Yes, Virginia, politics is a dirty business

Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
So the governor of Virginia appears to have committed a racist act when at college. The lieutenant governor, who would succeed him if he left office, has been accused of being a sex offender. The attorney general, who would be next in line for the governorship, appears to have committed at least one racist offense in his past.

Next in line would be the speaker of the House of Delegates -- a Republican (the first three are Democrats). What, if anything, are we going to find out about him -- that he owns the factory that manufactured the black shoe polish and condoms used by the others?

But the line of succession is not as simple as it would seem.

Why is politics such a dirty business?
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Comments

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Now, Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring admits to wearing black face to a party in 1980. WTF? It astounds me when comments about all this say, "Well it was the 80's, it was, "different times." I looked up the history of, "black face" the other day and while it seemed acceptable in entertainers, like Al Jolson, through the 1920's, it was out of fashion by the early 30's because people had began to figure out it was offensive. There's absolutely no excuse for this in the 1980's.

    I think you've got a much too rosy view of the 1980s. For example, Hollywood produced and released Soul Man in 1986, a movie whose premise involves C. Thomas Howell spending most of the film in blackface. Whether or not there's an excuse for it, the 1980s did have different view of blackface than current society.
    Twilight wrote: »
    Just as the "Me Too," movement adopted a zero tolerance stance, I hope these latest events impress on everyone a similar attitude about this sort of thing and there's a clean sweep of people in office with racist pasts. If we have to have a cut off age for the "youthful indiscretion" excuse I would suggest 21.

    It should be noted that Mark Herring turned 19 in 1980.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    In the 1980s many young people enjoyed engaging in transgressive behavior. It was an assertion that they would not be bound by society's stuffy standards. The record of what they did then has come back to bite them.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Moo wrote: »
    In the 1980s many young people enjoyed engaging in transgressive behavior. It was an assertion that they would not be bound by society's stuffy standards. The record of what they did then has come back to bite them.

    I'm not sure medical school students at an almost all white, almost all wealthy institution like Eastern Virginia Medical School were transgressing their culture. Maybe they were reflecting it. For example, there are these yearbook photos from the 1979 UNC-Chapel Hill yearbook in neighboring North Carolina. A lot of American seem to have amnesia about just how racist the United States was within living memory.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited February 7
    In the early 1990's Harry Connick Jr went to town on an act dressed as the Jackson 5 on an Australian variety show. I was going to link the clip but viewing it now, it is grossly offensive and obviously racist. I really can't remember how I viewed it at the time. I think the whole thing probably passed me by. It wasn't the type of show I'd watch anyway, but it was my first year working as a lawyer. I was busy elsewhere.

    That clip has got to me. It's very ugly and its changed my view of the whole thing. I no longer think it was acceptable in the '80's to even black up in homage to someone famous. Its too awful.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Red Letter Day on the ship: Croesos defends racist acts -- reason obvious. I'll bet if I came down hard on the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, Croesos would see him in a new, understanding light.
  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    edited February 7
    Here is where the whole Northam/Fairfax/Herring discussion started on the Purgatory Trump thread.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Twilight wrote: »
    Red Letter Day on the ship: Croesos defends racist acts -- reason obvious. I'll bet if I came down hard on the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, Croesos would see him in a new, understanding light.

    Red Letter Day: Twilight reads a post and fully comprehends its nuanced meaning.

    Oh wait...
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    Moo wrote: »
    In the 1980s many young people enjoyed engaging in transgressive behavior. It was an assertion that they would not be bound by society's stuffy standards. The record of what they did then has come back to bite them.

    I'm not sure medical school students at an almost all white, almost all wealthy institution like Eastern Virginia Medical School were transgressing their culture. Maybe they were reflecting it. For example, there are these yearbook photos from the 1979 UNC-Chapel Hill yearbook in neighboring North Carolina. A lot of American seem to have amnesia about just how racist the United States was within living memory.

