As Scott noted earlier, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has changed his mind. He wasn’t one of the guys in the famous photo after all. Northam says that he never saw the picture until yesterday. He didn’t buy a copy of his medical school yearbook and doesn’t know how the photo (not of him) got onto his page.
At the same time, Northam is full of apologies. He is sorry for his past conduct. What past conduct, if he isn’t in the photo? Another time when he donned blackface–a bit of shoe polish that, he tells us, was hard to get off. The occasion was a dance competition in San Antonio where he impersonated Michael Jackson and moonwalked. He won the contest, too. As far as he has told us, that is it.
Given what a woeful picture Northam painted of his unenlightened past in the press conference, one suspects there might be another surprise or two in the cupboard. Be that as it may, Governor Northam, O.J.-like, vows to find the real
killers guys in the picture. He says his people will use facial recognition software to get to the bottom of the source of the photo. Of course, that will be a little tough with respect to the guy in the hood.
Here is Northam’s press conference. This is not a parody. It is the real thing. First the video, then a final comment.
I have no opinion as to whether Northam is, or was, a racist, although the yearbook photo is pretty bad. (The worst thing about it, in my opinion, is not the blackface, but rather the overall stereotypical–not in a good way–fashion in which the black guy is portrayed.) But I think that what the governor is doing now is dishonorable. In his press conference, he tried to identify himself with his country’s history. He talked about Virginia’s slaveholders. OK, but the conduct for which he compulsively apologized occurred in the 1980s, not the 1850s. He says he is “learning.” He is trying to become a better person. He wants to hear from people of color. He thinks racism is a horrible problem and we need a national conversation about it.
In other words, the fiasco of the last two days is really just more evidence of why need a liberal Democrat governor in Virginia. Rather than Ed Gillespie, whom Northam falsely, and unforgivably, accused of being a racist. Actually, the last thing we need is yet another national conversation about race. These days it seems that we talk of little else. The less racism exists, the more we obsess over it. Northam is now peddling the Left’s line on race in order to save his own skin–a nice judo trick, I guess, for a guy who commemorated his medical school graduation with this: