VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

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VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby cmsellers » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:14 am

For those of you who aren't aware, some right-wing site uncovered a medical school yearbook page for Virginia's Democratic governor Ralph Northam. This page featured two men in costume, one in blackface, one in KKK robes and hood. Northam confirmed that one of the men was him, but refused to say which one. A whole bunch of Democrats have called on Northam to resign, though both of Virginia's US Senators, while condemning the costume, have not done so. The Virginia legislature has initiated procedings to impeach Northam, though WaPo argues that would be illegal under Virginia's constitution, which has much narrower grounds for impeachment than the US Constitution.

I was initially of two minds here, however the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that he should resign. And while not directly related to this question, I also think it's very likely he ultimately will.

At first, I felt that points in his favor are that this was a long time ago, and I believe people can change, and some of the calls to resign feel really politically opportunistic. Now, I remember when Democrats claimed that Gillibrand, in calling for Al Franken's resignation, was being politically opportunistic. I thought that it might have been, and was definitely premature (though not by much), however I also felt that with so many people excusing the behavior of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Roy Moore, it was necessary for at least one political party to take a firm stand on sexual harassment and assault; my only question was whether he was really guilty. Here there's no doubt Northam is guilty, and yet this somehow feels even more opportunistic to me. Maybe that's because racist imagery doesn't seem like as pervasive a problem as sexual misconduct, maybe it's because it happened when he was still very young, or maybe it's because the last elections for Virginia legislature are later this year and Northam would definitely be a drag, but initially, calls for him to resign felt more cynical to me than the same ones aimed at Franken.

On the other hand, the photo would have been published when Northam was 24, going on 25. His prefrontal cortex was almost entirely developed. And this photo was taken in 1984; Northam is someone who grew up with the Civil Rights Movement and it's aftermath. I find it very hard to believe that he didn't realize the very problematic history behind those costumes. Then there's the fact that this is coming out now; I feel like there's a good chance Northam would not have won the Democratic nomination, much less the primary, had this come out before his election. I hopped off the fence and started leaning towards him resigning when I read the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus's statement; it seemed to me like I underestimated the emotional impact this has on black Virginians. But the final straw for me is that he refuses to say which costume he was in. It may seem like a trivial point, but he clearly has a problematic past on racial issues, and yet he does not seem to be interested in confronting it. Instead, he seems to want to issue a boilerplate apology and try to shove through it, and that is simply unacceptable.

Still, what do y'all think?
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Absentia » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:22 am

I'd like to believe that some day we'll be mature enough as a society to have a serious discussion about whether a guy can experience any personal growth and become better than he was 34 years ago. But in this moment, I'm not sure how it benefits anybody but Ralph Northam for him to stay. His Lieutenant Governor is already more popular than he is.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Anglerphobe » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:49 am

I will tend to be sceptical of the "I was just young and foolish" argument being used by people who were older than I am now and doing things I have known to be foolish for several years.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Aquila89 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:29 am

People in 1984 were this cool with KKK outfits and blackface? Northam and his friend put this in the yearbook, and didn't think that it would cause trouble - and for decades, it didn't. That's a surprise for me.

cmsellers wrote: Now, I remember when Democrats claimed that Gillibrand, in calling for Al Franken's resignation, was being politically opportunistic. I thought that it might have been, and was definitely premature (though not by much), however I also felt that with so many people excusing the behavior of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Roy Moore, it was necessary for at least one political party to take a firm stand on sexual harassment and assault; my only question was whether he was really guilty.


Well, he didn't really deny it at the time. He said in a statement:

I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations [...] I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women – and I know that any number is too many.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Absentia » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:56 pm

Watching a live press conference with Northam. He denies that he was either of the figures in the photo, and he will not resign.

He admitted to and apologized for another (as-yet-unreported) incident where he wore "a little bit of shoe polish" when he dressed up as Michael Jackson to win a dance contest around the same time frame. It would be a little strange for him to admit to something he hasn't even been accused of if he was lying about not being in the photo.