    It's still going on! An NPR journalist I follow on Twitter posted a whole thread (starting with this tweet) of blackface controversies from colleges across the nation in the last few years. And those are only the ones that made the national media.

    I suspect most people who were members of a majority-white frat in the last fifty years are sweating pretty hard right now.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Red Letter Day on the ship: Croesos defends racist acts -- reason obvious.

    Just pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of your claim that there’s “no excuse” for a 19 year old Herring wearing blackface and your suggestion that anyone under 21 not be held accountable for their racist acts.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Oh I see. Since I suggested we have a general cut off age in mind and I also said there should be no excuses for past racism. The two ideas can't live together in the world? I guess we should either get rid of all the juvenile courts in the country or all the zero-tolerance suggestions because the two things can't be allowed in the same world.
  • So the governor of Virginia appears to have committed a racist act when at college.
    As @Crœsos noted, it was when he was in med school, not college.
    Crœsos wrote: »
    I think you've got a much too rosy view of the 1980s. For example, Hollywood produced and released Soul Man in 1986, a movie whose premise involves C. Thomas Howell spending most of the film in blackface. Whether or not there's an excuse for it, the 1980s did have different view of blackface than current society.
    Yes, though perhaps more accurate to say that many segments of society then had a different view of blackface than larger segments of current society.

    There were those in the 80s who understood the offensive nature of blackface. Unfortunately, too few white college students—boys in particular—where among them. And society as a whole, by which is meant here white society as a whole, was at best silent and at worst indulgent.

    And unfortunately, today too many white college students—boys in particular—still don't understand the offensive nature of blackface, or simply don't care.
    It should be noted that Mark Herring turned 19 in 1980.
    As did I.
    Crœsos wrote: »
    I'm not sure medical school students at an almost all white, almost all wealthy institution like Eastern Virginia Medical School were transgressing their culture. Maybe they were reflecting it.
    I can assure you that they were reflecting, not transgressing, the wider culture. I think those who engage in this kind of stuff now are more likely to be transgressing the culture—particularly what they would describe as "political correctness" and what others might see as loss of privilege.

    Exactly how well they understood that they were reflecting the culture may be debatable. Those who donned blackface to, say dress up as a famous entertainer, would in my experience have told themselves and others that it was a compliment, and a sign of racial acceptance. Some on college campuses still say that.
    For example, there are these yearbook photos from the 1979 UNC-Chapel Hill yearbook in neighboring North Carolina. A lot of American seem to have amnesia about just how racist the United States was within living memory.
    Yep.

    I'll admit that I looked to see if I knew anyone in those pictures, since just a few years later I knew guys in both of those fraternity chapters (though I was at a different college), or in adulthood have known guys where were in them. But I didn't see the names of anyone I knew or know personally, though I see names I recognize as belonging to some very prominent and influential NC families.

    And I note that one of the fraternities pictured is the UNC chapter of Kappa Alpha Order. KA, which was founded at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) when Robert E. Lee was president and which considers him its "Spiritual Founder," can provide a good case study on the way racism and Lost Cause mythology permeated segments of Southern society generally and college culture in particular.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »

    There were those in the 80s who understood the offensive nature of blackface. Unfortunately, too few white college students—boys in particular—where among them. And society as a whole, by which is meant here white society as a whole, was at best silent and at worst indulgent.

    And unfortunately, today too many white college students—boys in particular—still don't understand the offensive nature of blackface, or simply don't care.
    For many uses, including this one, one cannot fail to understand the shock value as it was the point.
    To me, it is less a problem* that he did what he did than how he is handling the revelation.

    *Not a lack of a problem, mind. But people fuck up. It is what they learn and how they change that affects how one should view the fuck up.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »

    There were those in the 80s who understood the offensive nature of blackface. Unfortunately, too few white college students—boys in particular—where among them. And society as a whole, by which is meant here white society as a whole, was at best silent and at worst indulgent.

