Ryland Staples | Staff Writer
Governor Ralph Northam
Katherine Frey | Associated Press
\The state of Virginia has been in the national news cycle as of late because of the scandals that have surrounded the governor, the lieutenant governor and the attorney general.
With the governor and the attorney general having admitted to wearing blackface, and the lieutenant governor being accused of sexual assault and rape, it is hard to know who is really good to represent us as a people.
This entire debacle started with a photo of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a medical school yearbook portraying him in either a Ku Klux Klan costume or wearing blackface. According to CBS News, “The yearbook photo shows two people — one who appears to be wearing blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume. Northam said… he is pictured in the photo.”
However, a few days later, he changed the story.
“I believe then and now that I am not either of the people in the photo,” Northam said.
Yet he also admitted to wearing blackface previously, Politico reported.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault by two women, including rape by one, according to CNN. Several staff members working for Fairfax resigned amid the accusations, The Hill reported.
Fairfax still claims the interactions he had with both women were consensual, according to the New York Times.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface in the past.
“In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” Herring said in a statement.
He said he dressed up in “wigs and brown makeup.”
What do we do when some who represent us have skeletons in their closets?
We should not have to just “put up” with it. In the case of the governor and the attorney general, if people think your past actions do not make you fit to properly represent them, then you should step down.
I understand that it was in the past, and it was a long time ago, but as a person of color, blackface and any resembling of it is unconformable to me. It is a reminder of the time where images, costumes and even cartoons that were meant to mock us as a race.
To see a person who is supposed to be one of the leaders of Virginia participate in a culture that mocks the physical features of black people through blackface is unsettling.
Regarding the lieutenant governor, he has not admitted wrongdoing. It will take some time before we discover the truth. That said, if someone commits sexual assault, that is just unforgivable.
The next election cycle, for those who have been involved with racist or abusive actions, we need to show them through our votes they are not fit for office. That is how to make proper change.
Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax
Steve Helber | Associated Press