Also, they cut into a UVa basketball game to show this presser and I'm getting pretty annoyed.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Crimson847 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:49 pm

Northam should definitely resign, and Gillespie (his opponent in 2018) should definitely get his money back from his oppo researchers.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby JamishT » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:29 am

Absentia wrote:He admitted to and apologized for another (as-yet-unreported) incident where he wore "a little bit of shoe polish" when he dressed up as Michael Jackson to win a dance contest around the same time frame. It would be a little strange for him to admit to something he hasn't even been accused of if he was lying about not being in the photo.


That's likely because people have been criticizing him for not owning up to the yearbook picture before it was publicized, because that makes sense.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Kate » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:34 am

He went on WTOP to defend an abortion bill and ended up either accidentally or purposely supporting infanticide in a scenario that did not actually have to do with the bill in question, and needless to say that did not do any favors for support for the bill (that's what prompted the conservative deep dive, btw).

Why anyone thought it would be a good idea for the man who went out to defend abortion and instead condoned infanticide to do an hour long press conference in response to these accusations is beyond me. If we give him any more time in the spotlight, he might accidentally deny the Holocaust.

That said, when was that photo taken, the 80s? I can think of scenarios in that time period where it might be not terrible to be in a costume like that. A bad taste party, for example. We are a lot more sensitive to the nature and roots of blackface these days than they were back then. My immediate thought was this, which you couldn't make today:



The context changed everything. And here we have a photo and no context, until of course the good governor was kind enough to let us know he is the kind of person who might have been in blackface or a KKK outfit but needs to call his friends up to make sure he wasn't that time, and didn't object to it when it was on his yearbook page even if it wasn't him. Hopefully one of his friends from medical school can remove his foot from his mouth and his head from his rear without it costing the good people of Virginia any of their tax money.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Crimson847 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:17 am

Kate wrote:He went on WTOP to defend an abortion bill and ended up either accidentally or purposely supporting infanticide in a scenario that did not actually have to do with the bill in question, and needless to say that did not do any favors for support for the bill (that's what prompted the conservative deep dive, btw).


He said if a baby that's deformed and possibly nonviable were born, attempts to rescuscitate it would be made if applicable and if the parent(s) wished, and if the child was born alive there would be a "discussion between the mother and the doctor". It's not remotely clear he was endorsing infanticide. He says he was referring to a discussion of care (including possibly end-of-life care), which seems like a more reasonable interpretation than assuming that the only thing a mother and doctor could possibly talk about in the aftermath of such a pregnancy would be "so, wanna kill it?".

Bluntly, I consider that story conservative media's answer to the Covington affair: a stellar example of confirmation bias and group polarization working together to make us all fucking hate each other.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Absentia » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:28 am

I really didn't want to get into the "infanticide" thing because I know it's a sore issue, but...

What he was describing was the medical protocol for when a woman with a nonviable pregnancy goes into premature labor. Nonviable (under state law) meaning that at least three doctors have certified that the baby will not be able to survive, due to severe birth defects or some terminal medical condition. It's incredibly shitty to have to make end-of-life decisions for a newborn, but it's functionally the same as for a terminally ill adult: someone has to decide whether to keep treating the patient to stave off death for as long possible, or just let them go.