    And unfortunately, today too many white college students—boys in particular—still don't understand the offensive nature of blackface, or simply don't care.
    For many uses, including this one, one cannot fail to understand the shock value as it was the point.
    I'm not quite sure whether "this one" means the incident that prompted this thread, or one of the two dynamics I referred to, but I think I'd say frequently the point, or part of the point rather than always the point.
    To me, it is less a problem* that he did what he did than how he is handling the revelation.

    *Not a lack of a problem, mind. But people fuck up. It is what they learn and how they change that affects how one should view the fuck up.
    Yes.

  • The Virginia Democrats are in quite a dilemma:

    1. If the Governor does not resign, the ability to implement his agenda (and for Democrats in the Assembly to implement theirs) will be greatly hampered by this scandal. The progressive base will be highly resentful of his remaining in office. Republicans will shout with glee that Democrats do not apply the same rules to themselves that they apply to Republicans.

    2. If the Governor resigns and the Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor, Virginians will have a Governor who has an accusation of sexual assault that will draw many comparisons to the case of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in terms of the alleged deed, the accuser, and the reaction of the accused. This is also political poison for Democrats, especially among Democratic women, who were greatly galvanized by opposition to Justice Kavanaugh's nomination.

    3. If both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor resign, the Attorney General becomes Governor, and he himself has now admitted to dressing in blackface in his past. If he stays on as Governor after a similar scandal (or similar enough in the eyes of voters) to the one that would have brought down Governor Northam, it would make Democrats look like they will be all sanctimonious about consequences for racist behavior in one's past until it appears that a politician's resignation will put a Republican in power.

    4. If all three of them resign with no replacements in place (not sure what that means), the Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates becomes Governor. Many Virginians, including many African-Americans, who supported these three in the 2017 election and who themselves are vulnerable because of issues of healthcare, civil rights, and other areas that Democrats claim to want to protect could be worse off if the Democrats handed power to Republicans in this way.
  • It's also worth noting that blackface scandals in high school and university are in no means confined to the South.
  • “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action” (Ian Fleming).

    So how many more politicians have to cop to this shit before white people start to think that maybe structural racism really is a thing, and not just in Virginia?
  • The Republican Majority Leader in the Virginia Senate was the managing editor of the student yearbook at Virginia Military Institute in 1968 when it included photos of students in blackface, photos of students holding Confederate flags, and racial slurs including the N-word. It was much earlier than the 80's, but gosh, it just keeps on coming!
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    The Virginia Democrats are in quite a dilemma:
    It shouldn't be. They should own this, even if it costs them power in this State (Commonwealth). And they should have a very good look at their vetting process in the future. If a journalist could find this, then so can they.
  • LeRoc wrote: »
    And they should have a very good look at their vetting process in the future. If a journalist could find this, then so can they.
    It was a conservative website, not a journalist, that found it. But yeah, I’m baffled why it wasn’t found earlier.

  • LeRoc wrote: »
    The Virginia Democrats are in quite a dilemma:
    It shouldn't be. They should own this, even if it costs them power in this State (Commonwealth). And they should have a very good look at their vetting process in the future. If a journalist could find this, then so can they.

    The policy of Virginia on civil rights is likely to be worse under a Republican administration than under Democrats. And quite a few of the most vulnerable are likely to be worse off. I think that many Democrats feel that because they voted for a Democratic executive, they should have that, and should not have the governorship (and office of Attorney General, which is also very powerful) handed over to Republicans.

    All this is not to say that I am necessarily against all three of them resigning. I do think, however, that the most discriminated against and most vulnerable of Virginians should be listened to the most in determining how much pressure should be put on them to resign.

    I think that alleged sexual assault, if the allegations are credible, is a different matter. Speaking politically, though, (again, not about my actual opinion on what should happen) it would look very bad if the Governor did not resign over racist photos but the Lieutenant Governor, the only African American among the three statewide offices in Virginia, did resign in this maelstrom of scandals. But if he doesn't resign, the Democratic outrage over Kavanaugh looks like mere posturing.

