Walnut Grove Secondary Writing 11 students were assigned opinion writing. (Langley Advance Times graphic/Pixaby image)

LETTER: Langley student questions timing of Trudeau blackface photo

Walnut Grove Secondary Writing 11 students have written opinions about topics of concern to them

Dear Editor,

There was an image of our dear, Mr. Trudeau, all the way back from the year of 2001. Time Magazine was the very first to shed light on this image, being convinced that this topic undoubtedly deserves our highest demand for attention. It was next to impossible that our Canadian prime minister should appear in a coat of dark skin, and it has been quite a while since people had the pleasure of confronting racism.

The media was by all means punctual, quite coincidentally receiving the picture of a black-faced Trudeau nearly weeks before our October Canadian election. Understandably, the picture was difficult to be found, but the level of insanity that was thrown in the air had successfully made up for all the lost time. Canadians were neither in need of encouragement, nor inclined to be silent themselves. Our citizens knew exactly what response was appropriate, then proceeded to do the opposite.

The way the public was ready enough to talk the moment an image of suggested offence is shown is gravely troublesome. A simple picture, from a long, forgotten time; in the image, a mixture of civility and playful courage, but alas we don’t care. We react, but we don’t respond. Yet when we react, our consciences already as silent as crickets on our shoulders, are muted.

Years on top of years of gallantry and admiration, swiftly interrupted by an insignificant image of suggested racism. Justin Trudeau had never seen this coming, and begs for forgiveness mercilessly, blaming and insulting his own good image at every opportunity.

Our great Canadian leader is reduced to a softened target, eating away at our toxic words as if they were medicine. We must be honest: Do we trigger ourselves because we are, or because we should be?

Every rave and merciless rant we have seen were all products of a vivid and ambitious mind, yearning for a call to action. Yet, to quickly be angered cannot always be a smart choice. We don’t always need an instant call to action. Occasionally, all we need to do is think.

Liam F.

Editor’s note: Writing 11 students of Walnut Grove Secondary teacher Vince Rahn were tasked with opinion writing, finding it’s more difficult to put down reasoned arguments than simply tossing out cliches or venting.

“They were able to choose any current relevant topic,” Rahn explained.

Students were graded based on how they presented their information and arguments. The assignment also included having to hand write the pieces and send them to the Langley Advance Times via snail mail, an experience fewer and fewer young people have nowadays. It mirrors an assignment he gave to his students many years ago, before the internet and social media.

“Yes, I have done this quite some time ago, but this time I insisted that they go ‘old school’ and put into an envelope with a cover letter, etc.,” he explained.

Please keep any feedback respectful and age appropriate.

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