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LETTER: Langley blackface event from 2006 should be history

Events from the past can’t be judged with today’s viewpoint, a local woman writes

Dear Editor,

With regard to the article in the Langley Advance Times of Thursday, July 2 [Fort Langley principal apologizes as blackface picture re-surfaces 13 years later], I did want to express my thoughts regarding the whole issue of ‘blackface’ which occurred more than a decade ago.

I think it is unreasonable and unfair for people to stand here now and look through the lens of 2020, and criticize someone for something which was done 14 years earlier when no one gave the behaviour a second thought at the time – including many of those who are now wagging their finger in disapproval.

Anyone who was a mature adult in 2006 knows that times were different then, with very little feedback coming from minority groups about how they felt by some of the things which were being done at that time.

Many of the things that Caucasians did were not done with malicious intent. Had we known that what we were doing was hurtful and demeaning, I believe that we would not have continued to do them.

Why would we think ‘blackface’ was hurtful or demeaning if we, as Caucasians, wouldn’t be hurt by a non-Caucasian doing ‘whiteface’?

Now that Caucasians are aware that certain behaviours or practices are hurtful, criticism is only justified if the behaviour continues going forward.

There are numerous things from history that were not acceptable by today’s standards, whether it was related to ethnicity, male vs. female, or even treatment of children. Many of those issues are gone or there have been improvements. People spoke up. People have been educated.

Let’s move on and work at continuing to improve things for everyone, rather than blame or punish people for behaviour which had been acceptable for the times.

Catherine Whitfield, Langley City

• READ MORE: B.C. school held ‘Slave Day’ in 2009, selling students to other students

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