Instead of covering up a previous admission for his despicable college behavior to save his governor seat, the governor of Virginia could have apologized again, after his first direct apologetic response, and then in public forum ask that he be forgiven; then, in turn, allow him to use this time, his platform, for redemption and cultural change for his community, state, and country. Invite people of color to establish ongoing state committees to address race and racial behaviors/profiling.
How many of us have looked at our yearbooks from 35 years prior, or remember the pictures we took part? It is not an excuse. It is reality. The Governor’s fundamental mistake is he did not own his behavior, instead tried to cover up an act he admitted to committing. He wasted and confused a powerful moment of redemption for change.
Now other photos similar in racist behavior are surfacing as well as self-admissions about racial hate/profiling [actor Liam Neeson].
Instead of resigning or terminating positions, can we instead use this time to dialogue on national and community platforms about misguided behaviors, complicit biases, needed changes in language and behavior? Those knowingly guilty of past racial behaviors and rhetoric could add to a culture of redemption and change. This is not a political issue. This is a humanitarian issue. It is invasive and prolific and dangerous. And it continues. We can’t resign this away. Retribution falls to all of us who are complicit in our ignorance and our response.
Blackface is still practiced. One personal anecdote. On a small mid-western liberal arts college campus in 2018 a young student at my daughter’s university dressed in blackface and attended a public event. She later was deactivated from her sorority and forbidden to participate in her graduation ceremony. This is only one event. And it was just last year.
Honesty, dialogue, and redemption. This won’t change until we do.
Father Richard Rohr:
We need to draw close to the pain of the world and allow it to radically change perspective (not push it away).
Embrace imperfection and injustices to allow these situations to change from the inside out.
Reality has a cruciform pattern.
Reality is filled with contradictions.
We have an injury on the body politic in this country, an injury that white Americans inflicted on people of color for generations through oppression and murder. And it continues.
We can not walk away from this…’resign’ it. We must embrace it to end it.
embrace imperfection and injustices to allow these situations to change from the inside out.
“Racist history of blackface began in the 1830’s.”
A racist photo from a 1984 yearbook threatens to end Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s political career. The photo shows two people: one in blackface and one wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. The image generated intense pressure for Northam to resign and offered the latest example of a prominent white person facing harsh criticism for wearing blackface. Here’s a look at the practice and its history.