    That's why I call it a dilemma.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited February 8
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    LeRoc wrote: »
    And they should have a very good look at their vetting process in the future. If a journalist could find this, then so can they.
    It was a conservative website, not a journalist, that found it. But yeah, I’m baffled why it wasn’t found earlier.
    People do not look at their own as closely as they look at others. If they do see something, they are more likely to turn away and hope no one notices. Simple human nature.

  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    People do not look at their own as closely as they look at others. If they do see something, they are more likely to turn away and hope no one notices. Simple human nature.
    Mwah, this isn't about human nature, it's about the vetting process of a large political party. Which should obviously be improved.
  • But why didn't Republicans notice it earlier? It would have been much better for them to use it in the 2017 campaign to prevent him from becoming governor in the first place. You would think one of the basic things to do in opposition research would be to check out a candidate's school yearbooks. There is often stuff in there that is at least awkward, if not always offensive.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    It was a conservative website, not a journalist, that found it. But yeah, I’m baffled why it wasn’t found earlier.

    AIUI it was a medical school classmate of Northam's who called the attention of the media to this. He had owned a copy of the yearbook since he graduated, and he was familiar with what was on Northam's page. He is supposed to have done it because he was disgusted by a statement by Northram apparently endorsing the idea of killing babies who are born alive after an attempted abortion.

  • Big League Politics, which is run by Breitbart alumni, broke the story. They may well have gotten it from someone like you describe. I don’t know, but I could believe it.
  • I like the idea of the Lt Gov resigning, Northrop appointing Stacy Abrams Lt. Gov. and Northram resigning. Does that work?
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    I like the idea of the Lt Gov resigning, Northrop appointing Stacy Abrams Lt. Gov. and Northram resigning. Does that work?
    No, because she is a resident of Georgia, not of Virginia.

  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Regarding vetting, I'm surprised by the candidates' actions.

    I was asked to run for state senator at the end of my one term as a state representative (which would have meant, among other things, moving from a motley crew of 400 reps to a small group of 24 senators). Quite apart from the fact that I couldn't afford to do this (in my state, elected officials get paid $100 a year, and senators really work full time, so you need an independent income and I don't have that), I decided I didn't have the interest or the ability to tackle this role. Worse, I couldn't imagine winning because of my past.

    I sat with the person who asked me to run and laid some of this out. I noted that it would be important to put all this out publicly to get ahead of potential negative press, but that there was a LOT of such stuff (long eventful life), and every bit of it could be spun in very negative ways by some VERY conservative elements in this state. This would make victory far from certain (bad for my party), and potentially hurt my party's reputation because it supported me.

    My interlocutor felt my potential negatives were surmountable, but I wasn't at all sure I wanted to go to any mats over my public scrutiny of my personal past, and I still had the problem of paying my rent for two years while in office.

    Surely these Virginia politicians must have had SOME clue that they had pulled racist stunts in the past. Surely the lieutenant governor was aware he'd been accused of sexual assault. They never thought this might come up and get in their way?

    That's just plain STUPID.
  • yep...
  • Ohher wrote: »

    Surely these Virginia politicians must have had SOME clue that they had pulled racist stunts in the past. Surely the lieutenant governor was aware he'd been accused of sexual assault. They never thought this might come up and get in their way?

    That's just plain STUPID.

    I can't speak for what the lieutenant governor might have thought about his past, but for the people who wore blackface, I wonder if it even came to mind for them during their campaign. "Ethnic" costumes are so common at a certain type of college party that it may not even have occurred to the candidates that it might be a problem.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    This. Times have moved along, and the fact that eventually you wouldn't be able to put stuff like racist party costumes down to "youthful antics" had not entered their consciousness.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    You know, I've been thinking a lot about this blackface issue the past few days. Granted, I am older than Northam or Herring, but the way in which white people thought about black people was different in those days.

    We were not hostile. We were not derogatory. But still we regarded blacks as different somehow. Yes, we socialized with them at school. We made friends with them. We idolized black sports players. But after they got off the school bus and went into their houses, they might as well have been going into a different world. Black and white culture did not mix. Blacks lived in their own neighborhoods (and I'm not talking about ghettos). They had their own churches, their own doctors, their own lawyers. One of my great-uncles chose to see a black doctor rather than a white one; we found that curiously amusing. A black person or a black family who attended our church would have been accepted and befriended, but would have been regarded as a curiosity. When we saw them shopping in stores along Main Street on a Saturday afternoon, we were a bit surprised to see that they were buying the same clothes, shoes, furniture, books, groceries, etc. that we were. As I said, they were different.

    I grew up in the Northeast, not the South. We saw TV programs such as Amos 'N Andy as entertainment, not put-down or derision. We knew what blackface was, but we didn't as a rule indulge in it. When we saw it portrayed, again we regarded it as a curiosity with entertainment value, not as a put-down or an ethnic slur. I'm not even sure we would recognize the term "ethnic slur" if we heard it.

    I realize that things may have been different in the South. I don't think any of us Northerners would have donned blackface to pose for a photo. We most certainly would not have donned Ku Klux Klan robes.

    I also realize that with subsequent generations, attitudes changed. Racial equality became more and more expected rather than unknown. Today we look with abhorrence upon attitudes and customs that were acceptable only a few generations ago.

    So I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the fuss that is being made over Northam and Herring. No, I don't understand why Northam changed his story, first admitting it was him in the photo and then denying it. But I am open to to overlooking the indiscretions of their past, knowing as I do that attitudes were very different back then.

    I also realize, though, that generations after mine might not be as willing to understand and forgive.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    And as for Justin Fairfax, all I can say is look at Ted Kennedy. Or at the current occupant of the White House, for that matter (if I must).
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    You know, I've been thinking a lot about this blackface issue the past few days. Granted, I am older than Northam or Herring, but the way in which white people thought about black people was different in those days.

    I'm in my 70s and also grew up in the Northeast, and yes, Northeastern middle-class racism is different. Where I grew up, blackness, for the whites I knew, was a kind of unfortunate handicap, like being born with one leg noticeably shorter than the other. Few middle-class whites would be mean to someone like that; it would be cruel. People can't help being black or having a short leg. The thing to do was look past the 'difficulty,' in a sort of social pretense that it didn't exist or wasn't there. Few middle-class whites would put on blackface; that would be incredibly in-your-face rude -- the very opposite of overlooking a social disability that was no fault of the unfortunate victim's.

    Of course, it was still racism. Because while many Northeastern blacks had their own doctors and lawyers, as you point out, these were few and far between. Here's what they didn't have: their own fully-equipped, fully-funded, fully-staffed schools where gifted black students could be sure of getting prepped for college instead of routinely steered into low-wage service jobs. Nor did they have their own banks, where they could be reasonably sure of getting mortgages or car loans when they qualified for them. Nor did they have their own governance, where they had a fair shot at getting equitable treatment, fairness, and justice that was often mysteriously unavailable from the polite, white, middle-class men who ran things. In all the ways that mattered, in terms of getting and keeping access to the goods of society, Northeastern blacks were quietly and courteously shunted aside, off to their own homes, out of white middle-class sight, out of the white middle-class mind. That's what white privilege is, after all: claiming the right to ignore the pain we inflict on others.

    Nobody has that right. That right does not exist.

    That's what I won't give Northam or Herring a pass.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    You know, I've been thinking a lot about this blackface issue the past few days. Granted, I am older than Northam or Herring, but the way in which white people thought about black people was different in those days.

