Democrats Call On VA Governor To Resign Over Racist Yearbook Photo

Beebo Brink

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I've been following this issue on DU, and two arguments in particular convinced me that his resignation is warranted:

1. Northam won the election because of the large support by African-Americans. This photo is an insult to them, a massive sign of disrespect, that he has only apologized for when it appeared. (You also have to really question the university that considered this appropriate to print in their yearbook.)
2. If odious actions like this aren't punished severely, there will be little cultural motivation to end them. They are -- and must always be -- outside the pale for anyone.

Northam's resignation would make it clear that when the Democratic party courts the AA vote, this is not just cynical exploitation of a minority population, it's a principle stand. And that resignation makes it equally clear that it is not acceptable for White people to do this and then try to ignore and forget, or brush away. Racism has consequences.
 

Casey Pelous

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After admitting yesterday that he was in the picture (and apologizing), today he suddenly remembered the people in the picture are in costumes and no one can tell who is who that he wasn't in the picture after all. :rolleyes:

....... I'm thinking if he wants to win this one, he better come up with somebody who WAS in the picture.
 
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Kamilah Hauptmann

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In 1984 no less! I thought that kind of thing was more understood to be taboo by then. I'd expect this kind of thing closer to 1964...
Not long before then I was still calling those licorice babies by an n-bomb name. Don't get me started on Brazil nuts. Transgender was rarely even thought of and if it was it lumped in with gay, and gay wasn't the word we used. AIDS was exclusively thought of as the gay disease.

84 was closer to 64 than 84 is to now.
 

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Not long before then I was still calling those licorice babies by an n-bomb name. Don't get me started on Brazil nuts. Transgender was rarely even thought of and if it was it lumped in with gay, and gay wasn't the word we used. AIDS was exclusively thought of as the gay disease.

84 was closer to 64 than 84 is to now.
It depends where you are talking about in VA. They had an African-American governor a few years after that pic.
 
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Not long before then I was still calling those licorice babies by an n-bomb name. Don't get me started on Brazil nuts. Transgender was rarely even thought of and if it was it lumped in with gay, and gay wasn't the word we used. AIDS was exclusively thought of as the gay disease.

84 was closer to 64 than 84 is to now.
I know gay rights was not a thing until I was old enough to watch it, but I had thought racial issues were a bit less ignorant. I will accept your correction.
 

Aribeth Zelin

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To play Devil's advocate here; if you punish someone for mistakes made when they were younger, and that they have shown at least some improvement since then, there is little incentive to try and be a better person. Also, by allowing the GOP to do hatchet jobs and force them out of office like this? Its letting those hypocrites win, as well.
 

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To play Devil's advocate here; if you punish someone for mistakes made when they were younger, and that they have shown at least some improvement since then, there is little incentive to try and be a better person.
That exact point was being debated and discussed on NPR today as I was driving home from work. The guest (didn't catch his name) did a capable job of dismantling that defense for Northam, in great part with Northam's own words, which show that his improvement is based on changing norms of what is socially acceptable rather than any true enlightenment. Every time his apology veered close to the mark, he'd hare off on some cringe-worthy tangent.

One example (and I'm paraphrasing here) was that Northam admitted that his experience of life was different from what black people experienced and found hurtful -- so far so good -- and then he HAD to say it: and vice versa. It's the "vice versa" that plunges Northam right back into the false equivalencies of racism. No, this isn't about two sides getting equally hurt by our different perspectives. It's about ONE side always getting crap thrown at them. It's always about ONE side having to make allowances for racism.

I can understand why a lot of black people are tired of endless "dialogues" about racism and would like there to see some real consequences for a change.

Honestly, I don't know what the statute of limitations should be for an act of such casual, arrogant racism. It's not just the blackface, it's the KKK figure in that same frame. That adds a level of violence and menace that goes beyond the distasteful mockery of blackface. Would people feel less forgiving of Northam if there had been a noose in the background? Would that be a bridge too far, where this is not?

How do you show enough contrition? What would that look like?
 

Aribeth Zelin

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I am talking in general, this isn't the first time this has come up, and I really don't know the particulars, because I only get the news in small doses. But this isn't the first time, won't be the last time.
 

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That exact point was being debated and discussed on NPR today as I was driving home from work. The guest (didn't catch his name) did a capable job of dismantling that defense for Northam, in great part with Northam's own words, which show that his improvement is based on changing norms of what is socially acceptable rather than any true enlightenment. Every time his apology veered close to the mark, he'd hare off on some cringe-worthy tangent.

One example (and I'm paraphrasing here) was that Northam admitted that his experience of life was different from what black people experienced and found hurtful -- so far so good -- and then he HAD to say it: and vice versa.
:qft:

The fact that our (white) race enslaved blacks makes all the counter-arguments meaningless. There is no statute of limitations on that, there are no apologies that are adequate. And the sooner my fellow non-blacks realize that, the easier it will be.

The last time I argued with my brother over a similar case of inappropriate racial language, he just wouldn't listen. Then I reminded him that, until he lives his life as a black person in our society he has no room to criticize or second-guess how they deal with racism. He shut up.
 

Beebo Brink

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Well, this explains a lot....

Northam’s Med School Banned Yearbooks In 2013 Due To Racist Photos

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) medical school, Eastern Virginia Medical School, banned yearbooks in 2013 after the inclusion of photos showing students dressed like Confederate soldiers, according to a Monday Washington Post report.

The administration made that move nearly 30 years after the publication of the yearbook which includes photos of men dressed in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan robe on Northam’s page.
 

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The latest on the news this morning is that Northram has hired investigators to track down why that photo got on his page and who is in it? Seriously? My HS yearbook is further back in time than that, has more people (even if you only count the seniors), and I have not seen most of them in decades. Yet if you showed me any random picture (especially if it was near mine) odds are I could identify it. I might have trouble with the person's name but by thumbing through the other pages odds are I would find a match and something would click.

In other stuff guess who Fairfax's accuser has hired to represent them? The law firm that represented Christine Blase Ford. I smell a GOP hit job where they can play whataboutism.
 

Kara Spengler

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I really have to wonder about a school whose student body thinks such behavior is okay even to the point where they put it on blast in their yearbook. And how many years has this been going on?
What has me confused is how a pic gets on his page without him being pretty familiar with it. It also usually strongly implies he is in said photo. If he found it objectionable and it was not him why would he have not made a stink about it when the yearbook was published?