Ralph Northam Press Conference Live Feed

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is scheduled to give a press conference today at 2:30 PM. The live feed is at the bottom of the post.

As late yesterday afternoon turned to night and then morning, Governor Northam has apparently decided he won’t resign. From the reporting, Northam no longer believes, despite yesterday’s apology by video, that he is in the offensive picture. Specifically, he doesn’t remember the photo, nor does he believe that he is the man in blackface, nor the man in the Klan costume. And he has been contacting his former classmates to ask if they know who the two men are who are in the picture.*

All of this may be true: that it is not Northam in the picture and that the picture was put on the wrong page. It doesn’t matter. He’s had that yearbook for almost 34 years. So have others who were in medical school with him at the time. Had he come out, during his first run for office or even his run for governor when the Virginian Republican Party and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillispie who went all in on xenophobia, accused him of turning his back on his own family’s history with the Confederacy, disclosed the picture, explained that it was coming to an understanding that going to a costume party in blackface and/or in a Klan costume was both wrong and morally unacceptable, and that is why he’s denounced his forebears service to and support of the Confederacy, there would be a very different discussion about the photo, the yearbook, and whether Northam should remain in office. This is, however, not what happened.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s in the photo or not. It doesn’t matter if it was put on the right yearbook page or not. It doesn’t matter if this accurately represents who Northam is in 2019. Right now America, both state and society, are subjected to a non-stop barrage of bigotry, prejudice, and lying from the President of the United States. Every time he gives remarks, off the cuff or prepared, whether from the Oval Office, the Roosevelt Room, the Cabinet Room, the Rose Garden, the White House lawn, one of his rallies, or, as I fully expect to happen, from the dais of the House of Representatives next Tuesday, Americans are confronted with a President who lies about his own bigotry and prejudice, then makes more bigoted and prejudiced statements, and then delivers more lies on a wide variety of topics. Right now one political party, the Republican Party, goes out of its way to cozy up to, play footsie with, and tolerate bigots. It’s why Senator McConnell can condemn Congressman Steve King’s remarks, while never being held to account for his own longstanding relationship with neo-Confederate organizations. It’s why Congressman Scalise can do the same thing despite campaigning for Congress as “David Duke without the baggage”. And that’s before we get to the President’s political appointees, such as Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielsen, who are just as bad if not worse.

Right now there is a need in the US for both formal and informal leaders, and this includes Northam, to stand up, tell the truth, and do the right thing. American state and society are in desperate need for more of this, not less. And Northam can do America a great service today if he stands up at his press conference and provides one last act of formal leadership and resign. He needs to resign not because he or anyone else may be sure that he is actually either the man in black face or the man in the Klan costume or that the picture is on the right page, but because American needs to see examples of leaders who take responsibility, even if they’re not 100% sure that they are the responsible party, when something bad happens, and then take the hard and important first steps to fix the problem. Which, in this case, would be to resign. The real question about whether Northam is a real leader, and is even morally fit to be a leader, is less about the picture in his yearbook from 1985. It is really about whether he leads today by giving up power and seeing it peacefully and efficiently transferred to his lieutenant governor or whether he tries to petulantly cling to power in the hope that an explanation for the photo surfaces that exonerates him and allows him to brazen this out. You can’t teach character, despite what the knuckleheads at the Combined Arms Center think. You can identify it, you can nurture it. You can mentor it. You can reinforce it. But you either have it or you don’t. At 2:30 today we will learn if Governor Northam has character and is actually fit to lead, even as he gives up formal leadership, or if he doesn’t.

Update at 3:55 PM EDT

Governor Northam has announced that he won’t be resigning. Here’s the response from the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus:

 

Open thread.

* It is possible, though not probable, given what we know of them, that this is PJ and Squi in the picture after brewskis at Timmy’s with Brett, Judge, Tom, and Bernie because they were all black out drunks in high school at Georgetown Prep and this is the type of things they would do. But I think this is highly unlikely.

367 replies
  1. 1
    Garbo says:

    I have photos from “yearbook day” at my high school. The campus essentially shut down with everyone sitting, paging through. We all started with our own pages. Not sure how this is coming as a surprise to this dude. And if the photos were mixed up, why wasn’t there hell to pay at the time?

    Nope. He apologizes then switches his story? Buh-bye.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I suppose it could have been PJ and Squi in that picture after some brewskies at Tommy’s, but…//

  3. 3
    jacy says:

    Agreed. Northam needs to resign. Today.

    This is not about him, it’s about accountability as a society (and more specifically, accountability for us as Democrats.) The time for making excuses (especially for white men, who seem to be accountable for absolutely nothing when all is said is done) is over.

  4. 4
    bemused says:

    Northam isn’t the brightest bulb in the room if he thinks people are going to buy his new story.

  5. 5
    SQuee says:

    @Garbo: See, Garbo, it’s harder for some people than for others to remember if a particular picture of a dude in blackface is himself.

  6. 6
    Another Scott says:

    Lowkell’s take at BlueVirginia before Northam starts talking:

    I’d add that Northam’s also lost the political unity necessary to govern, given that vast swaths of the Democratic Party (in Virginia and nationally, with the apparent exceptions – at least publicly – of Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner), as well as many progressive groups who had supported him in the past, have told him he needs to resign. Heading into crucial legislative elections this November, it’s hard to see how Northam could be an asset to House and Senate Democratic candidates, but it’s easy to see how he could be a liability.

    At this point, it doesn’t matter if it was a genuine mixup, etc., etc. He’s toxic to the Democratic party now because 1) he didn’t deny or explain it the first time; 2) he can’t prove it was a mixup now; 3) and it muddies the contrast between the Democrats and the Trumpists.

    Grr…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  7. 7
    Mary G says:

    Not in the mood to watch it, will let you guys report, but he needs to go. Democrats can’t criticize Republicans for racism if we tolerate this weak bullshit he’s trying to peddle after apologizing yesterday. I continue to be gobsmacked that nobody has brought this up in any of his campaigns, as Adam pointed out yesterday. Politics isn’t bringing out the best people.

    ETA: Forgot to say, good rant Adam.

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: I still think he can plausibly argue it was PJ and Squi. Does he, perhaps, have a wall calendar from 1985?

  9. 9
    Lyrebird says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I know you’re joking, but fwiw, they would not have been old enough. Kavanagh is just a little older than Cole, iirc, and woulda been under 16 in 1984.

    But your main point is right on, as usual. The openly racist white bros I met at that time were all in favor of blackout drinking. I can understand Northam not remembering many of his own exploits, but that is not an excuse.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    My novelist’s brain can construct exactly one (1) potentially innocent explanation out of the known facts: at some point, Northam found out that he had a Black ancestor and his classmates at VMI and in medical school taunted him about it with photos like these, by nicknaming him “Coonman,” etc.

    I really can’t come up with any other plausible scenario that clears him, and my scenario is VERY implausible, to say the least.

  11. 11
    Another Scott says:

    The live feed at BlueVirginia is camped out on the face of the bald guy on the left, for some reason.

    And it’s starting late, of course.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    At a minimum, he knew this photo was on his yearbook page for 34 years and said nothing. Unacceptable.

    It’s time to go.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    Somebody needs to get their cough taken care of.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    He’s trying to save his own political skin. He doesn’t even realise it’s already been peeled off. I’m pretty sure when the negative reactions hit he’ll see he has no choice. But it looks like he needs it beaten into him.

  15. 15
    Emma says:

    I just keep cycling back to the little I remember about yearbooks. There’s always at least one faculty advisor and a secretarial assistant involved. NOBODY noticed? NOBODY stopped them? That makes no sense to me.

    (added) And even if, for fuck’s sake, some imbecile editor screwed up the photos, what the hell did he think he was doing? He had to know it would come up sooner or later.

  16. 16
    piratedan says:

    anecdotally, I have to admit, I couldn’t tell if Northam was in that picture and also, once you buy a yearbook, if they fuck up, what can you do? I can remember donating to our HS Senior yearbook. I am listed in the back as a donor and a patron, they neglected to put my HS Senior pic in with the senior class. I complained to the staff and the adviser; indicating that since I was a recent graduate that I felt that this was a pretty big deal (upon receiving my yearbook and expecting friends to be able to sign it) . I was told, in short, tough shit, we fucked up, what are you gonna do we’re not going to do a reprint for you and the others(!!!!?) they had left out. So, perhaps that makes me more open to the possibility of a mistake, I would like to think that based on what we see in journalism today, its okay to be a bit skeptical.

    Also too, if your yearbook staff could be made up of racists and an adviser that allows racist shit to be published in their yearbook, there is little to no mechanism that allows you to edit what content gets put where…

    Does this absolve Northam, I have no idea, but this goes back to a couple of things, if you’re 25 and a med student, how much attention are you paying to this? If the yearbook staff gets their jollies being old school southern racists and have control of what content goes where, you don’t have much recourse once the thing is published. All I have to do is see how out of context the whole bill about abortion has been skewered to understand how easy it is to see something, some position get taken out of context and stood on its head.

    What is more troubling to me is the VMI yearbook nickname, not sure how you pick up the moniker of coonman unless you’re either A) a rural hunter, or B) you actually like black people (or maybe specifically girls) because in the South, getting hung with that nickname is not likely to be a term of endearment to many stalwart Sons of the South.

    Based on Northam’s actions, he sure isn’t acting like he’s guilty (or you could say that he’s a closet GOP dude and doubling down on his “innocence”) but under the crushing weight of public opinion, he’s already been tried and convicted… what if it turns out that the pic isn’t him? What if Coonman is actually a slight bestowed upon him as a smear?

    At this point, its between Northam and his constituency as to what is the best course of action.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lyrebird: Kavanaugh is 53.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: Virtually everyone in the Confederate elite, which includes Northam’s forebears, in Virginia had African American relatives. Often without the consent of those African American relatives.

  19. 19
    Mike in NC says:

    We moved from Virginia 10 years ago so I know absolutely nothing about Ralph Northam. Of course if he were a Republican governor there would be no way he would resign.

    Trump’s upcoming SOTU may turn into a six hour Airing of Grievances. Not gonna watch one second.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Emma: Virginia 1985.

  21. 21
    joel hanes says:

    He’s had that yearbook for almost 34 years.

    Do we know this ?

    I graduated in 81, and only one person of the dozens I know purchased the yearbook. I would imagine that a good many of my classmates had better things to do, and have no idea if or how they are depicted.

  22. 22
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Such bullshit. That’s not the kind of thing you misremember. He accepted responsibility when he thought he could ride it out.

  23. 23
    gene108 says:

    @Mary G:

    DeSantis appointment as Sec of State resigned pretty fast, after a photo of him in blackface emerged.

    Republicans are losing the media narrative relative to the control they had. But Northam not resigning, when a Republican did, will let Republicans regain the narrative by showing how they reacted versus Democrats

  24. 24
    Mandalay says:

    Northam just now: “I am asking for the opportunity to earn your forgiveness…“.

    No. Too late. Go away.

    The man is shameless.

  25. 25
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I have recently learned of some of my African American distant cousins. The sense of shame is overwhelming. People sold their own brothers and sisters.

  26. 26
    MazeDancer says:

    Cannot believe he said that blackface isn’t me, but I did do blacface another time.

  27. 27
    Another Scott says:

    “I dressed up in blackface, but that’s not me here, in this case.”

    Too late, buddy.

    “If I resign then I won’t have learned the lesson that I need to learn…”

    It’s not about you any more, Ralph.

    He needs to go. By putting out this BS he’s damaging Virginia and the Democratic Party.

    Were I an elected Virginia Democrat, I would be furious at him for this.

    Grrr…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  28. 28
    zhena gogolia says:

    @MazeDancer:

    Oh, God, good thing I have too much work to do today to read BJ. This is nauseating.

  29. 29
    JPL says:

    @Bobby Thomson: He did admit being in black face at a dance contest in San Antonio. I’m not sure what to think, but I do stand with those who think he should resign. . I want to know what the Lt. Gov thinks.

  30. 30
    sublime33 says:

    Maybe his position should be “I will step down if Judge Kavanaugh steps down”.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    It would be easy to move on from this if he sat in the hallway with the Lt. Gov rather than attend the Lee Day ceremony.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bobby Thomson: It was, in every aspects of the term, the most peculiar of institutions as it was once called.

  33. 33
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer: Did he say that? I was having trouble with the feed.

    edit: I see that Scott wrote the same thing. Wow.

  34. 34
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    His explanation that he “does not recall” this picture or dressing up in either costume or doesn’t “believe” he was in that picture is beyond belief. He knows if he dressed like that ever.

    You don’t “not recall”. You did or did not do it, period. Ever. Anytime. Never.

    Seriously, we’re not that stupid, Ralph.

    And for the record, I attended two high schools in my senior year, had my picture only in the one I’d attended for over two years and never submitted anything to the one I actually graduated from. Also never bought any yearbooks from any college or university I ever attended.

    I still know I never dressed in blackface.

  35. 35
    Mandalay says:

    Northam just now claimed that yesterday was the first time he saw that photo in the year book. He also doesn’t know why his nickname was “Coonman”, though he says remembers the two people who gave him that name.

    A patchy memory – great on some things, foggy on others.

  36. 36
    germy says:

    So he says he never bought a copy of the yearbook, only saw it recently, and the nickname was given to him by two older classmates.

    I hope he changes his mind and decides to resign instead of prolonging this.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    ALEXA!!!!! Order all the popcorn!!!!!

  38. 38
    artem1s says:

    let there be a thorough investigation. If he wants to stand the heat of the scrutiny, then let him. There is no accountability if there is no examination of the facts. Just trial by spin. And that adds nothing to the discussion. It means we as a society learn nothing about the issues. And it means we make decisions based on feelings instead of facts. It’s great for the propagandists and Goebbels of the world. And for those who want to find a reason to eliminate their enemies without proof of wrong doing. personally, I find forced resignation without public examination to be just as dangerous as racism or sexism. It’s no different than sending the pedophile priest down the road to another parish to ruin someone else’s life. It’s another form of coverup.

  39. 39
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: More shocking than what we already know about him???

    There truly is no bottom, as the old folks say.

  40. 40
    Fair Economist says:

    Anything about why he did it and when and how he changed? Any reason to think he *has* changed?

