Justin Trudeau Criticizes Identity Politics In NYU Commencement Speech

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized identity politics and emphasized the value of diversity of belief in a commencement speech he gave Wednesday.

The prime minister addressed a kind of diversity often ignored by left-wing politicians in his speech to graduates of New York University, according to National Newswatch.

“We are not going to arrive at mutual respect, which is where we solve common problems if we cocoon ourselves in an ideological, social or intellectual bubble,” Trudeau said. “Our celebration of difference needs to extend to differences of values and belief, too. Diversity includes political and cultural diversity, it includes a diversity of perspectives and approaches to solving problems.”

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Trudeau lambasted what he termed humanity’s “tribal mindset,” or the proclivity of people to sort themselves into groups based on certain traits. Instead, he urged the graduates to reach across lines, arguing that it would be easier for them to convince people of certain viewpoints if the graduates first show that they, themselves, are open to new viewpoints. (RELATED: Student Group Cancels Event After 1,800% Hike In Security Cost)

“This is the antithesis of the polarization, the aggressive nationalism, the identity politics that have grown so common of late,” the prime minister stressed. “It’s harder, of course — it’s always been easier to divide than unite. But mostly, it requires true courage because if you want to bring people around to your way of thinking, you need to first show them that you are open to theirs, that you are willing to enter into a conversation that mind change your mind.”

Trudeau pointed to former Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier as a key individual who recognized the potential behind ideological diversity. He did not, however, address the high-profile administrative scolding of teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd at the university named after Laurier in fall 2017 after Shepherd dared to show a video featuring University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson.

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