or not, it was racist and dehumanizing,” said the letter.

The teacher is currently facing an investigation by the Toronto District Schoolboard. He is on paid leave and will be working from home.

"On behalf of Parkdale CI, I acknowledge and regret the harm this incident has caused to students, staff and families and our shared school climate," said the principal.

"While we have begun the work of addressing anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination, it is clear that we must do more," it concluded.

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