  41. 41
    Mandalay says:

    Northam just now:
    – It’s possible that the photo was accidentally put on his page in the year book.
    – “I once dressed up as Michael Jackson with a little bit of shoe polish on my cheeks“.

  42. 42
    germy says:

    There's a whole lot more to this…But you'll have to wait until March 19th and the publication of Kushner Inc. #KushnerInc https://t.co/zMeMIVSg42— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) January 30, 2019

  43. 43
    Another Scott says:

    @Mandalay: Yeah, funny how that works.

    This speech and the answers he’s giving are too clever by half.

    “I know absolutely that it wasn’t me in the KKK costume, and, er, it wasn’t me on the right.” But his nickname 3 years earlier was “Coonman”. And he admitted dressing up in blackface – in public – at least once.

    He’s also messing around with verb tense.

    I don’t believe him.

    But at this point, it’s not about him (as I said above) and his feelings and what he wants. He’s broken and needs to go. Him talking about “listening and having conversations” should have been done before he went out to give his statement. And what we know is that he isn’t listening to the elected people in his party who are saying – loudly – that he needs to go.

    Grrr…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  44. 44
    FelonyGovt says:

    Bye Felicia.

  45. 45
    JPL says:

    @Another Scott: If he were that close to Fairfax, wouldn’t the LT. Gov be standing next to him?

  46. 46
    J says:

    @piratedan: An eminently reasonable comment.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: Apparently she’s done a very detailed deep dive into Jared, Ivanka, and Kushner’s father and the Kushner’s business dealings.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @FelonyGovt: After his listening tour he’ll be gone. We should have a pool to raise money for Fairfax. I’m thinking Tuesday.

  49. 49
    Fair Economist says:

    @Mandalay: You wouldn’t use shoe polish to look like 1984 Michael Jackson.

  50. 50
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Apparently she’s done a very detailed deep dive

    That seems to be her specialty. The Kushners can’t be happy about this.

    But there’s been so many books and articles about their dealings. We know they’re rotten. I wonder what else she’s uncovered….

  51. 51
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I’m all out of shock. How could there possibly be anything worse than stuff we already know?

    Is this a “hold my beer” moment?

  52. 52
    jl says:

    @artem1s: I agree. If there is confusion about whether it is Northam on that page, it implies that he did this kind of racist cosplay when he was younger, and just a question whether this is a picture of him specifically, as the @Mandalay: comment above indicates..

    I think a through investigation, and some time to evaluate is needed in the case of elected officials. I also have a question about Trumpsters and GOPers targeting Democrats to cause dissension. So, I want an investigation and more disclosure from Northam. Last I heard the black caucus in VA legislature has not called for his resignation, and wants the issue investigated further. That is also an important consideration. If the VA leg black caucus gets the info it needs and thinks better he stay, then that is important.

    I don’t understand this passage in Adam’s post at all:
    ” He needs to resign not because he or anyone else may be sure that he is actually either the man in black face or the man in the Klan costume or that the picture is on the right page, but because American needs to see examples of leaders who take responsibility, even if they’re not 100% sure that they are the responsible party, when something bad happens, and then take the hard and important first steps to fix the problem. Which, in this case, would be to resign. ”

    I don’t see how a responsible party makes a very important decision like this until due diligence on the facts of the case is completed, and some time to think about consequences of alternative decisions. I don’t think there has been enough time to do that yet.

  53. 53
    Garbo says:

    Jesus fuck, it’s NOT ABOUT YOU!

  54. 54
    Hob says:

    He’s going to use facial recognition software… to prove that he wasn’t the guy in blackface or the guy whose face is hidden under a Klan hood? Wow, that’s a whole new level of Let’s Enhance.

  55. 55
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: Finish him!!!

  56. 56
    Mandalay says:

    @Another Scott:

    This speech and the answers he’s giving are too clever by half.

    Agreed, but I grudgingly concede that he is giving a masterclass on how to handle a crisis from the podium. His folksy answers, his more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone and his demeanour are spot on.

    I despise him for what he is doing right now to the Democratic Party, but I understand why he has gone far as a politician.

  57. 57
    Another Scott says:

    @JPL: Maybe!

    I also didn’t like him talking, multiple times, about how he works with and “has friends on both sides of the aisle”. Someone at BlueVirginia is asking whether he’s thinking about resigning from the Democratic Party and throwing his lot (again – he voted for W twice) with the Virginia GOP to continue as governor. I would say that’s insane, but it’s insane that he hasn’t resigned yet.

    Grrr…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  58. 58
    A Ghost To Most says:

    The party will continue to eat it’s own until the desired level of purity is achieved.

    How many people here screaming for his head never did anything egregious in their past? Even George Wallace repented his racist past, and at his last election he got 90% of the black vote in Alabama.

  59. 59
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: From the Amazon blurb:

    In Kushner, Inc., investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created that depicts themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President’s chief enablers: they are, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics. They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world, and may threaten the democracy of the United States.

    Pretty strong language, hope she backs it up.

  60. 60
    JPL says:

    @Garbo: He keeps digging deeper.

  61. 61
    Han says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Virtually everyone in the Confederate elite, which includes Northam’s forebears, in Virginia had African American relatives. Often without the consent of those African American relatives.

    There’s a difference though between relatives and ancestors. If I have a cousin who would nowadays be called African American because great-uncle Sid raped the cook, I can still claim my Pureblood status. If that cook is my grandmother, well, gotta hide that.

    @Bobby Thomson: Worse (if possible), people sold their own children. I can’t even conceive how one could bring themselves to do that.

  62. 62
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Finish him!!!

    Not just him but apparently the entire family.

    A good rule here seems to be to live one’s life so that someone named Vicky Ward* doesn’t publish a tell-all book about one’s misdeeds.

    * Sounds like a DC comics name.

  63. 63
    jl says:

    @Mandalay: He’s dancing around the fact that he did this shit, only question is whether THIS particular picture captures it. That is bad. Seems like h e is digging deeper. I’ll monitor what the black caucus in the VA leg says, as a Democrat, I’d defer to their judgment.

    I won’t join calls for resignation for any elected official when news like this breaks. Need to understand exactly what the situation is first.

    Edit: If he is very candid and came clean, maybe he shouldn’t resign. If he plays cute, and dances around about what he did in the past, that says something about him now, and maybe he needs to go.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @Another Scott: I remember Ted Kennedy’s mea culpa about leaving a girl to drown in a car, and thinking at the time, it was an accident. I’m curious what Virginians think. He didn’t remember because he was in black face before.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: Jared is actually Ivanka and Marla Maple’s love child. The marriage is a cover up. Call Andrew Sullivan and have him dust off his “is Sarah Palin really pregnant” investigative tool kit!!!!//

  66. 66
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Ahhh, classic Sully v. Palin. Good times.

  67. 67
    gene108 says:

    Getting your photo in my college yearbook, as an undergrad, was voluntary. I don’t know anyone, who did, but people did participate.

    In grad school a yearbook wasn’t even an option.

    He volunteered to be in the yearbook. This wasn’t forced on him.

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G:

    In Kushner, Inc., investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created that depicts themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President’s chief enablers: they are, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics. They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world, and may threaten the democracy of the United States.

    I just copied that so I could read it again. :-)

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    Repeated from downstairs.

    and a lot of photos were mixed up by yearbook folks

    Anecdotal evidence but evidence nonetheless. Was editor-in-chief of my high school yearbook (was the only year the yearbook was put together without any faculty advisor or assistance, btw) and can state without any doubt whatsoever that every photo, every caption, every headline, was not double checked but triple checked by the entire yearbook editorial staff before final approval for publication.

    Applies to all 208 pages.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: There is no credible explanation at this point that that isn’t him in this picture and that he’s never seen this yearbook or this page in it before. As we’re all watching live. Can it be proved to an empirically verifiable statistical certainty? No. So he needs to resign so that Virginia, the Democratic Party in Virginia, etc can move on. At this point it doesn’t matter if that’s him or not. Leadership is about taking the hit, even an unfair one, for the greater good.

  71. 71
    Another Scott says:

    @jl: Just about every elected Democrat, Democratic Party organization, and major former Democratic elected official in the Commonwealth has called for him to resign, and those that haven’t have urged him to carefully think about his future. Nobody is saying that he should fight to keep his job.

    He has no base of support in Democratic Party any more.

    He needs to go, and go quickly.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  72. 72
    JPL says:

    Did he just say he’d never do it again. surely not

    what’s with this people of color shit. .

  73. 73
    gene108 says:

    I know a lot of folks want Democrats to brazen it out through scandals, because Republicans do it all the time, but unless you are a very skilled politician, you will hurt your career and maybe drag your party down.

  74. 74
    West of the Rockies says:

    Any Republicans calling for his head should also be demanding Steve King’s.

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Schultz-Northam 2020. Fell the Schmidtmentum! Or Schultz-Northam 2020: The Schmidt Has Hit the Fan!

  76. 76
    hitchhiker says:

    @jl:

    He’s dancing around the fact that he did this shit, only question is whether THIS particular picture captures it.

    He has to admit to the M Jackson picture right now, because he knows it exists and if it gets published before he owns it, he’s basically Al Franken.

    Which reminds me of a question I asked on twitter: is blackface a thing only men did to get their (bizarre & troubling) laughs? Has anybody seen a prominent woman outed for making herself into a caricature of an African person?

  77. 77
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: We disagree then. In the case of elected officials, I think important to be deliberate in investigating, hearing the person accused respond, hearing what other stakeholders who have to work with the person think, and other various forms due diligence be performed before a decision is made.

    I’m not a Virginia voter, and I don’t have responsibility to run the VA government. As I said above, last I read the VA leg black caucus has not called for his resignation. They have to work with him, have more knowledge of the situation, and the ability to govern with or without Northam. I’ll check later what on what the caucus thinks. If they say he has to go, then fine, if they say they are OK with it, that is OK with me.

    Part of my caution is the old saying “Give me the man and I’ll give you the case’, which the GOP will use if Democrats react too quickly to every situation like this one.. Very very few people can survive extreme scrutiny of their entire past. What they are today makes a difference (though I have to admit, what I heard from Northm is not promising on that score), and where you draw the line is inherently arbitrary.

  78. 78
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Hob:

    That’s hilarious!

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Han: That’s why I specifically used the word relatives not ancestors.

  80. 80

    @West of the Rockies: Yes, but by the same logic, if we’re calling for King’s head, we probably should call for Northam’s. I say “probably” because Northam has a long way to go to be as loathsome as King.

  81. 81
    jl says:

    @hitchhiker: Yes, I think women, mainly right wingers, have blackface episodes in their past. I can’t think of the names right now.

  82. 82
    zhena gogolia says:

    The people of color who are regular commenters on this blog have been telling us that this should be taken very seriously. I don’t think everyone’s gotten the message — and they seem to have absented themselves, unfortunately.

  83. 83
    Immanentize says:

    Fuck, really?

    “I will use facial recognition software?!”

    The OJ Simpson defense lives on!

    Is Dershowitz one of Northam’s lawyers?

  84. 84
    gene108 says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    Democrats have been calling for Steve King’s head for at least 10 years.

    But he isn’t a Democrat, and there’s only so much pressure we can apply on Republicans, without being able to beat.

  85. 85
    JPL says:

    @JPL:

    Northam: As I said earlier, I discussed this with a person of color. He let me know why this was offensive. I apologized to him. And I will never do it again.

    Well phew.. Northam won’t be in blackface costume this Halloween.

  86. 86
    Mary G says:

    There are more and better reasons for Northam to resign BUT ALSO he should resign for not having the good sense to stop DIGGING, for Christ's sake— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 2, 2019

  87. 87
    Another Scott says:

    @hitchhiker: We’ve seen this timeline before. E.g. These 5 guys – Robbie Gatti was just playing Tiger Woods, you see?!??

    In early 2017, a photo of Louisiana House of Representatives candidate Robbie Gatti dressed in blackface as Tiger Woods emerged.

    A Republican ordained minister, Gatti told the Shreveport Times that the photo has been taken 15 years prior [ roughly 2002 ] at a church fall festival where volunteers were told to dress as famous people.

    “Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity, as a world champion, and that was who I was dressed as,” Gatti said.

    Gatti also told the Times the release of the photo to the HayRide, a self-described conservative political commentary website for Louisiana, was a move by his political opponents.

    “My opponents have taken a good night at church and turned it into negative, political mud,” he said.

    Gatti was running for a seat that had been vacated after a former legislator move on to represent his district in the U.S. House. Gatti lost his chance at the seat in a runoff election against fellow Republican Raymond Crews.

    How daaare they question his having a good time at church??!!

    I’m getting more annoyed with Northam by the minute. Grrr…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  88. 88
    TomatoQueen says:

    I predicted to myself that he’d do something like this because he is a White Male Doctor, the Most Privileged Little White Gods ever to exist. The ones who end up in public office are to a man delusional and fueled by insane levels of hubris. And here’s Ralphie, showing us that hubris bubble just inside his ears. Resign, you twerp, and take your enabling wife and sycophants with you.

  89. 89
    trollhattan says:

    @jl:
    It’s okay to presume Coulter has. Because Coulter. And that NRA spokestrixie.

  90. 90
    Bluebird says:

    @artem1s: Most intelligent point.

  91. 91
    jl says:

    @Immanentize: Northam not doing what he needs to do in order to put this in his past and keep his job. As I said above, what you are today is as important as the missteps you took in the past for situations like this.
    Northam’s performance today doesn’t say what it needs to for him to be able to put his previous behavior behind him, IMHO.
    He really needed to come clean, be very candid.
    An important part of coming clean is publicly recognizing that even if this picture isn’t of him, the fact that it easily could be a picture of him, because he used to do this stuff, is a very serious problem. He needed to recognize that very forthrightly, and apologize, and show he can say something that will constructively address the racial divide in the US in his future work as governor.

    Edit: today was not the day for Northam to practice his standard political damage control dance steps, in other words.