    I'm in my 70s and also grew up in the Northeast, and yes, Northeastern middle-class racism is different. Where I grew up, blackness, for the whites I knew, was a kind of unfortunate handicap, like being born with one leg noticeably shorter than the other. Few middle-class whites would be mean to someone like that; it would be cruel. People can't help being black or having a short leg. The thing to do was look past the 'difficulty,' in a sort of social pretense that it didn't exist or wasn't there. Few middle-class whites would put on blackface; that would be incredibly in-your-face rude -- the very opposite of overlooking a social disability that was no fault of the unfortunate victim's.

    Of course, it was still racism.
    This.Racism isn't an on/off thing. It isn't "When is the next Klan meeting" or "let's love everyone". Viewing people differently engenders the subtle racism that supports the greater evils.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    And I note that one of the fraternities pictured is the UNC chapter of Kappa Alpha Order. KA, which was founded at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) when Robert E. Lee was president and which considers him its "Spiritual Founder," can provide a good case study on the way racism and Lost Cause mythology permeated segments of Southern society generally and college culture in particular.

    During the 1960s (and even to a degree in the late 1950s) most of the fraternity chapters at my university were getting in trouble with their national organizations for admitting Jews and/or Blacks (and, for one, women). A notable exception was the KA chapter which never tested what the National organization would allow; I heard when I was a student in the 1980s that it still had a Confederate flag prominently displayed. This btw was California not the South. It does seem a bit more mixed now.
  • During the 1960s (and even to a degree in the late 1950s) most of the fraternity chapters at my university were getting in trouble with their national organizations for admitting Jews and/or Blacks (and, for one, women). A notable exception was the KA chapter which never tested what the National organization would allow; I heard when I was a student in the 1980s that it still had a Confederate flag prominently displayed. This btw was California not the South. It does seem a bit more mixed now.
    Without going too far off on a KA tangent, they provide, as I said, an interesting case study for the kind of things that have come to light in Virginia and in North Carolina.

    To a degree far beyond any other fraternity, including fraternities with Southern roots, romanticized ideas of the Old South, with a heaping helping of Lost Cause mythology, has long been woven into KA’s ethos. Confederate flags were common. Many chapter houses had a cannon (Civil War era style). The annual formal dance—a common thing in most fraternities and sororities—was known in most chapters as the Old South Ball or as the Dixie Ball. Instead of formal-wear, men wore Confederate uniforms and women wore Gone With the Wind-style hoop skirts. The formal was often preceded by a parade, complete with the uniforms and, of course, Confederate flags.

    In 2001, the National Convention of KA, which is largely composed of delegates from the chapters, prohibited the display of any Confederate flags on fraternity property or at fraternity events, or use of a Confederate flag in connection with the fraternity in any context. I am aware of at least a few chapters that ignored that prohibition, at least for a while.

    As for Old South/Dixie Ball, in the 1950s, the National Convention had said for those chapters that held them, “the event must be conducted with restraint and dignity and without displays of trappings and symbols which might be misinterpreted and objectionable to the general public.” In 2010 (yes, only 9 years ago) the National Convention specifically stated that “trappings and symbols” includes but is not limited to Confederate uniforms. Parades with Confederate uniforms were prohibited at the same time.

    While I do think late is better than never (but not as good as sooner) with these decisions, I was struck by some of the motivation I saw from KA leadership. The focus too often was not on how or why these things were offensive and shouldn’t be countenanced, but rather essentially on how the bad publicity was harmful to the fraternity.

    That said, I know of some chapters that have made real efforts to integrate and to move things in a better direction. But there’s still a lot of the old stuff hanging on there. KA provides an example of the difficulty in rooting this stuff out.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited February 12
    Thank you many posters who shared descriptions from times past. I realise we all still have a way to go, but -- as Miss Amanda wrote -- it does seem like a different world. I find it very hard, as a white male, to understand what it must feel like, to be honest, so I try to listen to others; and your posts are helpful. I have seen friends explicitly targetted by racist morons, but the more subtle forms are a learning experience for me.

