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Scott Thompson: Would the reaction be different if it was Andrew Scheer in blackface?

WATCH: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau sat down with Global National’s Dawna Friesen Tuesday in Richmond, B.C. This was Trudeau’s first sit-down interview since images emerged of him in brown and blackface last week.

It has been a week since the story broke of three sets of images showing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in various forms of blackface or brownface.

The latest dates from 2001, when Trudeau was 29, and shows him at a theme night at an elite private Vancouver school where he was a teacher.

It has been interesting to watch both the fallout and explanation of the images from all sides of the political spectrum.

We have gone from the shock and dismay, from initially viewing the images, to accepting or not accepting Trudeau’s apology and reasoning for his incredible lack of judgment.

READ MORE: Twitter says Canadian election campaign free of major manipulation attempts so far

I think it’s fair to say the Justin Trudeau is not a racist and I accept his apology. However, I am having a hard time understanding how he could not have known this was wrong.

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He initially said his privileged upbringing blinded him to the offensive reality of such images, or how they are viewed as racist. If Trudeau has a blindspot to the realities of blackface, what else is he blind to? If this is his position, how can he possibly know what it is like, or empathize with those outside the affluent elite?

How can Justin Trudeau identify with the middle class that he is aiming for during the election campaign, let alone anyone who is marginalized?

Trudeau said getting into politics in the late 2000s and representing a diverse riding has opened his eyes to the needs and challenges of others less fortunate than him.

In his first interview since the images were made public, Donna Friesen of Global News asked Trudeau when he realized that darkening your skin was unacceptable.

Here’s what he said:

“I think the years following my father’s death involved a lot of changes for me. I went back to Montreal in 2002. I went back to school, studied engineering, studied environmental geography. I got involved more with Katimavik, Canada’s national youth service program. I did more environmental and youth activism. I was learning a lot more about public engagement, a lot more about service and, obviously, I am a very different person today than I was back then.”

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Recent polls taken after the images were released vary from the Conservatives taking a slight lead to still a neck and neck race of inches with the Liberals.

Was the SNC-Lavalin/Jody Wilson-Raybould scandal more damaging to the Liberal party than the Trudeau blackface and brownface images?

It appears despite his mistakes, nothing sticks to this still popular prime minister or maybe it says more about the opposition, who have been unable to capitalize on his blunders.

On that note, can you imagine the outcry if this had been the leader of the Conservative party who had donned blackface, instead of the prime minister?

Would the reaction be different?

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.​​​​

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