It isn't like it happens every game, but once in awhile a white person shows up to Canadiens games in a P.K. Subban jersey, with black or brown paint on their face, and an afro wig. Whenever it happens, it's a big deal on social media, where outrage is the norm, but in Quebec a lot of the responses you hear are excuses.
"Their hearts are in the right place."
"They're just trying to be like P.K."
"The offensive history of blackface isn't well known in Quebec."
Too bad. It's 2014 people, if you can afford a lettered Habs jersey you have the internet, and you should at least be somewhat aware of the racist connotations of what you're doing. Dumb fans though, are dumb fans. They're easily brushed off as such, but a Montreal theatre company using blackface on a white actor to portray Subban crosses an even worse line.
Théâtre du Rideau Vert had their year-end show recently, "Revue et Corrigée", where a white actor indeed painted his skin a different colour to portray the beloved Canadiens defenseman, first reported by the Montreal Gazette and CBC.
The skit itself may be benign, but the practice is a stark example of the incredible ignorance prevalent in this province when it comes to cultures other than their own. Even if you ignore how offensive this is to every black person in this province and outside it, it's still flat out racist in that doing this deprives black actors of work. Something that has been a problem in Montreal's theatre community for as far back as the Gazette's theatre critic has been on the job.
There's no excuse for this practice. Everyone on this continent should be well aware by now how not okay this is. It should have been put to bed decades ago, and the fact that it persists is an embarrassment to the city of Montreal, the province of Quebec, and the entire country.
There is no grey area here, just don't do it. It's not funny, it's not honouring P.K. Subban, it's just disgusting and racist.