  92. 92
    Immanentize says:

    @JPL:
    Truly one of my first rules — Apologize fast and honestly, but never apologize for something you never did

  93. 93
    cmorenc says:

    I am a white dude who grew up in a small eastern NC town in the era when racial Jim Crow-style segregation of society and schools, and the corollary racial prejudice, seemed as much the natural state of society to me and everyone around me, friends, classmates, and family alike as being immersed in murky water seems to a fish in a pond. I was born in 1949, and things didn’t really start changing until our high school tentatively began integrating at the start of my junior year in high school (fall 1965), which sparked the beginning of a profound positive transformation among many of my classmates and me, but for most of us (me included) it took another half-dozen years and being away at college to more fully transform out of the lingering racial attitudes we had grown up with.

    THANKFULLY for most of us, we left no written, recorded, or photographed traces of the era of our youths where doubtless one could find ample instances of blatant use of the N-word, and probably much harsher deeply prejudiced expressions than that by most of us, IF somehow a complete archive of our behavior at that time existed. NONE of us growing up in that era could withstand evidentiary scrutiny of our youthful small-town southern upbringing from the era prior to the Civil Rights Acts of the mid-1960s – happily for most of us, we left no permanent record of such that could come back to haunt us decades later.

    THAT SAID, by 1984, everyone in eastern NC not still harboring unreconstructed racist attitudes knew better than to display any overtly racially charged speech or behavior, and even folks only partly along toward reconstructed attitudes understood that no acceptable reservoir of humor was to still be had in racially charged jokes or purported funny displays (e.g. of the type involved in Northam’s case). What was still comfortably acceptable within white nominally “polite” southern society in the mid-1960s definitely wasn’t in the mid-1980s, though of course the entirety of white southern society was still far from full reconstruction of racial attitudes. But you’d have to be exceptionally drunk, oblivious, or wilfully defiant in 1984 to pose for a photo such as this for a school yearbook. And “drunk” isn’t an excuse – drunkenness doesn’t create loutish behavior, it merely facilitates escape of inhibited impulses that were already present.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That’s why I specified “ancestor” rather than “relative.” Though over the counter DNA tests are showing a lot of “white” people that they had Black ancestors as well, not just relatives.

  95. 95
    trollhattan says:

    @Immanentize:
    “If the percale does not fit, you must acquit!”

  96. 96
    NotMax says:

    @trollhattan

    “I was going for smoky eye and it got a little out of hand.”

    ;)

  97. 97
    Aleta says:

    Does he want to do the most good for VA and the country? Is he truthful when he says he now understands “those actions to be abhorrent” ?

    Then he would RESIGN, so that Dems can fight unfettered against every politician who’s standing with white supremacists or the Confederate flag or Confederate statues.

    He would honor LG Justin Fairfax, who refused to preside over the Senate in 2018 when it honored Stonewall Jackson and 2019 for RE Lee,
    as the VA SENATE’s RESPONSE to Martin Luther King Day.

    History repeats itself. I will be stepping off the dais today in protest of the Virginia Senate honoring Robert E. Lee. I’ll be thinking of this June 5, 1798 manumission document that freed my great-great-great grandfather Simon Fairfax from slavery in Virginia. #WeRiseTogether pic.twitter.com/tG0QB9hHdR
    — Justin Fairfax (@FairfaxJustin) January 18, 2019

    He would let Fairfax take leadership. Respect the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia history. If he believes he’s indispensable to VA government, he can advise in the background.

    Or he can do political work against racism; and then this incident would strengthen his words about what is intolerable, instead of weakening the cause that’s critical to VA and the country.

    If he really understands, he will fight the terrorism that’s rising with our racist leadership.

  98. 98
    Waynski says:

    If you completely cover your effing face with shoe polish, you will remember it. I never did black face, but used streaks of shoe polish to look like a ghoul on Halloween. It burns your eyes. Marilyn Manson was popular then. You remember that, for days. SOB is lying.

  99. 99
    Mary G says:

    A reporter just asked Northam to moonwalk AND HIS WIFE HAD TO TELL HIM THAT WAS A BAD IDEA, if you're wondering just how much of a trainwreck this press conference is.— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) February 2, 2019

  100. 100
    Another Scott says:

    VLBC:

    VLBC @VaBlackCaucus

    The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Addresses Northam’s Refusal to Resign

    [“We amplify our call for the Governor to resign…”]

    11:55 AM – 2 Feb 2019

    Maybe Adam can embed it.

    He’s done and needs to resign.

    (via BlueVirginia.us)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  101. 101
    WaterGirl says:

    Did he really say that someone had to explain to him why this was vile? So NOW he understands it? Oh my god. That alone makes him unfit to serve as governor.

  102. 102
    Mary G says:

    Reminder that some politicians are really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, reallly, reallly fucking dumb.— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) February 2, 2019

  103. 103
    JPL says:

    @Immanentize: Tom Perez after listening to the news conference called upon Northam once again to resign.
    duh

  104. 104
    Mandalay says:

    @jl:

    only question is whether THIS particular picture captures it

    Well yesterday when the news broke he explicitly admitted that he was in the photo. Why on earth would he admit to something that would destroy his career if it was false?

    I think that his minders did some clear thinking after that Kinsley gaffe: they belatedly realized that nobody in that photo is going to come forward now, so the least bad option for Northam was to do a complete flip flop and deny everything, hoping that the identities of those in the photo never emerges.

    It seems likely that one person (and two if Northam is truly innocent) know that they are in that photo, and are terrified that they will have their lives upended if they get identified. They’re not going to be stepping forward.

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: Only if underage girls are involved.

  106. 106
    jl says:

    @Another Scott: OK, thanks for the info. Their position has changed since their statement that I read when the news first broke. After Northam’s news conference, I can’t blame them for wanting to get the news out there that they have decided he should definitely resign.

    So, OK, then. I’ll go with their judgment.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    How many people here screaming for his head never did anything egregious in their past?

    I have never dressed up in blackface. Not even once. I don’t know anyone IRL who ever has, and I turn 50 this year.

    Pretending that all white people do this shit to protect a few powerful white men is disgusting. If you wore blackface, own up to it like a man and stop trying to drag me into your swamp.

  108. 108
    Bill Arnold says:

    @jl:

    We disagree then. In the case of elected officials, I think important to be deliberate in investigating, hearing the person accused respond, hearing what other stakeholders who have to work with the person think, and other various forms due diligence be performed before a decision is made.

    At the bare minimum, we need to be reasonably sure that it is not a ratfuck. (I don’t see any obvious ratfuckery in this particular case, to be clear. But haven’t looked hard.)

  109. 109
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gene108:

    and there’s only so much pressure we can apply on Republicans

    Have you considered using an industrial vice?

  110. 110
    germy says:

    I missed the moonwalk part of the press conference, so out of curiosity I visited youtube and typed “Northam Moonwalk” to find a clip. But I forgot about youtube’s racist algorithms. This is what they wanted to show me:

    Andy Serkis on how to walk like an ape – The Graham Norton Show: 2017 – BBC One

    Youtube, twitter, facebook… they really ARE all assholes.

  111. 111
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I think what’s going on here is that Northam thinks he has earned cred with (older, powerful) Virginia Republican politicians that no other Virginia Democrat has, so he thinks that handing over the reins to Fairfax will mean getting less done. What he’s not taking into account sufficiently is how he’ll rebuild his relationship with Democrats, or if he can at all.

  112. 112
    germy says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    How many people here screaming for his head never did anything egregious in their past?

    My past is a poisoned river, but it never occurred to me to run for governor. You’ll never see a President Germy.

  113. 113
    Baud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think what’s going on here is that Northam thinks he has earned cred with (older, powerful) Virginia Republican politicians that no other Virginia Democrat has, 

    People never talk about the upside to blackface.

  114. 114
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    industrial vice

    What you do in the privacy of your own converted factory loft, mutual consent, etc.

    :)

    Vise.

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: These over the counter DNA tests? The ones that can’t even get the results for identical twins right?
    https://news.avclub.com/sorry-but-those-dna-tests-you-took-are-mostly-bullshit-1832018900

    Ancestry tests are all the rage these days and, honestly, we can understand why. There’s something oddly thrilling about finding out you’re one-tenth Ashkenazi or that your racist uncle’s totally lying when he says he bleeds “red, white, and blue.” But, according to a new episode of CBC’s Marketplace, the accuracy of these kinds of tests is being misrepresented. Host Charlsie Agro and her identical twin sister sent DNA samples to five of the top ancestry testing companies expecting—or at least hoping—to get the same results. What they got was something very different.

    The results were wildly different from company to company, so the pair sought an explanation for these discrepancies from various geneticists and biologists, all of whom told her the same thing: DNA tests are basically bullshit.

    It turns out that any information beyond what continent your ancestors were from is basically guesswork. The problem is that these companies don’t make that clear in their advertisements, which posit themselves as scientifically accurate. It’s best, the clip’s sources say, to view this as “recreational science,” a lark that offers some broad, hazy insight into your heritage.

  116. 116
    jl says:

    @Mandalay: Sad that Northam decided to dance a standard political damage control dance, rather than come clean and candid over such a serious situation.

    Like I said, I’ll never make calls for resignations of elected officials when news like this first breaks. Need to figure out what is going on and listen to the accused person respond. Otherwise, in today’s political world, just too much opportunity for politically motivated and selective attacks. “Give me the man and I’ll give you the case”. Very few can survive extremely detailed scrutiny of their past by today’s standards, and the ruthlessness of the GOP.

    But, how Northam handled himself today, says a lot about what kind of person, politician and governor he is today. When enough info comes in to make an informed decision, you should decide. I’m fine to go with the VA leg black caucus decision. When I read their initial statement, I was impressed that they were going to take their time to decide, not rush to judgment. They know better than any of us what is best for VA and their party, so Northam should resign.

  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Waynski: I used coffee grounds one year to simulate stubble. All I got in Florida was coffee flavored sweat.

  118. 118
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Blood horoscopes.

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Here you go, I’ll also put it up top as an update to the post:

  120. 120
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mary G: I just saw this and thought, this can’t be real

    Matt Viser @ mviser
    Ralph Northam is asked if he can still moonwalk. He looks around as if he’s about to try it. His wife looks over and says, “Inappropriate circumstances.” Northam agrees, and moves on to another question.

    Something has come unhinged in his head.

  121. 121
    jl says:

    @Bill Arnold: Thanks, I didn’t feel comfortable, for some reason (why? on this blog?) using the technical jargon. But yes, that is a serious concern. And, also, an elected official was put in office by the votes of his or her constituents, and a change of office holder can have very serous consequences.

    So, I am against deciding too quickly in case of elected officials.

    If you are a rich show business person or tycoon or business celebrity, etc. Then whatever, Let the market decide.

  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was died green for Halloween when I was 8 so I could go as the Lou Ferrigno version of the Incredible Hulk from the TV show.

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    What with the Sasquatch lineage, one might think you’d been born with stubble.

    :)

  124. 124
    Jinchi says:

    Exactly how common is it for people to dress in black face? Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t think it existed outside of vaudeville and 1930’s radio shows.

  125. 125
    scottinnj says:

    If Northram really wanted to keep the job he should have announced that he has decided to switch to the GOP. They would welcome him with open arms and scream about PC Culture etc etc.

  126. 126
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: It is both a ratfuck and still something legit. Had the attempt to amend the laws regarding 3rd trimester abortions not been weaponized, including both barbering Northam’s remarks about it as a pediatric neurologist and then taking them out of context, this bullet would not have been fired at this time. They would have waited to use it closer to the next election as Northam was campaigning with Virginia Democrats to retake the legislature.

  127. 127
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @germy: Far be it from me to get between Jacobins and their guillotines

    I’m afraid I’m too impure to survive long amongst them. FI. DO.

  128. 128
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thank you, kind sir.

    In other news, Donnie wants Dr. Feelgood #2 back. I guess he’s having trouble finding another doc who is willing to tell obvious lies about how, er., healthy he is…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  129. 129
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: If you like Serkis, he worked with a bunch of anthropologists and archeologists to use Mo-Cap to bring a neanderthal to virtual life. The documentary is very interesting:
    http://www.pbs.org/program/neanderthal/

  130. 130
    JaySinWA says:

    @NotMax:

    Industrial vice

    is an excellent typo. One can imagine the type of leverage it would give to squashing a politician.

  131. 131
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Talk about a great way to depress Democratic turnout in 2019, when it will be the party’s chance to claim a trifecta in Virginia at long last. Someone had better get on the phone / show up in Richmond and talk some goddamn sense into Northam.

  132. 132
    Mandalay says:

    @jl:

    I think a through investigation, and some time to evaluate is needed in the case of elected officials.

    If Northam was charged with (say) hit and run, or shoplifting and he proclaimed his innocence I would agree with you completely, but no crime was committed here. This is purely a political issue.

    Like any other successful Democrat, he has reaped benefits from the Democratic Party on his way up the ladder. That entails an obligation on his part to do the right thing for the Democratic Party as well. By not resigning Northam is only looking out for himself, and doing real harm to the Democratic Party. He has to resign, regardless of whether he was in that photo (and let’s not forget he initially admitted that he was).

    last I read the VA leg black caucus has not called for his resignation.

    They did so last night, and again today.

  133. 133
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Used the shortcut method of carefully wrinkled toilet paper infused with Karo syrup to simulate the look of old age on the face and hands on stage once. Works (and looks) great, that is until enough time under the hot lights. Then it tends to … become melty and unpredictably meander about.

  134. 134
    jl says:

    @Jinchi: Growing up in pretty conservative (though back then Democratic) part of Central California, I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing of it, ever. People didn’t do that kind of thing. I guess I grew up in an area that was weakened by the evil PC from way back.

  135. 135
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    That video left me hanging! I wanted at least one example of the final product, e.g., a grainy shot from a security camera of the getaway car leaving the garage “enhanced” to show the clearly readable license plate.

    The worst was that little science wanker from Numbers explaining the “algorithms.” A thankless role in a mediocre show, but still . . . Levels of computer-science “truthiness” not matched until the truly execrable CSI: The Cyber.

  136. 136
    Baud says:

    @PsiFighter37: I’m not ready to assume that.

  137. 137
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: The funny thing is, I think this was when I was 13 or 14 and could definitely produce plenty of stubble. I think the issue was, because I went to a Jesuit high school and had to be clean shaven every day, there wasn’t enough time to get three days growth for Halloween that wouldn’t land me in detention, which was officially called Penance Hall.

