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Black activists accuse Justin Trudeau of 'subtle racism' for remarks on music, parenting

Last Updated Sep 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm EST

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is being called out by two prominent black activists for “subtle racism” after comments he made during one-on-one interviews on the topic of violence against women.

Trudeau was one of four party leaders, excluding Stephen Harper, who sat down with the Alliance For Women’s Rights as part of its Up For Debate segment which was live-streamed on Monday night.

When asked about the societal factors that contribute to violence against women, Trudeau mentioned the influence of music, pornography, and absentee fathers.

“There’s a lot of misogyny in certain types of music,” he said. “There’s issues around pornography and its prevalence now and its accessibility … And there’s also the shifting parental roles as well.”

“There’s a lot of communities in which fathers are less present than they have been or they might be in the past, and there’s more need to have engaged positive role models.”

Activist and Toronto Star columnist Desmond Cole called his remarks an example of “subtle racism” and a “careless nod to anti-black stereotypes.”

“Is it a coincidence that two of the three factors Trudeau cited about violence against women are well-worn stereotypes about black people?” Cole tweeted.

Cole notes that Trudeau didn’t specify who exactly he was referring to — an omission that didn’t assuage his outrage.

“If you single out certain groups for societies (sic) problems, but are too polite to name them, the bigots will fill in the blanks as they see fit,” he tweeted.

Fellow activist Andray Domise unleashed his own barrage of angry tweets, accusing Trudeau of thinly-veiled racism.

In a tweet on Tuesday, BuzzFeed Canada reporter Paul McLeod quoted the Liberal Leader as saying he “wasn’t speaking about any community in particular,” and was merely trying to bolster the fight against misogyny in popular culture.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe didn’t escape Domise’s wrath either.

At one point, Duceppe remarked: “All religions are not very open to women,” prompting Domise to remark: “Justin doesn’t need to pull a white hood over his head, nor Duceppe burn a Qur’an for us to know what he implied.”

Here’s the entire segment with the respective leaders discussing violence against women.

So what do you think? Were Trudeau’s comments an example of subtle racism?

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