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What's Going on in Virginia is the Tip of the Iceberg

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 6, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 6, 2019 |


190206-ralph-northam-getty.jpg

Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, who is third in the line of succession for Governor of Virginia — after the current governor (embroiled in a blackface scandal) and the Lt. Governor (accused of sexual assault) — released a statement today admitting that he, too, once wore blackface at a college party in 1980.

I have no idea who is next in the line of succession, but if politicians are going to be asked to resign for wearing blackface in the 1980s, every state in the South is going to need to crack out the Constitutions and start mapping out their line of succession. My advice: Just go ahead and trace it down to the first woman in the line of succession, and make her Governor, unless she was in a sorority in the 1980s … you know what? Nevermind. Keep going until you get to the first Black Woman.

I’m kidding, but I’m also not. The thing about Virginia is that this happened to come up first with a Democratic Governor in the South, and so his party is naturally calling for his resignation. Had this happened to a Republican Governor of Virginia … well, no one in the Republican party would have called for Corey Stewart’s resignation if he’d won 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election and that dude is a Confederate-loving white nationalist, know what I’m saying? It would have created a stir on Twitter for an hour and a half and everyone would have moved on because that’s just Southern Republicans being Southern Republican trash.

But if Northam resigns — and he definitely should, and so probably should Fairfax and Mark Herring — it’s going to set a precedent in the South that men who wore blackface in their past are going to be forced to resign. And then it’s going to happen in droves all over the South, because people, let me tell you this: Racists in the South do not think that wearing Blackface is racist because they are racist and they have a black friend. Every goddamn one of them who was in a fraternity in college — which is to say 92 percent of male politicians in the South — is gonna have a racist incident in their past. It’s just a matter of digging it up.

Personally, I say: Burn it all down. But we all know what’s going to happen here. Democrats are going to resign over their past incidents of racism, and Republicans are going to shrug their shoulders over their past incidents of racism, and at the end of the day, racists are still going control the power in a lot of the South. Same as it ever was.


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One added note: Yesterday, I wondered what kind of insane yearbook editor at a medical school would even include photos of students in blackface in their yearbook. Turns out, according to the yearbook editor, that the students submitted the photos themselves. In other words, Northam chose to include in the yearbook that photo of himself in blackface standing to a guy in a KKK costume.



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


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