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Heil Harvard!

Dude, Really? After Northam's Blackface Fiasco, VA's First Lady Handed Cotton To Black Students

You just can’t make this up. You really cannot make this up. It’s been almost a month since Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam admitted that he wore blackface for a dancing competition in San Antonio in his youth; he dressed as Michael Jackson. This all came about when a racist photo on his yearbook page was unearthed. The page, which was featured in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical school yearbook, shows one man wearing blackface and the other in full Ku Klux Klan garb. Northam apologized and admitted to being in the photo, then retracted and said it wasn’t him, but admitted to wearing blackface in another occasion. He has no intention of resigning. At the presser in which he said laid out his tale of ‘not doing blackface, but did, in fact, wear blackface,’ a reporter asked him if he could still moonwalk. Yes, Northam was mulling doing it until his wife, First Lady Pat Northam, said it was not appropriate. At the time, I thought Pat was the only one who had common sense. This was reinforced when CBS’ Gayle King corrected Northam who decided to refer slaves as “indentured servants” in an interview after his blackface fiasco engulfed the state (via The Hill):


“CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King corrected Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) after he referred to slaves as “indentured servants.”

The comment came in Northam’s first televised interview since he began facing calls to resign over a blackface scandal, in which he urged healing. 

“We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619. The first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe, and while—,” Northam said, before King cut him off.

“Also known as slavery,” King said.

“Yes,” Northam responded.

Yeah, Northam’s apology tour, like his start to black history month, got off to a banner start. But Pat is now just as bad. Why? Well, if things couldn’t get any worse for Virginia Democrats, they just did. She gave out cotton to black students during a tour of the governor’s mansion. Now, let’s be a little fair; was it intentionally malicious? No, but it was tone-deaf and it certainly gave off the wrong impression.  (via WaPo):

A Virginia state employee has complained that her eighth-grade daughter was upset during a tour of the historic governor’s residence when first lady Pam Northam handed raw cotton to her and another African American child and asked them to imagine being enslaved and having to pick the crop.

“The Governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the residents of the Commonwealth to forgive them for their racially insensitive past actions,” Leah Dozier Walker, who oversees the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at the state Education Department, wrote Feb. 25 to lawmakers and the office of Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

“But the actions of Mrs. Northam, just last week, do not lead me to believe that this Governor’s office has taken seriously the harm and hurt they have caused African Americans in Virginia or that they are deserving of our forgiveness,” she wrote.

Northam’s office and one other parent of a child who was present said the first lady did not single out the African American students and simply handed out the cotton to a group. But the incident highlights the scrutiny and doubt that envelope the governor as he tries to push past racist incidents from his past and ignore continued calls for his resignation.


This fiasco has imploded the Virginia Democratic Party, who has to deal with the fact that al; three top officeholders are facing public relations disasters that warrant resignation. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has been slapped with two rape allegations.  State Attorney General Mark Herring, who had called on Northam to resign over blackface, admitted to wearing blackface himself in college. If all three go, Republicans retake the governorship. That cannot happen. At the end of the day, you get to see Democrats for who they really are, along with their style of politics. It’s all about power and never about doing what’s best—ever. 

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