  138. 138
    Suzanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    At this point it doesn’t matter if that’s him or not. Leadership is about taking the hit, even an unfair one, for the greater good.

    He cannot effectively represent the public with this cloud of doubt hanging over him.

    @NotMax: SuzMom was the editor of her high school yearbook in 1968. School is in Long Island, and the printing company was somewhere in the South. They get the yearbooks back from the printer…..only to find that some racist(s) at the printing company had intentionally changed the names of every one of the African-American students. Yearbook advisor gets on the phone and raises holy hell, and the entire yearbook staff sends all of the yearbooks back to the printer, where they were unbound, cut apart, and all of the picture pages replaced.

    I don’t know how any yearbook staff member sees that shit and just allows it, or fucks it all up from page to page. It strains credulity, to say the very least.

  139. 139
    jl says:

    @Mandalay: Yes, thanks for the info. I missed their announcement last night, I was going off the one they made as the news broke.

  140. 140
    Redshift says:

    @jl:

    As I said above, last I read the VA leg black caucus has not called for his resignation.

    They did last night. The Democratic caucuses didn’t call for his resignation until after that.

  141. 141
    Thoughtful David says:

    If you do something stupid and offensive once in your life, can you ever be redeemed? Ever? If so, what does it take?

  142. 142
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: I saw that this morning.

  143. 143
    NotMax says:

    @JaySinWA

    “Now, about these photos of you with Rosie the riveter…”

    ;)

  144. 144
    Brachiator says:

    I have been out and about taking care of some business and away from media and the Internets, so did not see the press conference or read about it.

    Originally, I was against any knee-jerk resignation.

    But is the governor’s explanation really “It wasn’t me in the photo. I got confused with the other times I dressed in blackface or a Klan robe”??

  145. 145

    Many kinds of shoe polish had nitrobenzene in them at the time. They still may – I haven’t looked.

    Nitrobenzene is very not good for you and is absorbed through the skin. This may be an explanation for Governor Northam’s performance this afternoon.

  146. 146
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @cmorenc:

    Well said.

  147. 147
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Come on. Blackface isn’t the only egregious behavior in this world. I know you know that. And I know you aren’t saying other egregious behaviors are okay.

  148. 148
    Baud says:

    @Brachiator: It’s still good to be against knee-jerk responses. But the additional information we’ve received since he story broke is . . . not good.

  149. 149
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: So by the end you looked like Sarah Huckabee Sanders…

  150. 150
    TomatoQueen says:

    Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly (Alexandria, 74k, most of whom are feds, and Fairfax, millions, a lot of whom are feds) just issued a joint call for him to resign. Waiting for Tim and Mark. So far, Ralphie is eyeball to eyeball with VBLC, the two most powerful Va. members of the House, and whom else? Has anyone stepped up to the guillotine to say he’s doing the right thing? Jebus Cripes.

  151. 151
    jl says:

    @Thoughtful David:” If you do something stupid and offensive once in your life, can you ever be redeemed? Ever? If so, what does it take? ”

    IMHO, honesty and candor, and showing that you understand the seriousness of the situation, that you are a different person now compared to then, that your own personal success and career are not the main things at stake.
    I don’t think Northam came close to that standard today, sadly.

    Edit: and in this case, the racial cosplay was not an isolated incident, I think that much is clear. It’s not a ‘once in your life’ situation, even though Northam danced around that issue today.

  152. 152
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Thoughtful David: Honesty and contrition? this is a man who less than two years ago made solemn remarks about Charlottesville while knowing that as a grown ass man, a college graduate and, I gather, veteran, he had, at best, made yuckety-yucks with his white buddies about the Klan, an American terrorist organization

  153. 153
    rikyrah says:

    Gotta go
    Gotta go😡😡😡

  154. 154
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Heh. Sounds like Huntz Hall’s prim sister.

  155. 155
    Suzanne says:

    @Thoughtful David: Discussed in previous threads. It takes admitting it *** before you get caught and before you are asking people for something, like their votes***, then listening to the people you hurt about how you can do better, and then doing better.

    Come on. No one is talking about throwing the man in the garbage. But he’s not entitled to a high-profile and high-paying job in public service. He has to maintain the trust of the public to keep that. And he is not acquitting himself well here.

  156. 156
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Jinchi:

    It’s all over Hollywood movies of the “Golden Age.” Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Irene Dunne . . . Major stars. It’s a disgusting aspect of the history of Hollywood.

  157. 157
    Mary G says:

    Interesting how the FTFNYT always says things like “racially charged” when it’s a Republican, but flat out “Racist” for a Democrat. I am NOT saying that Northam’s yearbook isn’t racist, but it really shows how much the right has succeeded in pushing the media to not be fair by screaming loud and long for years about “liberal bias.”

  158. 158
    chris says:

    @Jinchi: Common enough for Megyn Kelly to defend the practice on TV. At the time I thought, Yup, she’s done it.

  159. 159
  160. 160
    gwangung says:

    @Thoughtful David: I think you need to look closer. It’s not just one single behavior that’s occurring here.

    And….”it’s the coverup, not just the crime” is relevant here too.

  161. 161
    Mandalay says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    If you do something stupid and offensive once in your life, can you ever be redeemed? Ever? If so, what does it take?

    Well a good start for redemption would be to owning up to what you did and accepting the consequences BEFORE you get caught.

    And before you argue that he claims he wasn’t in the photo, I’d point out that yesterday he admitted he was. So he can resign for lying, or for being incredibly stupid. I don’t mind either way.

  162. 162
  163. 163
    rikyrah says:

    @Another Scott:
    You are on a roll in this thread😊

  164. 164
    germy says:

    @A Ghost To Most: You’ve convinced me.

    The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, all the Democratic presidential candidates are wrong and you’re right.

  165. 165
    jl says:

    @Mary G: True, but that is a separate issue, and one that will arise for all sorts of issues (economic, social justice, immigration policy, foreign affairs) besides race. The Democratic Party, if it heads into a New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society, direction again, will be a serious threat to corporate control of pretty much everything. So, corrupt forces in the corporate media will find every opportunity to keep a people powered Democratic party in check.

    So, we’ll see that BS on every single issue, on every single major Democratic candidate.Not unique to this situation at all.

  166. 166
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: Oh my god, he has no shame. And by “he”, I mean both of them. Unbelievable.

  167. 167
    Another Scott says:

    @TomatoQueen: Who else? Just about every major Democrat and Democratic organization in Virginia called for him to resign yesterday.

    The calls are being amplified after his press conference.

    (Scroll down to the comments to see the updates.)

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  168. 168
    Redshift says:

    @TomatoQueen:

    So far, Ralphie is eyeball to eyeball with VBLC, the two most powerful Va. members of the House, and whom else?

    The Democratic caucuses in both the State Senate and the House of Delegates. I can’t believe he doesn’t accept that he’s toast.

  169. 169

    @zhena gogolia: Golden Age, hell. Soul Man came out in 1986. Trading Places, in 1983, also had blackface. Memoirs of an Invisible Man, in 1991, featured brownface. Ted Danson evidently did blackface at a roast of Whoopi Goldberg, whom he was even dating at the time, in 1993.

    Not defending Northam; he needs to resign yesterday, even if it really wasn’t him in the picture. But this shit was all over the place for a long time. Not to say that everyone was doing it – they absolutely weren’t. But it persisted way longer than people today would expect it did. The ’80s, in particular, were a terrible time.

  170. 170
    TomatoQueen says:

    Of course it’s ratfckery, and of a devious kind. Nonetheless.

  171. 171
    NotMax says:

    @Suzanne

    Place we used (around the same time) for printing was in Texas. Throughout the year they would send back galleys, followed by a visit from the printer’s representative to go over any concerns or changes, then send corrected galleys for last approval. Only exception was for the small number of temporally relevant pages finished up late in the school year and sent off by the final deadline, about a month before delivery date.

  172. 172
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Penance Hall. Sounds like someone had a sense of humor.

  173. 173
    Just Chuck says:

    I didn’t think Northam needed to resign … until he came up with this weaselly strategy. If he’d simply owned up to it and said he’s changed, I would have given him the benefit of the doubt. I can’t be the only one his disingenuous denial backfired on, and I’m sure a lot of those people live in Virginia.

  174. 174
    Darkrose says:

    @jl:

    I’m not a Virginia voter, and I don’t have responsibility to run the VA government. As I said above, last I read the VA leg black caucus has not called for his resignation.

    They have. Twice now.

  175. 175
    Mike in NC says:

    I remember another Virginia governor by the name of George Allen. Went on to be US senator. Even by the awful standards of today’s GOP he was a profound scumbag. He grew up in southern California yet wore a Confederate flag lapel pin in high school. As a prosecutor he kept a noose in his office. Regularly denounced Bill Clinton and other “federales”. Luckily the infamous “macaca” comment finally became his undoing and ended his political career when Jim Webb defeated him by a very slim margin. No doubt he’s still out there trying to elect other Republicans.

  176. 176
    Jinchi says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    There is no credible explanation at this point that that isn’t him in this picture

    In any case, that’s beside the point. The scandal is that he dressed in blackface, not that he’s the person in that particular photo.

  177. 177
    debbie says:

    @Another Scott:

    Could the RWNJs get any swampier? Practically every icky person’s name is in that article.

  178. 178
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: No surprise there.

  179. 179
    TomatoQueen says:

    Scenario: yearbook is found in a public library, therefore is a public document, and can hardly be said to be hidden. Yes, it’s an obscure, limited circulation, subscription publication, but it’s a volume in a public place. OR WAS IT PLANTED? How difficult would it be to get a disgruntled library aide to place a checkout pocket in the appropriate place (not hard at all), with circulation date stamps? My eyeballs are out on stems at the thought.

  180. 180
    Baud says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    I don’t remember Soul Man as a black face movie. The whole premise was a white guy pretending to be black and learning about discrimination. That seems different from the historical use of black face as a minstrel bit.

  181. 181
    Another Scott says:

    I just took a gander at the yearbook page again.

    Of course, he’s got a “funny” quote too:

    There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.

    So, he was probably a blackout drunk in school as well. I wonder when we’ll start hearing stories about that… :-/

    Grrr…

    Begone!!

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  182. 182
    Bill Arnold says:

    Since open thread and another Jackson was mentioned,
    Trump taps Ronny Jackson to receive promotion and be his top medical adviser, despite investigation (Dan Lamothe, Josh Dawsey February 2 2019)

    A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that Jackson is no longer the president’s chief physician and the promotion nomination was simply re-upping one from last year. Trump still likes Jackson and believes he was treated unfairly, the official said.
    The White House released a list of new appointments on Saturday that shows Jackson serving as an assistant to the president and as his chief medical adviser.

    Probably because Jackson helped DJT lie about his weight and height, and provided some gentle assistance in identifying animals in his Montreal Cognitive Assessment test.

  183. 183
    Mary G says:

    pic.twitter.com/kxKW4qvrDK— Justin Fairfax (@LGJustinFairfax) February 2, 2019

  184. 184
    Mary G says:

    @TomatoQueen: The WaPo article includes an interview with one of his medical school classmates, who confirmed the photo was in the original yearbook.

  185. 185
    Mandalay says:

    @Just Chuck:

    If he’d simply owned up to it and said he’s changed…

    But that is EXACTLY what Northam did yesterday.

    The only snag (for him) is that it didn’t work. Hence his complete U-turn on admitting to being in the photo. That won’t work either, but it’s going to be ugly until he’s gone.

  186. 186

    @Baud: Yeah, I get the clear impression that the filmmakers intended it as an anti-racist movie, but it seems… uncomfortable at best to modern eyes.

    (I also excluded Cloud Atlas from my list, even though it’s way more recent than the other examples, because it was a sort of equal-opportunity usage – the Wachowski sisters had actors of colour dressing up in whiteface as well, and it was clear they just wanted the same actors to play parts of multiple ethnicities, so unlike the other examples, I didn’t get any racial connotations from it.)

  187. 187
    Baud says:

    @Mandalay: Yesterday’s apology was weak. But better than today.

  188. 188
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Nitrobenzene is very not good for you and is absorbed through the skin. This may be an explanation for Governor Northam’s performance this afternoon.

    :-) Still giggling.

  189. 189
    lamh36 says:

    @Baud: Are we doing this again? May not have been it’s intention but it was a Blackface movie.

  190. 190
    hitchhiker says:

    @Another Scott:

    Well, it looks like the result of their efforts will be that VA gets a black governor and the Republicans will have established that in their party it’s totes fine to be as racist as you want.

    All the posing w/ confederate flags and hanging w/ white nationalists and wondering what’s the problem w/ white supremacy leads to nothing for Republicans. For Democrats, the entire party structure and base demands accountability w/one voice.

    I mean, it’s not news, but it’s pretty stark.

  191. 191
    zhena gogolia says:

    @hitchhiker:

    For Democrats, the entire party structure and base demands accountability w/one voice.

    That’s why I’m a Democrat.

  192. 192
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They would have waited to use it closer to the next election as Northam was campaigning with Virginia Democrats to retake the legislature.

    OK, thanks for the details and entirely plausible speculation.

  193. 193
    Ruckus says:

    You can’t teach character, despite what the knuckleheads at the Combined Arms Center think. You can identify it, you can nurture it. You can mentor it. You can reinforce it. But you either have it or you don’t.

    Exactly.
    Adam, I agree with your post. I’d like it that we were all grown ups and lived in a far better world, with far better humans. But this is not a literary work, a novel, this is life, with imperfect humans, some as imperfect as is possible. We elect people to govern and to lead. Not all, not even most are actual leaders, people with respectable character that just stands out. We want the best, we often settle for acceptable because that is what there is.

  194. 194
    lamh36 says:

    Sigh…it wasn’t him…but he did do Micheal Jackson Blackface for a dance contest…

    really…this is what we are doing?

    Ya know what

    http://www.quickmeme.com/img/8.....06b2ff.jpg

  195. 195
    Darkrose says:

    Just as a reminder, it’s not just the blackface. It’s the guy IN THE FUCKING KLAN HOOD, and Northram said at one point in his shifting stories that he didn’t remember which was him.

