Blackface is racist!
The KKK is RACISM personified! So put them together and what do you have? Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s PAST it appears.
A photo from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook shows him and another person in racist costumes — one wearing blackface and one a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, though it was not clear which person was the future governor.
Hours after the 35-year-old photo came to light Friday, Northam apologized for his decision to appear in it. Elected officials and activist groups from across the political spectrum called for him to resign.
But in a video posted to Twitter Friday evening, Northam said he had spent the past year “fighting for a Virginia that works better for all people” and he would continue to do so throughout the rest of his term, which ends in January 2022.
The photo, which The Virginian-Pilot obtained a copy of Friday from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library, comes from the 1984 yearbook, the year Northam graduated and turned 25.
On the half-page set aside for Northam, there is a headshot of him in a jacket and tie, a photo of him in a cowboy hat and boots and a third of him sitting casually on the ground, leaning against a convertible.
The fourth photo on the half-page has two people, one wearing white Ku Klux Klan robes and a hood, the other with his face painted black. The person with the black face is also wearing a white hat, black jacket, white shirt with a bow tie and plaid pants. Both are holding canned drinks.
In a statement Friday evening, Northam, a Democrat, confirmed he appears in the photo “in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive,” but did not specify which person is him.
Under the racist photo are listed Northam’s alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, and his interest: “Pediatrics.” His quote is listed as “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”
EVMS spokesman Vincent Rhodes said Dr. Richard V. Homan, president and provost of the school, couldn’t comment on the incident because he’s out of the country on personal travel and won’t return until Monday. Rhodes said the yearbook was started in 1974 but hasn’t been produced since 2012. He called it a “student-run activity,” though he couldn’t confirm whether any faculty or staff advisers oversaw the project.
“My understanding is they (did) not, but I can’t definitively say,” he said.
Rhodes couldn’t confirm which costume Northam was wearing in the photograph, saying the school would have no way of knowing.
“We obviously don’t think that type of photo would be appropriate to publish in the yearbook,” he said.
Republican officials quickly responded to the photo, but several top Virginia Democrats stayed quiet.
The chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, Jack Wilson, said in a statement: “Racism has no place in Virginia. These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Governor Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately.”
In a separate statement, four top Republican lawmakers — House of Speaker Kirk Cox, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Ryan T. McDougle — said: “This is a deeply disturbing and offensive photograph in need of an immediate explanation by the governor.”
Mark Herring, the Democratic state attorney general, did not respond to requests for comment through his office. The office of Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who will become governor if Northam resigns, had no comment.
The Virginia Black Legislative Caucus said in a statement that members were still processing the photo of the governor.
“What has been revealed is disgusting, reprehensible and offensive,” the caucus said. “We feel complete betrayal. The legacy of slavery, racism and Jim Crow has been an albatross around the necks of African Americans for over 400 years. These pictures rip off the scabs of an excruciatingly painful history and are a piercing reminder of this nation’s sins.”
The statement continues, “Those who would excuse the pictures are just as culpable.”
As news of the photo spread Friday night, so did calls for the governor’s resignation. The list included progressive groups such as MoveOn, Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Julian Castro, and the NAACP. [source]
Despicable to say the least. BUT let’s FOCUS on this–this was allowed to be PRINTED in a COLLEGE YEARBOOK and the YEAR was 1984! Not 1965, but just 35 years ago…..