    Ohher: your description of going through your past was eye-opening. I have no hope of being in public life, nor desire -- but when our pollies get caught having done something particularly egregious, especially pre their political life, I do wonder if they thought it would never come out. Or, more worryingly, if they thought there was nothing wrong with it. I realise none of us is without fault, but surely certain actions give you pause for thought.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited February 12
    I think there's a third possibility - it happened quite a long time ago at a time when it was basically acceptable, and being something which just happened has equally easily been something which was forgotten. I could not tell you where my final year formal was held (but could tell you who I took and it was not Madame).
  • Gee, calling your wife madame kind of reminds me of Horace Rumpole :open_mouth: :lol:
  • Northam has referred to black slaves as "indentured servants". (Long WaPo article about this and the current situation.)

    While indentured servitude could/can effectively be slavery, the servants (theoretically, at least) agree to a contract, and are supposed to be freed at some point. Slaves have neither.

    Gov. Northam keeps digging himself in deeper. Doesn't even have the political sense to realize that many people view things differently than he does, and using euphemisms doesn't help him when he's already in trouble.

    He needs to go, IMHO. He doesn't seem to have learned anything, though he's making noises about doing a reconciliation tour.

    I feel sorry for his wife. (She's the one who urged him not to do the moon walk at that press conference.) I have no idea what she's like, beyond that, but she's clearly got a whole lot more sense and perspective than her husband.
  • I saw somewhere that people are now offering him education on race issues in his state. Good move given that it looks like he's going to tough it out.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    He made a statement that revolted a lot of people. He said that this was a situation that called for healing, and as a physician he was qualified to do that.
  • You know, this is one time when "Physician, heal thyself!" applies.
  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    edited February 12
    The type of blackface used in the photo on Gov. Northam's yearbook page is a textbook example of the performance of racial inferiority that makes blackface so painful to African Americans. He (or whoever is in blackface) may as well have dressed like a Hasidic man with a big hooked nose carrying a bag of money. It goes without saying how dressing like a KKK member in a hood - and wanting it displayed in the yearbook - is an act of hate, whether meant as one or not. The Michael Jackson example is less egregious, but still harmful.

    As has been said, this was 1984. Racist practices like this (and all kinds of racial oppression and violence) may still have been common (and still is today, although some of the forms of it have changed) but de jure segregation had been over for decades. Atlanta, Georgia, and Richmond, the capital of Virginia, had already had African-American mayors. Georgia was on its way to electing an African-American governor in 1990 - which required a lot of white votes in order to happen. Soul Man (where a white man dons blackface to get a scholarship for African-American students to attend Harvard Law School) may have been in theaters in 1986, but I just don't see any excuse for that kind of behavior from a 25 or 26-year-old man about to become a medical doctor at that time, even if he was living in some kind of bubble of racial obtuseness.

    Trevor Noah has a humorous take on how some African Americans might feel keeping Northam in office is the lesser of evils.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited February 12
    About a third of Americans say blackface in a Halloween costume is acceptable at least sometimes.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/11/about-a-third-of-americans-say-blackface-in-a-halloween-costume-is-acceptable-at-least-sometimes/

    Age and education has some impact on results.

    And I am not criticising Americans here; I don't think I'd like to see a similar poll from Australia.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    About a third of Americans say blackface in a Halloween costume is acceptable at least sometimes.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/11/about-a-third-of-americans-say-blackface-in-a-halloween-costume-is-acceptable-at-least-sometimes/

    Age and education has some impact on results.

    And I am not criticising Americans here; I don't think I'd like to see a similar poll from Australia.

    Would that be 1/3 of white Americans?
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    I think we can be pretty certain that 100% of that 1/3 is white, regardless.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    RooK wrote: »
    I think we can be pretty certain that 100% of that 1/3 is white, regardless.

    Not according to the link. Apparently there are 5% of black Americans who consider blackface in a child's Halloween costume to be "Always Acceptable", with another 13% considering it "Sometimes Acceptable".
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    Conceded, but I hate it when factual details get in the way of a nice rhetorical flourish.
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