    ProTip: In 1984, everyone knew the KKK was racist. Please stop trying to make excuses for this.

  196. 196
    germy says:

    LGM comment:

    Eric Scharf • 8 hours ago
    If we’re going to demand everyone resign whoever said or did something racist, sexist, classist, or homophobic, there won’t be any white men left in charge of anything, and that can’t be right.

  197. 197
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Anthropomorphic glazed ham and serial fabulist of his Secret Service career Dan Bongino claimed he was given the info last October, but couldn’t verify it, so did nothing with it. I originally had something about this in the post, but decided I didn’t want to give Bongo any front page exposure, so I removed it.

  198. 198
    Thoughtful David says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I agree with you on the honesty and contrition part. I’m not defending Northam. But I am actually asking a bigger question, about what we as people need to do. And here

    this is a man who less than two years ago made solemn remarks about Charlottesville while knowing …..

    you say that no one can ever be redeemed.

    That is an awful position to take. You get a felony on your record, you can never speak out about crime?

    I presume you’re ready to banhammer John Cole for having been a Republican and probably haing said bad things about Democrats?

    We human beings/Democrats need to figure out what transgressions are disqualifying, which require penance and how much, and which can be overlooked. Or else we’ll get constantly played by mobs.

  199. 199
    Brachiator says:

    @Jinchi:

    Exactly how common is it for people to dress in black face? Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t think it existed outside of vaudeville and 1930’s radio shows.

    Never go to the Netherlands

    .

  200. 200
    Jinchi says:

    @Darkrose:

    Northram said at one point in his shifting stories that he didn’t remember which was him.

    Which implies that at some point, he dressed as both.

  201. 201
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    He never mentioned it to anyone until it surfaced. He let himself be elected the Democratic governor of VA without mentioning it to anyone.

  202. 202
    NotMax says:

    @Thoughtful David

    you say that no one can ever be redeemed.

    That is an awful position to take.

    True. See: Robert Byrd.

  203. 203
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    presume you’re ready to banhammer John Cole for having been a Republican and probably haing said bad things about Democrats?

    You’re equating having once been a Republican with having a blackface/Klan picture on your personal yearbook page when you’re graduating from medical school?

  204. 204
    smintheus says:

    I disagree with Adam’s argument, in that I do think it would matter if Northam is not in the photo AND Northam did not select the photo for the yearbook. He can’t be held responsible for some yearbook editor’s screw ups.

    However I don’t think there’s any real likelihood that both those things are true. The fact that Northam could not say immediately and with absolute certainty that he is not pictured in the photo speaks volumes. I’m Northam’s age and I would have known instantly that that was not a pic of me and that I’d had nothing to do with its dissemination. The nonsense about using face-recognition software on a photo of a hooded Klan-cosplayer is just further evidence that Northam is bullshitting.

  205. 205
    Sab says:

    @Brachiator: Yeah. They even ruined Christmas. I cannot believe it hasn’t been imported here.

  206. 206
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    you say that no one can ever be redeemed.

    where?

    That is an awful position to take. You get a felony on your record, you can never speak out about crime?

    if you’re up on a podium talking about law and order, it’s probably not good if you were a drug dealer, or a murderer, or a mugger, and you never confessed, or did time or pleaded guilty, or admitted what you did was wrong

    I presume you’re ready to banhammer John Cole for having been a Republican and probably haing said bad things about Democrats?

    even I don’t equate being a Republican with thinking lynching is hilarious

    You may be trying just a little too hard to be thoughtful, David.

  207. 207
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: Jesuits – never mess with the Society!

  208. 208
    NotMax says:

    @smintheus

    Don’t necessarily be so sure it’s a cosplayer.

  209. 209
    Adam L Silverman says:

  210. 210
    Another Scott says:

    @Thoughtful David: Northam ran under the Democratic Party banner. He won his office because of their united efforts. If they no longer have confidence in him – for whatever reason – then he needs to go.

    Elected Democrats are well aware of the dangers of getting ahead of the evidence. They know more about GOP tactics than most of us can imagine. If they say he has to go – and just about all of them do – then he has to go.

    There are November 2019 elections in Virginia. Upcoming races are going to be affected if he drags this out.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  211. 211
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: It wasn’t just him or his page:

  212. 212
    BCHS Class of 1980 says:

    Just for the record, Cory Gardner is the hopefully soon-to-be-ex Senator from Colorado, while Corey Stewart was the neo-Confederate opponent of Tim Kaine. Northam’s opponent was lobbyist-turned-desperate-racist Ed Gillespie.

  213. 213
    smintheus says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Movies of the ’80s were atrocious pretty much across the board in nearly every way imaginable.

  214. 214
    Quinerly says:

    @cmorenc: I’m originally from Eastern NC, small town of less than 2500, in Pitt County. If you don’t mind my asking, where are you originally from?

  215. 215
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Now you understand what campus political correctness has cost us.

  216. 216
    TomatoQueen says:

    @Mary G: Yes, I saw that. Same person wondered why it was hidden, without defining what ‘it’ referred to and how that could be done. I’m not talking about the photo, I’m talking about the entire volume. Since the ratfckery was done by rwnjs ex of Breitbart, who say they couldn’t confirm the identities of the two poseurs, I think they decided to run with what they had already, and speculate further that an insider in the library led them to it.

  217. 217
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t even have to click the link to know that’s to Black Pete.

  218. 218
    germy says:

    Whoever did the oppo research for the Gillespie campaign should feel pretty foolish rn.

    How do you miss this?

    Unless they were like, sweet costumes, and turned the page. #northam

    — Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) February 2, 2019

  219. 219
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BCHS Class of 1980: I’d already fixed it, but thanks, good catch.

  220. 220
    Thoughtful David says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Banhammer from a blog is not the same as resigning position as governor. Think about it .

  221. 221

    @smintheus: Yep, the ’80s were an awful time. Even a lot of the good films from the era still have some awful bits.

    @germy: Gillespie’s oppo research team screwed up badly here, sure, but Tom Periello must be feeling even more annoyed right now.

    @Adam L Silverman: I don’t have firsthand experience with this, but the accounts I’ve read suggest that (1) this sort of thing was not abnormal at VMI, and (2) medical schools in general are bastions of white male privilege to a degree that would shock outsiders. Which, again, isn’t to absolve Northam, but to indicate that the problem is much more pervasive than this one incident.

  222. 222
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Scott:

    Northam ran under the Democratic Party banner. He won his office because of their united efforts. If they no longer have confidence in him – for whatever reason – then he needs to go.

    I pretty much agree with you here. It is a practical and political matter.

    Elected Democrats are well aware of the dangers of getting ahead of the evidence. They know more about GOP tactics than most of us can imagine. If they say he has to go – and just about all of them do – then he has to go.

    Nope. Democrats seem to fall easily for GOP tactics. It was a conservative group that dug up the Yearbook photo in the first place. Social media and other tools are making it easier for dirty tricksters to dig up all kinds of stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more crap like this dribbled out as necessary. And while Republicans would never resign when confronted with this kind of material, idiot Democrats, eager to demonstrate virtue over common sense or nuanced political instincts, will happily commit political suicide.

  223. 223
    Dan B says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Coffee grounds! My hollering scared the cat…. Bad Adam. Apologize to kitteh!

    And the I see “dyed green”… Brain does not grok the weird indignities to ones surface layer.

  224. 224
    Gbbalto says:

    @Brachiator: I will go with the VABC recommendation.
    ETA Do you want Dems to commit suicide with black voters?

  225. 225
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This makes it seem like there was some kind of minstrel show and/or hazing tradition going on. My hunch has been that the photo on Northam’s page is a record of some sort of skit or themed costume party whose premise was something like “odd couples” or “opposites attract.” But maybe it was actually part of a costumed revue that included a Supremes sketch too?

    Not making excuses, just trying to understand from an anthropological perspective what the ritual was.

  226. 226
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @smintheus: this. If he had to study the photo to determine it wasn’t him, that’s bad enough.

    The “I apologized for the photo because it’s a bad photo but that’s all I should do because it isn’t me” is such transparent horse shit. I can even buy that he never bought the yearbook, but if no one thought to contact him about it, that also says too much.

  227. 227
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dan B: We’ve replaced Adam’s normal stubble with decaf, let’s see if he notices…

  228. 228
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @FlipYrWhig: There is both a lot of context missing here and the reality that the context isn’t going to make it any better.

  229. 229
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I totally agree.

  230. 230
    Brachiator says:

    @Gbbalto:

    I will go with the VABC recommendation.

    Makes sense.

    ETA Do you want Dems to commit suicide with black voters?

    I don’t think that this is the only alternative.

  231. 231
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Gbbalto: Who will the Jacobins go after next?

  232. 232

    @Bobby Thomson: In fairness, if the things I’ve heard about the school are accurate, I would find it very much plausible that none of his classmates would have given it a second thought, given how pervasive such occurrences seem to have been.

    Which leads to the bigger question of how a school in the 1980s got so toxic in the first place.

    But, again, none of this is an adequate excuse – he still needs to resign. If he’d gotten out in front of it when he’d been running for office – or possibly even after he’d been elected, but before someone else dug it up – and explained that he’d done a lot of things in the past that he deeply regretted but was no longer the same person, I could see a way for him to salvage some goodwill, but it’s obvious that he’s lost the confidence of the people of the state, and I don’t see any way to rebuild it.

    And in this particular case, resigning would even be politically advantageous. His Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is African-American, would take office and would be able to run for another term as an incumbent, which otherwise never happens in VA. Seems a no-brainer. IDK why Northam even thinks there’s the remotest term of salvaging his political career by remaining in office.

  233. 233
    sukabi says:

    Don’t know if anybody’s posted this, thoughts on Northam from The Root

  234. 234
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: I can’t read the bottom part of that on twitter. grrr

  235. 235
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Jinchi: Ted Danson did it in 199? One time.

  236. 236
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Darkrose: In 1984, the Klan was still burning crosses on the heights overlooking Frederick, MD. Casual racism was very much still a thing. I was there .

  237. 237
    Citizen Alan says:

    To me, the most astonishing thing about this is still that the pictures made it into the yearbook. I am not the tiniest bit surprised that college students in Virginia were going to parties in blackface. The KKK outfit gives me pause, but I can still imagine entitled ignorant white boys wearing such to a private party. Hell, as late as the early 90’s, nearly ever KA fraternity in the South had formals where the men wore Confederate uniforms and the women wore hoop skirts. At Ole Miss, there was a frat that had an annual “Charles Sumner Cane Party,” a coed swap held to commemorate the caning of Sumner by Preston Brooks. And we still occasionally get the dumbass who wears blackface to Halloween parties today, thought it only becomes a scandal when the dumbass is dumbassed enough to put the pics on Facebook.

    But it really is remarkable to me that the people who put together a med school yearbook didn’t blink about including such a picture in 1984. Also, for what it’s worth, I still have all three years of my law school yearbook, but I never picked up a single one of the yearbooks from my undergrad or grad school years. They wanted $75 for a huge tome in which my face only appeared on the back row of the marching band.

  238. 238
    Gbbalto says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Jacobins? Most Democrats who have said he should resign are crazy radicals?

  239. 239
    Brickley Paiste says:

    It doesn’t matter whether he’s in the photo or not. It doesn’t matter if it was put on the right yearbook page or not.

    So what is your theory here about what Northam did wrong that requires his resignation?

    Your post has a lot of handwavey stuff about there being a lot of prejudice and bigotry (all true) but, what does that have to do with Northam? That he attended a school where the people who put together the yearbooks showed poor taste/were racist?

    (Personally, my suspicion is that it is him in the photo but if it’s not, so what? I saw my HS yearbook but never purchased it and I never even saw the yearbook/pic books that were put together for college and another professional school I attended.)

  240. 240
    Thoughtful David says:

    I said I’m not defending Notham. I’m trying to get at a bigger question. A bunch of you are (intentionally?) misinterpreting what I wrote.
    I asked if it’s possible to be redeemed. Is it? If it’s not, we’ll be constantly played by Republicans who have no morals. What does it take to be redeemed?
    A point brought up by zhena: Northam didn’t previously mention this. Are we going to require that every Democrat mention every stupid thing they’ve ever done, repeatedly, in public? We’re making it impossible to ever be a public official.

  241. 241
    NotMax says:

    @Thoughtful David

    There’s a qualitative difference between stupid things and egregiously offensive things.

    There’s a difference between disavowing rather than repudiating behavior or track record.

  242. 242
    Gbbalto says:

    @Brachiator: We need Virginia in 2020.

  243. 243
    WaterGirl says:

    @sukabi: That is truly a great take on this.

    Today, as everyone indicts the governor for his racism and everyone professes to stew in anger at how he has let down his constituents, I am most disturbed by the ways that we allow folks to construct progressive public personas that are allowed to mask a problematic past even as the country endorses the past and the masking. WE have allowed people to use buzzwords like equity and social justice to mask their racism. WE have allowed sitting next to the right people or hanging the right painting to erase things they have done that cause pain. WE have failed to allow folks to face their history and the part they play in what they profess to fight against. It is easy to advocate for something without acknowledging that you are part of what caused it. It is easy for the governor to denounce the hatred in Charlottesville without acknowledging that he is a branch of the tree that the hate there grew from.

    Today, the unearthing of that abhorrent picture from the governor’s yearbook leads every black constituent to be framed as the Jim Crow image in the photo. It brings black folks in Virginia and beyond to feel the terror of being led by a Klansmen. Black folks will always question if this is how the governor sees them. They will never know who is leading them. Is it the local boy who learned from desegregation or the man who hates black people?

    When a curated progressive persona reveals itself to be a new iteration of the same old racism, it hurts. It takes the wind out of the sails of black folks who thought they were headed to a promised land of equity and freedom with the support of an ally.

    To the education community, this is why we focus on anti-racist teaching and the need for teachers to confront their past and present biases when working with communities of color. In moments like these, I become more keenly aware of the racism that is being masked by carefully curated words. I grow increasingly more sensitive to disingenuous celebrations of Black History Month by folks who don’t see our history without their supremacy. I become more aware that created artifacts that look and sound good (like equity-focused curriculum), when enacted by racist people, only serves to distract from racism and not address it. Most importantly, I am keenly aware that racism has been deposited into the fabric of this country. It is in every fiber of the very fabric we use to mask it. It is woven into portraits of Barbara Rose John, deeply embedded in equity-themed academic standards, present in stories of desegregation and stamped into pedagogies of inclusion. It is worn by those who profess to be our strongest allies and we won’t know it until they reveal themselves or their pasts do.

  244. 244
    gwangung says:

    Repentance is always possible.

    But it should come from a place of humility. And there should be a price to that humility.

    Don’t think Northam is being humble. He has not paid the price; he is being cheap about this. And he has not even begun to heal the constituents he has hurt.

  245. 245
    Mandalay says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    We’re making it impossible to ever be a public official.

    Just stop.

    Democratic politicians who blackfaced themselves for a joke, and then kept quiet about and lied about it while pontificating on racism don’t get to stay in office.That’s hardly raising the bar to an impossible height.

    There is a zero tolerance for racists in the Democratic Party and that’s exactly how it should be. If you don’t like it there’s another political party just around the corner that will accept you with open arms.

  246. 246
    Mary G says:

    @WaterGirl: Twitter often cuts off the bottom of pictures, but if you click on the document/picture itself you can see the whole thing, and in bigger type.

  247. 247
    Ruckus says:

    @Suzanne:
    High position. check.
    There are only 50 governors, that’s half the number of senators, out of over 300 million of us. In most states they run the place, they set the tone of the state, good or bad. VA has a population of 8 1/2 million people, ranked 12th in the nation. So yeah, high position. And he just shit all over that.

  248. 248
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Mandalay:

    Democratic politicians who blackfaced themselves for a joke, [did he?]and then kept quiet about and lied about it [when?] while pontificating on racism [seems like we want politicians to speak out/pontificate against racism, don’t you think?] don’t get to stay in office.That’s hardly raising the bar to an impossible height.

    There is a zero tolerance for racists in the Democratic Party and that’s exactly how it should be. [What makes him racist, exactly?] If you don’t like it there’s another political party just around the corner that will accept you with open arms.

  249. 249
    Mandalay says:

    @gwangung:

    He has not paid the price; he is being cheap about this.

    You’re not wrong:

    Northam said that listening to the chorus of calls for him to step down would allow him to “spare myself from the difficult path that lies ahead,” he continued. “I could avoid an honest conversation about harmful actions from my past. I cannot in good conscience choose the path that would be easier for me.”

    The nerve of the bastard. Every man and his dog wants him gone immediately, but he’s refusing to resign in order to punish himself? I’ll believe that if he starts donating his salary to the NAACP.

  250. 250
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @germy:

    Eric Scharf • 8 hours ago
    If we’re going to demand everyone resign whoever said or did something racist, sexist, classist, or homophobic, there won’t be any white men left in charge of anything, and that can’t be right.

    What bullshit. That standard excludes almost every human alive.

    @Adam L Silverman: and that hot take is even dumber. If either of them saved my kid’s life in the past, i wouldn’t regret that because they later turned out to have issues.

    And it’s patently ridiculous to compare Northam to nutball *and Republican* Carson, whose policies do actual harm to blacks and whites alike.

    And I’m not defending Northam. Blackface is never ok, and that should have been well understood in 1984.

  251. 251
    dnfree says:

    I was not familiar with how far into the 20th century and beyond open racism existed in the state of Virginia. (I’m from northern Illinois.) When I saw the movie “Hidden Figures”, I couldn’t believe it represented the situation (separate bathrooms, separate facilities in general, restriction of jobs) in the 1960s. I worked at Argonne National Laboratory in the 1960s. I knew Virginia had been part of the south in the Civil War era, but I just didn’t realize how far that extended into the present. It wasn’t as publicized as, for example, Alabama or Mississippi.

  252. 252
    Mandalay says:

    @Brickley Paiste: And you as well – just stop. Go troll somewhere else.

  253. 253
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    Late in the thread, but I think we both think that a white Democrat trying to brazen their way through a racial scandal is a really, REALLY bad idea given who the true base of the party is.

  254. 254
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: I swear I did that and it didn’t work.

    edit: Just tried again. Did he end with a nothing burger of a statement? Nothing about whether he needed to step down?

  255. 255
    eemom says:

    What if he’d worn a Nazi uniform in 1984 and said it’s not who he is anymore?

    @dnfree:

    uh, Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy? And more Civil War battles fought here than anywhere else.

    eta: my husband remembers segregated drinking fountains. Born in 1955 and grew up in the Norfolk area.

  256. 256
    rikyrah says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Uh huh
    Uh huh 😒😒😡

  257. 257
    Mike in DC says:

    I think the low point was when Gov. Northam started quoting Sir Mix-A-Lot.

  258. 258

    I know this is all academic, but… suppose he had said, “Yes, I am aware of that yearbook page, and I made a big stink about it at the time, but what was printed was printed and there was nothing I could do about it,” etc. How would we feel then?

  259. 259
    rikyrah says:

    @Brachiator:
    So, Democrats don’t know how to do Nuance?
    Really?

    Explain to me what is nuanced about Blackface AND the KLAN?

    I am waiting.

  260. 260
    lamh36 says:

    Seriously, every time I see the picture from Ralph Northram’s medical school yearbook I cringe and almost scream. These are future doctors who could be in charge of taking care of black mothers delivering black babies or black men dealing with medical conditions. It’s terrifying.

    https://twitter.com/yamiche/status/1091766950680760321?s=21

    Like I said before, it’s not an abstract thing for Black folks

  261. 261
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    I would not possibly consider myself competent to judge, now, whether Northam is forgivable. Virginia’s black caucus said they gave him a chance and he blew it. They strongly want him out. That’s good enough for me.

  262. 262
    Aleta says:

    Kaitlin Byrd‏ @GothamGirlBlue

    White men really see the power over collective interests as an inherent right. No one is saying that Northam can’t improve but that he doesn’t have the right to be governor of black citizens while he works on himself.

    Erick Erickson @EWErickson
    I woke up this morning still sure it is not a good precedent for a society to turn on someone for a 35 year old photo when in the past 35 years his conduct shows he has grown in character. We strip away grace and any incentive to improve by doing this.

    Kaitlin Byrd‏ @GothamGirlBlue

    To think of it as a mistake made long ago is exactly the wrong take. It’s about trust and how elected representatives embody collective power.

    Before black voters had ability to be a decisive block, white voters were the only people who could hold elected officials accountable. That’s the world that Ralph Northam came of age in. That’s the world of this photo.

    Ralph Northam knew, when he ran for governor of a state with a long history of racism, that he had violated the trust of his black constituents by dressing up in blackface. Yet he asked them for their votes and received them, without this disclosure.

    His first reaction when this came out was to hold onto power by minimizing it in his apology. Now he’s explicitly denying the very thing he apologized for and further eroding trust by bringing up lots of times (?!?) he apparently engaged with blackface.

    For obvious reasons, as an agent of the public trust he shouldn’t expect black constituents to believe that he’s operating in good faith. He betrayed them in his actions today and his behavior years ago, but also in not trusting his own growth.

    Because a man who has grappled with racism and his role in it, a man who has grown beyond his own limitations would not be afraid of being able to get trust from people whom he had previously hurt by being honest and seeking empathy and restorative compensation for the offense.

    If Ralph Northam thought he was that man, he would not have been a coward today. But he has not atoned and yet still believes, over the judgment rendered by black Virginians, that he should continue to wield power over black citizens.

    The reality of this age, which has not yet become clear to the white men who have so long run this country, is that they are no longer the ones who make the rules about what is and is not acceptable in public life.

    White men are no longer the decisive voting block in many elections, and so we are liberated from accepting the minimum from them.

    White Virginians will be likely to forgive Northam, thinking of their own transgressions.
    Black Virginians are under no such obligation. They were his margin of victory, and their demands are the weight on his dying governorship.

    Now he is trying to hold onto power over black constituents without taking their concerns seriously, consolidating the betrayal. The only way to be worthy of holding that power would have been to concede it.

    It is a grave mistake to think that it will be easy or comfortable to wield power over people without their consent. Ralph Northam is about to realize that soon, if not immediately.

  263. 263
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: He probably had a narrow lane to survive this, but I think he didn’t understand what he need to do.

    It wasn’t clear in your hypothetical whether that picture was him.

  264. 264
    lamh36 says:

    @rikyrah: they figure where else Black voters gonna go huh rikyrah…and they wonder why so many of the younger generations than us question the loyalty of Black voters to the party.

    And they wonder why older Black folks have a hard time telling this kids…that the Dem party unlike the GOP doesn’t take Black voters for granted.

    And if/when Black voters turnout is low the same folks blame Black folks for the lost

  265. 265
    Lyrebird says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    suppose he had said, “Yes, I am aware of that yearbook page, and I made a big stink about it at the time…

    A person who would make a stink about it back then is a person who would have taken on Gillespie with statements like “yes I participated in overt racist crap, but when I saw it hurting people, I spoke up, and since then I have done x y z to advance equality.”

  266. 266
    James E Powell says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    Hmmmm. Wonder what it was about the 80s that made people think blackface was okay. What could have been happening in our political culture in those day? Can’t seem to recall.

  267. 267
    eemom says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Exactly. I can’t believe any white person of conscience would refuse to defer to the judgment of Black folks on this, but I’m seeing it everywhere.

  268. 268

    @Baud:

    It wasn’t clear in your hypothetical whether that picture was him.

    Sorry–in my hypothetical he would say, no way was that me, I was shocked to see it, I didn’t want that on my page, but there was nothing I could do.

  269. 269
    rikyrah says:

    @lamh36:
    I can barely go a week without reading something in Twitter about another Black woman dead, who went to a doctor and told them something was wrong. Hell, Serena Williams would probably be
    DEAD, if she hadn’t advocated against the doctors after she gave birth to her daughter.

    Then, we get the studies which show that , routinely, Black people are thought to be able to handle more pain, which can be traced back to phucking slavery.

    You don’t think that the Black patients of the KLAN wearer had anything to worry about in his care?

    Phuck Outta Here 😡😡

  270. 270
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: He might have a little Forrest Gump in him. Truthfully after watching the press event and seeing his wife give him the thumbs up, I doubt he’s racist. Socially immature, definitely. Clueless, definitely. On the spectrum, possibly.
    His comment about his aide having to explain to him why it was offensive and saying he wasn’t going to do it again was a big tell especially for a 59 year old man.

  271. 271
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Mandalay:

    Look, it’s one thing to say “I don’t believe home, he should resign.”

    Something entirely else to say “He should resign even if he was not in photo because … reasons”

  272. 272
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I don’t understand then. What would we be faulting him for in your hypo? I think we’re better than guilt by inadvertent association.

  273. 273

    So is the conclusion that knowing Northam had this in his past, he should have never run for office as a D?

    Alternatively, how could he have dealt with this past if he had any chance to be redeemed.

    ETA: I am asking this because being neither black nor white, and not being born here. I am well aware that I do not have an instinctive understanding of race relations. I feel more like an observer rather than a participant.

  274. 274
    Fair Economist says:

    Speculating but it’s not impossible given how he’s acting: What if Northam refuses to resign?

  275. 275
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah:

    Then, we get the studies which show that, routinely, Black people are thought to be able to handle more pain, which can be traced back to phucking slavery.

    That’s disgusting. You would have to be an animal to think that about another human being. All these “nice” white men in power who are anything but. Kavanaugh, and now this. It’s beyond depressing.

  276. 276
    B.B.A. says:

    Never thought I’d see a politician come out of a press conference looking worse than Budd Dwyer, and yet here we are.

  277. 277
    eemom says:

    @rikyrah:

    You don’t think that the Black patients of the KLAN wearer had anything to worry about in his care?

    That’s the first thing one of my Black friends said, and it hadn’t even occurred to me.

    White privilege. It’s a thing.

  278. 278

    @Baud: I’m asking because people were calling for his head before he said a single thing; my hypothetical is the best damage control I could come up with. Obviously he didn’t say it so it’s academic. Just curious what people thought.

  279. 279
    gwangung says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Honestly? Probably not. It’s possible to successfully manage such an instance, but it takes a very fine political hand, and he’s showing that he doesn’t have one.

    Because it >IS< a pretty damn heinous act, done at a fairly mature age. Really hard to dig out from under that.

  280. 280
    lamh36 says:

    Sigh. There is a reason why Black folk don’t trust the medical society.

    Another photo in the 1984 EVMS yearbook pictures a man who appears to be in blackface and dressed as a woman with the caption: “who ever thought Diana Ross would make it to Medical School!” pilotonline.com/news/governmen…

    https://twitter.com/virginianpilot/status/1091797305064333312?s=21

    #NotAbstractThisShitIsPersonal

  281. 281
    WaterGirl says:

    @JPL: The more I see, the more I absolutely know that this guy is racist. If someone has to explain to a grown man why it is vile to dress up in black face, that’s beyond wrong.

  282. 282
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @dnfree:

    Interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia until the late ’60s. (Loving v. Virginia decided by the Supreme Court in 1967.)

  283. 283
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @JPL:

    His comment about his aide having to explain to him why it was offensive and saying he wasn’t going to do it again was a big tell especially for a 59 year old man.

    Exactly.

    @Baud:

    He probably had a narrow lane to survive this, but I think he didn’t understand what he need to do.

    Exactly.

    It’s time to go, doctor governor.

  284. 284
    Lyrebird says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Virginia’s black caucus said they gave him a chance and he blew it. They strongly want him out. That’s good enough for me.

    Seconded.

    @lamh36: Fwiw, I was just talking with a buddy at work, trying to find ways to tell our other coworkers that some of the same topics we are asked to talk about regarding diversity can hit harder emotionally with the kids who are already feeling less welcome , and how can we avoid making things worse in the name of making them better. I hope you have SO MUCH self-care lined up, pedicure or whatever. FWIW.

  285. 285
  286. 286
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Fair enough. I still think it’s important not to jump the gun, but here the gun jumpers ended up being right. It’s fine to acknowledge that.

  287. 287
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I may well be wrong, but I’m gonna speculate that there are a whole lotta people who find this “what if” speculation to be highly offensive.

