Considering the fact that I don’t speak French, I couldn’t tell you what is being discussed in the skit above – performed by a Quebec area theater group – but it’s making headlines around the hockey world because it involves a white actor playing the role of Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban while in blackface.
Apparently, this isn’t anything new for Théâtre du Rideau Vert and their annual year-end show, which has incorporated blackface into their skits several times before. While it’s pretty amazing that the practice of blackface – which is completely rooted in racism – continues to live on in the year 2015, the theater’s response to the criticism it has drawn might be even more ridiculous.
Artistic director Denise Filiatrault told Montreal’s La Presse newspaper that the portrayal of Subban “wasn’t blackface.”
Filiatrault said she was “shocked, outraged, and humiliated” by the reaction. The 83-year-old said she has been in the business for 60 years and was the first person to hire a black Quebecer on television. She said didn’t want to hire a black actor to play Subban for 12 seconds in her year-end show because her theatre couldn’t afford it.
So, here’s a thought: If you can’t afford to hire a black actor to portray Subban, how about you just avoid using him in a skit at all? Sure, it might force you to leave some good material on the table but, hey, look on the bright side: You won’t be considered a racist asshole. Seems like a pretty good trade-off if you ask me.