Racist Virginia Governor?

Ralph Northam

via Flickr

Ralph Northam

On February 1, Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, got announced as one of the two people in the racist photos of his 1984 medical school yearbook. Northam denied the inevitable outcome and refused that he was in the picture in his Saturday afternoon conference. However, he later admits that he was part of the picture and apologizes to his fellow legislatures.

In his Friday conference, he admitted that he was in the racist photo and apologized and asked for forgiveness. However, in his Saturday conference the day after, he stated, “When my staff showed me the photo in question yesterday, I was seeing it for the first time.” He explains how he never meant to be in the photo and never realized that it appeared in the yearbook and how he never bought the yearbook to know the truth of what he had done.

Many officials showed strong reactions to this issue, while others mainly stayed quiet. Jack Wilson, the chairman of the Republic of Virginia, stated “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.”

The Virginia Black Legislative Caucus, a political organization of African Americans, state, “What has been revealed is disgusting, reprehensible and offensive. 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. Those who would excuse the pictures are just as culpable.”

Justin Fairfax, the to-be governor if Northam resigns, had no comment on this issue and didn’t want to cause more commotion.

“I am asking for the opportunity to earn your forgiveness… I accept responsibility for my past actions, and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust,” Northam said. Northam refused to resign, but the pressure of the citizens and political executives.

He continues, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment. I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their governor.”

No one knows what will happen to the Virginia governor, but that running for governor will be stricter than ever with this issue.