    Let’s say a young white girl was kidnapped and held captive, and people were asking, well, what if she’d gotten away? Or what if held her captive but he never sexually assaulted her, would that be as awful?

    Pretty much everyone here would be reacting to that in a rage. There are some things that should not be the subject of academic musings. I don’t mean this as a criticism of you in particular M^4; it’s just that an idea that has been percolating in the back of my head finally formed as I read the last few comments.

  288. 288
    Mnemosyne says:

    @germy:

    That is some weapons-grade snark right there. Well done, LGM.

  289. 289
    zhena gogolia says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I had the same problem.

  290. 290
    Mary G says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I think it would have made a difference if he had disclosed it during the campaign, apologized and exhibited believable repentance. Robert Byrd was a big shot Klan guy and no one ran him out of the Democratic Party. Northam is being disingenuous in the “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” way. He seemed to acknowledge last night that it was him and apologized, but when he saw that wasn’t going to fly, he came out with the SODDIT defense.

  291. 291
    zhena gogolia says:

    @lamh36:

    This is visceral. I don’t understand why a number of people don’t get that.

  292. 292
    Redshift says:

    @dnfree: I grew up in the 60s in Arlington, the most urban northeastern county in Virginia, right across the river from DC. School desegregation came when I was in elementary school (though it had started earlier for older kids.)

    That was when I came to know that South Arlington was the black part. What I didn’t know until years later was that from the 1930s until 1966 there had been a wall on the boundary between North and South Arlington.

    And that was in what was probably the least bad part of the state for black people.

  293. 293
    WaterGirl says:

    @lamh36: Seeing all those photos makes me sick. We have all these white males with power over other people, with and at least some of them having a decent enough facade that they appear to be good human beings, and all the while they see women and black people and others as somehow less than human. It’s downright depressing. And it’s personal, in the same way that Kavanaugh was person for millions of women.

  294. 294
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Baud: you are correct, lawyer man. Giving him a chance to address the situation was the correct course of action. Now that the facts are in evidence and he has had the opportunity to respond, we can fairly make the call: get out!

  295. 295

    @WaterGirl: there have been two front-page posts so far speculating on how he might survive/try to survive it, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to leave a comment to that effect.

  296. 296
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, in case I have not yet made myself 100 percent clear: Northam needs to resign because of this. Now. Full stop.

  297. 297
    zhena gogolia says:

    @eemom:

    There’s a play about him in NYC right now that sounds devastating.

  298. 298
    WaterGirl says:

    @eemom: I could see what it was going to be just by the URL.

    Father of gynecology who experimented on slaves no longer on pedestal? No longer on pedestal? I am in a rage; I can’t even open that.

  299. 299
    zhena gogolia says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Right.

  300. 300

    @Mnemosyne:

    Also, in case I have not yet made myself 100 percent clear: Northam needs to resign because of this. Now. Full stop.

    I suppose I should clarify that I feel the same way.

  301. 301
    Darkrose says:

    @rikyrah: I’m looking at this and thinking about all the stories of black doctors who are constantly having their credentials questioned, and how these asshole white boys take it for granted that no one will question their right to be treated like demigods.

  302. 302
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: I lobbied for waiting for the facts, but damn, the facts came in as even worse than the original story. There is just no wiggle room here.

  303. 303
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: It seems to me that he was shocked that this was such a big deal.

    Angry Black Lady was right. The opposition research guys must have seen that photo and thought, at best “not that big a deal” and at worst “that looks fun”.

    Maybe we need to look at their yearbooks.

  304. 304
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Again, I wasn’t singling you out. Really. It’s the impersonality of the speculation, not quite as if it’s a game, but that it’s “an interesting thing to think about”.

    I sure wouldn’t have been open to anything like that with Kavanaugh. I was whipsawing between rage and hope and despair. I know it’s not the same thing, but it’s maybe close enough that I can maybe get half a clue.

  305. 305
    B.B.A. says:

    Once again, the lesson to take from this is to never nominate a white man for any position.

  306. 306
    Emma says:

    @Mary G: Yes. Exactly. If he had owned up to it early on and explained how his personal journey had changed him, and taken the backlash with humility, I think people would have been inclined to listen. I was one of the ones willing to wait last night but after today’s performance… no.

    On more general terms, I have had the mildest PG sort of life, and I would rather chew on burning glass than run for office.

  307. 307
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL:

    I’m not sure what to think, but I do stand with those who think he should resign. . I want to know what the Lt. Gov thinks.

    The LG is in a kind of tough spot, and I feel sorry for him. If he urges Northam to resign, he just looks opportunistic. If he doesn’t, he looks like a wuss. Either way, an untenable position for him, poor guy.

    (Have been at the opera all afternoon, so am just now seeing this thread. That means that other commenters, almost certainly, will have said this earlier and better.)

  308. 308
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Northam should step down graciously and apologize for not bringing his racist conduct to the voters’ attention when he first became involved in politics. It’s a shame that this is how his political career ends but he chose to pose in racist garbs so too bad.

  309. 309

    @WaterGirl: fair enough, and I suppose it’s telling that I would never write a post about it or write that in one of the first hundred comments. FWIW when it’s one of my oxen being gored, I’m also interested in that sort of speculation, but then again I’m on the spectrum sooo

  310. 310
    WaterGirl says:

    @WaterGirl: I came back to edit that comment to be clear that I wasn’t trying to insinuate that M^4 or anyone else didn’t have even half a clue. I was speaking only for my view of myself.

    Too late to edit, of course.

  311. 311
    Darkrose says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Most of the initial commentary was “IF that’s him, he needs to resign.” Then he issued a statement that acknowledged he was one of the guys in the photo and apologizing, so everyone figured he was going to resign. Then his story changed, at which point he really fucking needed to resign.

    So why are we doing all of these hypotheticals at this point, given that we know what happened? Oh, right. White guys always get the benefit of the doubt.

  312. 312
    lamh36 says:

    When I spoke to my grandfather a few days ago he talked about how as a child his mother hid him & his siblings in the back of the house when the Klan rode by at night. I watched him wince at the recollection. This isn’t just a photo. It’s not an abstraction. This is real for ppl.
    https://twitter.com/clintsmithiii/status/1091821129428357121?s=21

  313. 313
    Ruckus says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    I’ll try to answer this.
    This white man has run for office as a friend of the black community. He won on that basis. The world is changing for the better, the white man is having to learn that he’s not the answer to everyone’s issues and that the white man being the boss/(owner) is a losing proposition. The governor seemed to have had learned that, and yet here he is trying to double down on his not having learned that at all. He’s acting like a mini drumpf, thinking that the world will regard him as a great leader, just because. In drumpf’s case it’s because his brain is like congealed soup, in the governor’s case it seems that it’s because his past has caught up with him and he has no clue what to do about it, he’s seemingly never thought about his upbringing/schooling being a problem but rather an answer. If I’m right, this is just another case of white privilege. One not as bad as many others but still, that’s the issue.

  314. 314
    jl says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    My two cents:

    “I asked if it’s possible to be redeemed. Is it? If it’s not, we’ll be constantly played by Republicans who have no morals. What does it take to be redeemed?”
    Generally, yes, I personally think it is possible to redeem oneself from things like Northam’s racist cosplay in the past. I think irrelevant for Northram now since he apparently had no clue what the real issues were today.

    “A point brought up by zhena: Northam didn’t previously mention this. Are we going to require that every Democrat mention every stupid thing they’ve ever done, repeatedly, in public? We’re making it impossible to ever be a public official.”

    I agree, there is a problem with an undefined and open ended list of possible offenses that a person should preemptively admit to before running for office. That standard is ill defined and too easy to game into a destructive gotcha game. People need to use their judgment, and another reason why I think rapid calls for resignations or to drop out of a race as news is breaking is a bad idea.

    I do think open question whether Northram used good judgment here. Given the GOP’s disgraceful race baiting and race card playing, race was an issue he had to deal with candidly. Hard to believe that he did not recall his history of racist cosplay, and public evidence of it was all over the place, and that in politics, it would be used against him sooner or later.

  315. 315
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Diversity isn’t just about gender or color or who we love. We can all learn from each other.

  316. 316
    Elizabelle says:

    Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring put out a statement:

    “It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Fairfax and assured him that, should he ascend to the governorship, he will have my complete support and commitment to ensuring his success and the success of our Commonwealth.”

    – Attorney General Mark R. Herring

  317. 317
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Vicky Ward’s book on Ivank, Jared and charlie comes out this week

    Who dat?

    (Sorry, Charlie.)

  318. 318
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Even if it was not him in the photo!

  319. 319
    eemom says:

    @WaterGirl:

    fwiw, it was a literal pedestal: a statue of him in Central Park was taken down.

  320. 320
    TomatoQueen says:

    AG Mark Herring has called for resignation. I don’t see how this goes on past the 11 pm news.

  321. 321
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    I said I’m not defending Notham.

    I know. And that was a lie.

    A bunch of you are (intentionally?) misinterpreting what I wrote.

    No. People are raising all the conclusions that flow from your dumb ass premises.

    We’re making it impossible to ever be a public official.

    Well, that’s just horrible. You mean people will be barred from public office for such insignificant trivia as {checks notes} wearing blackface and/or a Klan robe? Yup, that does sound even more stupid written out.

  322. 322
    Mary G says:

    It’s definitely not as far in the past as all Republicans and a shameful percentage of Democrats like to pretend. My first college roommate hung a picture of a bunch of Klansmen hanging out in the woods on the wall of our room in 1972. I am ashamed to say I had not even noticed it – her family was really rich, lived next door to Glen Campbell and I was obsessed with how many pairs of shoes she had, and a fur coat! In Los Angeles! The three or four black women on our floor came in and demanded that it be taken down. I was feeling a bit defensive in the “not my picture! not all white people! way, but before I could open my mouth, one of them turned to me and with tears in her eyes said “They killed my great grandfather,” and there’s no defense to that. This stuff echoes down the centuries and we deny it to our peril.

  323. 323
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: He posted an open letter on Twitter that was masterful. It not very subtly suggests Northam should resign without saying so explicitly.

  324. 324
    WaterGirl says:

    @eemom: Ugh. That makes it even worse. I’m not sure ignorance is bliss, but damn. it’s hard to see all the ugliness around us.

  325. 325
    NotMax says:

    Whoever advised Northam to pick up the Eric Greitens playbook on the remainder table at Politics R Us ought to resign as well. //

  326. 326
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Never mind. Apparently it refers to Jared’s father (I had forgotten his name is Charlie).

  327. 327
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: And I had never known it! So you are a step ahead of me. Though I did guess that it must be his dad, so maybe just half a step. :-)

  328. 328
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Fair Economist:

    You wouldn’t use shoe polish to look like 1984 Michael Jackson.

    Max Factor Pancake Ivory #2.

  329. 329
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I have a long-standing personal theory that stereotypes usually have a tiny grain of truth in them that the dominant culture twists into the stereotype.

    I suspect that the reason there’s a myth that Black people don’t feel as much pain as white people is that, historically, Black patients have either been in a position where they would be punished for expressing pain (as with those slave women who were experimented on) or where they were reluctant to make themselves vulnerable to a white doctor who had power over them and might not be trustworthy. And that got twisted into the stereotype that still harms Black patients today.

  330. 330
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And that got twisted into the stereotype that still harms Black patients today.

    I have a much less kind theory.

    The people who think that are the same people who things animals don’t feel pain like humans do, either. They have a lot in common with rapists who see women more as objects they have power over rather than as people who matter in their own right.

    Shorter: people who think other people are less than human are, themselves, the ones who are less than human.

  331. 331
    Brachiator says:

    @rikyrah:

    So, Democrats don’t know how to do Nuance?
    Really?

    Yeah. Ask Al Franken.

    Explain to me what is nuanced about Blackface AND the KLAN?

    Nothing. Conservatives set a trap by exposing the photo and some people jumped right in. There are probably more photos to be released when a Democrat opposes right wing policy. Are Democrats always going to cut their own throats while Republicans rarely resign over similar revelations? Where is the upside in that?

    I noted in Northam’s case that his “explanation” was pitiful. I also acknowledged that the VLBC apparently gave him every opportunity to explain himself. They deliberated and made their judgment. This works for me.

    But you know more of this is coming. Democrats had better be ready.

  332. 332

    @B.B.A.: As a person who passes as both white and male (though in some important respects I am neither), I’m 100% OK with this suggestion. Not even snarking. White dudes need a time-out for at least twenty years.

  333. 333
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: There has been research on that in medical care. The stereotypes go both ways. There is also stereotype bias where a person stereotypes him or her self based on what social prompts are provided to them. So we have the patient’s and doctor’s stereotypes about each other and themselves. And the stereotype problems still exist even if the doctor is the same race as the patient.

    Recent research suggests and easy solution is that all physicians be women in situation where honesty and mutual trust is important for treatment. For chronic illnesses, recent research shows that women physicians get consistently better results, even for hard outcomes like mortality rates, than men physicians, across a wide range of chronic illnesses and across race, ethnicity and age differences..

    Not sure what the reactionaries will say about that. I don’t think the research is widely known enough yet to get keel hauled through social media.

  334. 334
    Ruckus says:

    @Mary G:
    I’ve told this story here before. I was in a shop in northwestern South Carolina in 90 or 91 with a buddy and we’d been there about 30 min and my buddy asked to use the restroom. He came back and said you gotta go see this. Went in, the restroom was immaculate and had advertising signs as used to be nailed on the sides of barns and posts, all with advertising using black stereotypes – Aunt Jamima kind of stuff. It was intended to be a racist statement. And if you didn’t think so, hanging on the back of the door was a white robe and pointed hood, aged as old cotton tends to do over the decades. When I went back out I asked the shop owner if it was real. “You bet your life.” Having spent 2 yrs stationed in Charleston, SC in the early 70s, I believed him 100%. I’d almost bet that robe is still hanging in that restroom.
    @lamh36:

    “This isn’t just a photo. It’s not an abstraction. This is real for ppl.”

    Real and horrifying. I wish I could say I can imagine but really I can’t. I know it’s real, I know all of this crap has been happening for hundreds of years and is still happening and real, and I know this as sure as I’m still breathing, but I can’t feel it in my bones, I just don’t have the perspective of a victim.

  335. 335
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: My simple rule for elected officials: don’t rush to judgment as soon as news breaks. Wait until information comes in on what the situation really is, and see how the accused responds, see how those who have to work and govern with the accused respond.

  336. 336
    WaterGirl says:

    @Ruckus: You should have smuggled the robe out and burned it.

    edit: hindsight is 20-20.

  337. 337
    lamh36 says:

    FRFR…I can’t get over this shit.

    Wait a minute…this mofo talking bout the photo is not him, but he did do Michael Jackson Blackface to win a dance competition…muthaphucka…

    FIRST of all…press asked if he could still do the moonwalk…and this mofo actually looked around like he was seeing if he had enough room…and his fuq’n wife stepped up and said “inappropriate circumstances”…

    2nd of all…THIS IS WHAT MJ looked like in 1984…GTFOH w/that bullshit https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/071137a6dcacdd6f09d6ec8111a17b0f499086f09102df76ce5f87d0f83396dc.jpg

  338. 338
    eemom says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))):

    I’m 100% OK with this suggestion. Not even snarking. White dudes need a time-out for at least twenty years.

    👏👏👏

    I can’t even believe it was intended as snark, if in fact it was. (?)

  339. 339

    @Gbbalto: Based on the sample size of this thread, yes. The level of animus based on a really repulsive thing that happened 35 years ago, yet people here ignore the heinous activities of their chosen faith everyday. I thought forgiveness was part of your tradition.

    Focus on the present enemy. From what I can tell, Northampton has risen above his earlier disgusting behavior.

    You may now return to your angry mob.

  340. 340
    gwangung says:

    Focus on the present enemy. From what I can tell, Northampton has risen above his earlier disgusting behavior.

    That assumes far too much of him.

    Because there is going to be that doubt in the back of every black person’s mind in Virginia. And it’s a VERY rational doubt….because it’s a goddam survival skill.

  341. 341
    B.B.A. says:

    @eemom: It was not snark. My pale male ass agrees with Susan Sontag in calling the white race a cancer upon humanity – although that’s being a bit unfair to cancer.

  342. 342
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I suspect that the reason there’s a myth that Black people don’t feel as much pain as white people is that, historically, Black patients have either been in a position where they would be punished for expressing pain (as with those slave women who were experimented on) or where they were reluctant to make themselves vulnerable to a white doctor who had power over them and might not be trustworthy.

    No. Just no.

    Too many examples of white Southerners reveling in the pain of black people they tortured for this “theory” to be plausible.

    White racists love to rationalize any bullshit they believe with respect to other people. It’s like Trump’s ICE officials declaring that concentration camps are like “summer camps” to incarcerated children separated from their parents.

  343. 343
    Ruckus says:

    @WaterGirl:
    At the time I was more in the I should take this and stuff it down the asshole’s throat till he chokes on it end of the concept but I’m not sure my buddy would have helped so, no, it stayed on the hook. 30 yrs later I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have helped, but I never was able to determine if he thought it was cool or horrifying. He’s 81 or so now and pretty frail, I saw him last year for the first time in maybe 10 or 12 yrs at a banquet. We don’t agree on politics at all. He strikes me as a short timer.

  344. 344
    Ruckus says:

    @A Ghost To Most:
    I think that most of us who were asking for a wait and see period, yesterday, were more than willing to see how things went, the evidence and the reaction.
    We’ve seen that, and it’s not pretty, it’s not worthy of a governor, it’s not worthy of a democratic politician. He’s standing there in golf spikes and stomping on his own dick. It was always going to be a tough road for him, just because of the nature of the accusation and the facts from 35 yrs ago but then he wore those golf shoes to the press conference and started tap dancing. It isn’t going to get better, ever. It was possibly salvageable, possibly explainable, possibly doing a lot of work here. But then he opened his mouth…. As I explained to SC, this is what white privilege looks like from our side.

  345. 345
    WaterGirl says:

    @lamh36: He seems bewildered to me, like he still doesn’t get exactly why this is such a big deal. Wow.

  346. 346
    Mandalay says:

    @Brachiator:

    Are Democrats always going to cut their own throats while Republicans rarely resign over similar revelations?

    Two things:

    – Putting all moral concerns about Northam’s past and current behavior aside, the Democratic Party is not cutting its own throat by getting Northam to resign. It would be cutting its own throat by allowing him to stay.

    – Florida’s Republican secretary of state resigned last week because photos emerged of him in backface. If Northam doesn’t resign Democrats will be in the odd position of having no legitimate authority to criticize Republicans over any issue relating to race – the Republicans will just turn around and say that Democrats protect their racists, and they would have a point.

    Northam has to go.

  347. 347
    Jr says:

    @smintheus: you take that back about Coming To America

  348. 348

    @Mandalay: To be fair, we’re not actually “protecting” him; we’re almost unanimously demanding his resignation. It’s just that he’s the only one in a position to do anything about it.

    Also to be fair, facts don’t matter to Republicans, and they’ll cheerfully elide our widespread demands for his resignation from their telling without blinking.

    @eemom: @B.B.A.: In case there was any doubt, I wasn’t snarking either. I mean, I already said that, but might as well repeat it for good measure.

  349. 349
    Fair Economist says:

    @Ruckus: Seconding Ruckus, both Josh Marshall and Booman have pieces up saying Northam needed to explain why he did it and how he learned not to since, and that since he did not even try he should resign. They are generally on the forgive and wait for the facts side of things; certainly not bombthrowers. I feel the same way and have said as much.

  350. 350
    JR says:

    @Brachiator: some democrats vote their ideals

  351. 351
    WaterGirl says:

    @Fair Economist: Even if he tried to explain, it’s too late. It’s too fucking late. No one trusts him or his leadership. He has to go. The fact that (in my opinion) he still doesn’t really grasp how wrong it all is — well that’s a disqualifier right there.

  352. 352
    Mandalay says:

    @WaterGirl:

    No one trusts him or his leadership.

    The few remaining holdouts have finally got with the program:

    U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-3rd, Virginia’s most senior elected Democrats, issued a joint statement Saturday evening calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign.

    “After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as governor of Virginia and that he must resign,” they said in the joint statement.

    Is there any prominent Democrat offering a public opinion who hasn’t called for Northam to go?

  353. 353
    Marshall Eubanks says:

    This is a political hit, executed by people who are very unlikely to be friendly to the Democratic party or its goals.

    It is never wise to do what your enemy wants you to do. Northam should not resign.

  354. 354
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Kushner’s dad.

  355. 355
    Juju says:

    @cmorenc: I have lived in eastern NC since 1980. I have lived in the northeast and midwest as well, but have spent more than half my life in eastern NC. NC may have been more enlightening during the 1980s than it was in the Jim Crow days, but remember, this is the state that sent Jesse Helms to the senate from 1973-2003.

    Paul Campos wrote a short commentary about the Virginia situation at LGM today. I very much agree with what he said. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth the time.

  356. 356
    Miss Bianca says:

    He needs to resign not because he or anyone else may be sure that he is actually either the man in black face or the man in the Klan costume or that the picture is on the right page, but because American needs to see examples of leaders who take responsibility, even if they’re not 100% sure that they are the responsible party, when something bad happens, and then take the hard and important first steps to fix the problem.

    Yep.

    End of story.

    Been spending all day reading Bad Blood, about the Theranos scandal. (Curses, whichever one of you recommended that book! An entire day sucked down the tubes!) Another example of a leader who refused to do the hard job of actually leading and taking responsibility, despite avowed good intentions.

    Damn. I really, really hope Northam reconsiders. He could be doing so much good, and instead he looks to cause so much damage. : (

  357. 357
    Fair Economist says:

    @Marshall Eubanks: If this were a political hit, it would have been delivered when it actually hurt the Democrats. One week before the Gov election would have been catastrophic. More likely it is an attack on Northam himself from some forced birther.

  358. 358
    gwangung says:

    @Marshall Eubanks: Got it. You’re OK with blackface and the Klan as horseplay, and ignoring what they mean to wide segments of the American public.

    I think it far wiser to bring to center the experiences of the black community and what this means to them. With the way he’s acting, he’s not earning back, in any way, trust from the black and the POC communities.

  359. 359
    Ruckus says:

    @WaterGirl:
    That really is it, he doesn’t get it.
    He had a momentary window of opportunity here and very difficult road to travel to get to the right ending. And he blew both. He really doesn’t get it.
    So it’s both, the way he tried to handle this and that he really doesn’t see why it’s such an issue, everyone around him did/said stuff like this, then. And he’s changed so he doesn’t get why this was/is an issue.
    That’s democratic white privilege. No one expects our politicians to be perfect but we do expect them to not be assholes or at the very least properly apologize for the times they were thoughtless or fucking stupid and not have that be their normal operating system.

  360. 360
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    Too many examples of white Southerners reveling in the pain of black people they tortured for this “theory” to be plausible.

    As far too many people who have been tortured by bullies can tell you, reacting or screaming when the bully hurts you only encourages them to hurt you more. So it seems quite rational to me that someone would underreact to pain inflicted by someone they don’t trust, even (or especially) if that person is a doctor.

    @WaterGirl:

    I don’t mean for it to be kind to those doctors who still believe this. At all. The fact that their patients are too frightened or wary of them to be honest is a gigantic failure on the part of those doctors.

    And, yes, the sociopathy of not seeing the other person as a person has historically played into it, but I think the persistence of the myth to present day comes from doctors not being properly trained in how to gain the trust of patients who have good reason not to trust medical professionals.

  361. 361
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    We human beings/Democrats need to figure out what transgressions are disqualifying, which require penance and how much, and which can be overlooked. Or else we’ll get constantly played by mobs.

    This Democrat has decided that a white guy politician making mealy-mouthed excuses that insult the intelligence, minimizes/trivializes the objections of women and people of color to their behavior, and actively damages the party and their constituents by their refusal to do the right thing, *cannot* be overlooked.

    24 hours ago I was willing to give Northam the benefit of the doubt.

    No longer. We need Governor Fairfax as of yesterday.

  362. 362
    Ben Cisco says:

    I’ve been out of pocket since this all blew up. A few things:
    1) I was a college student in ALA-FREAKING-BAMA during this time, at a NON-HBCU. This shit would not have flown.
    2) rikyrah said everything more coherently than I would have had I been here. This is some shameful shit, and the fact that it even needed explaining disgusts me.
    3) I hope Nothram gets a chance to learn from this and (more importantly) have others that would enter the political arena learn from his experience. He’s just not going to be able to do so from the governor’s mansion.
    4) Yes, GOPers who’ve done this and worse should resign. They haven’t (other than that cat in FL), and they won’t. We’re BETTER THAN THAT. Or at least we’re SUPPOSED to be.

  363. 363
    buck2202 says:

    venting against a distinct minority position here, but…the “democrats shouldn’t unilaterally disarm” take gets old quickly. Setting aside the fact that not being able to muster up a definitive and immediate “no I didn’t wear blackface or klan robes” or a specific and sincere apology is a pretty big red flag, he’s bungled the response, lied either yesterday or today, and lost the support of the party and critical constituencies in an important state.

    Politics as strategy is an ok perspective to a point, but if a leader can’t credibly represent their espoused values, they need to go. Ok, this was a political hit; it doesn’t matter anymore. I wholeheartedly believe that policywise we’d be better off with bad Democrats than Republicans in charge, and, yes, winning is important…but, god, if the party would rather close ranks than take the short-term hit of his resignation and defend its credibility as not fucking racist, then those people who don’t vote because “both parties are the same” might have a point

  364. 364
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Miss Bianca: What she said.

    Because of the original source of the report, I advocated waiting for confirmation from a better source. Once we had that, it wasn’t this white chick’s recommendation to make. The people who would have to work with him should make that call.

    (That doesn’t mean that I have surrendered the right to have an opinion on the train wreck of a press conference today.)

  365. 365
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    I did a lot of thinking about this. I was appalled at what I felt (and still do) was ratfucking by the Republicans. On the other hand, once he confessed the first time, I was willing to hear what he had to say. But taking it back and trying to hold on and not accepting responsibility was pretty much the last straw for me. He has to know that he’s now a distraction from other matters and probably a boat anchor around the rest of the party. No one in the minority would trust him/or that other pictures would not come out.

    1) Lack of Judgement. Back then I don’t think he even thought about politics as a possible career. But even back in 1985, what if those pictures had been placed in front of someone responsible for hiring interns? Not every place would just say it was boys being boys or something and let him in the field. I suspect it would be true across the board-law school (unless it was a Kavanaugh or something). even academe. But he posed for pictures that were certainly offensive to someone, and he had to know about the Klan at least.
    2) Lack of sensitivity. He needed to apologize to Black Democrats and others who were offended. He did at first, but lost the script on that. He had to acknowledge that hurt today, and he didn’t.
    3) Yes, anti-choicers, Northram is going. But we are still going to get a pro-choice law enacted that recognized the medical complexity of this issue, and trust that one doctor can actually make the medical call. The ERA is going to ratified, if not this year, then next year. It isn’t up to Northram alone.

    I don’t think he’s unredeemable as a human being. Confession (and repentance) is good for the soul, and I strongly would encourage him to think it over and make amends. But that can be done as a private citizen, and considering the journey he would need to be on, he should be a private citizen.

  366. 366
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @germy:

    My past is a poisoned river, but it never occurred to me to run for governor. You’ll never see a President Germy.

    Kind of problem isn’t it, there are only so many living Saints like Obama to go around and a lot of offices to fill.

    However past mistakes are one thing, how Northam is handling it now is to much of a current mistake.

  367. 367
    Procopius says:

    @piratedan: The thing is, if the yearbook staff messes up and mistakenly puts a racist photo on your page, along with your name, you aren’t going to forget that unless you would have thought it a great joke to dress up as a “darkie” or a klansman and wish you had actually thought to do it. You aren’t going to pay for a yearbook and then never open it after they arrive from the printer, so he can’t plausibly claim he never knew that picture was there. Usually you have as many of your friends as you can sign your yearbook, too, so many of his friends must have seen the picture too, and probably commented on it. Him resigning isn’t going to “fix the problem,” because the problem is that he clearly believed and probably still believes that people of color are objects of scorn, but at least it will remove him from a position of power over people.

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