He was most definitely not talking about killing healthy infants because the mother doesn't want them. I believe Virginia law doesn't permit abortion on demand after the second trimester.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby gisambards » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:53 pm

Personally I do think the initial calls for a resignation were premature, but I am now of the opinion that Northam should resign. I personally actually don't think bringing up things in people's past is wrong if it's something as bad as this - and this is bad - but I think the person in question should really be given the opportunity to apologise and make clear that they have changed as a person since then. Nine times out of ten, as does appear to be the case with Northam, they will completely fail to do anything of the sort, and then I think yes, they should resign. It really shouldn't be so difficult to explain that he's grown up a lot since then and does now understand why the photo would be upsetting to people, but his actual response has been so weaselly that I don't think it's unreasonable to question whether he really does understand why people are upset. Particularly actually indicting was the moment in his supposedly apologetic press conference where he actually considered moon-walking on stage before his wife told him not to:

which, in context, demonstrates an inability to take the situation seriously, which he really should be if he wants to ever win back anyone he's lost over this.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby A Combustible Lemon » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:17 pm

Kate wrote:He went on WTOP to defend an abortion bill and ended up either accidentally or purposely supporting infanticide in a scenario that did not actually have to do with the bill in question, and needless to say that did not do any favors for support for the bill (that's what prompted the conservative deep dive, btw).


Crimson847 wrote:Bluntly, I consider that story conservative media's answer to the Covington affair: a stellar example of confirmation bias and group polarization working together to make us all fucking hate each other.


So what you're saying, Crimson is he did not
  • accidentally or purposefully support infanticide
    -AND-
  • the scenario had something to do with the bill in question
    -AND-
  • This did not prompt a conservative deep dive

Let's discard the last one since I assume you already agree that that's the trigger.

Do you think the scenario of "End of life care for babies born while non-viable" has something to do with a late-term abortion bill.
If it doesn't, what's your explanation for "accidentally or purposefully support infanticide". Because the context is literally about killing babies in the womb. He answered a question about killing babies in the womb by talking about non-viable babies that were born. It doesn't take "confirmation bias and group polarization working together to make us all fucking hate each other" to think he was talking about...what he was talking about.

And tell me which bit of the infanticide thing is the lie, since you're both sidesing this with the Covington stories.

Here's the lies from Covington, in order:
  • The man wasn't a vietnam vet, despite this being in every tweet about the situation and every headline.
  • Phillips decided to "de-escalate the situation" by deciding, racistly, that the white kids were the aggressors. He "de-escalated" by siding with the hate group calling the kids faggots. That he knew was a hate group, and that he knew was calling the kids faggots, considering his group is standing right there in the entire first hour of the video.
  • The kids surrounded Phillips and Nick Sandmann stepped into his way. Neither of these is true. Phillips makes a turn straight into the kids, finds Sandmann and stands in his face drumming.
  • Literally none of this was escalated by the kids, who stopped chanting the second they realized that Phillips was being hostile to them instead of being supportive.
  • The kids were not public figures. They were not elected to any office. They did not endorse any controversial political position. They did literally nothing of note.

The media clearly targeted them for being, in that order, Trump supporters, Pro-Life, and Catholic. This is inarguably true given every single point before this. You don't get points for skipping all the way here and only denying this bit and saying I'm wrong.

Each one of these lies is deliberate and takes deliberately ignoring the evidence to believe. And you're equivocating this with a grown-ass man supporting a late-term abortion bill by talking about infanticide.

Even his own fucking defence condemns him, since if the kid wasn't going to be killed on the table, why would killing it in the womb make it more ethical. Are you arguing he's arguing against the bill? Do you get that, like CNN, there's no fucking two sides to this? There's no charitable interpretation of Northam's words that aren't literally refuting his words.

Kate gave you the out right there. "Accidentally". That's what actually happened. He sidetracked into hospice care while talking about late-term abortion and didn't realize that happened.
Instead you felt the need to be the magical centrist and bring the innocent kids that media fucks decided to destroy for disagreeing with them politically, and equivocate that story with mister "wait right we were talking about abortion, how'd we get to post-natal care" here.

How's broadening your sources working out for you so far, because it looks like you're comparing a man with a shovel digging himself deeper with the fourth estate trying to get a bunch of kids killed.

And I love how absentia claims to know the context while talking about how late-term abortions need three people to agree. And clearly third trimester abortions are illegal.
Image
Threeeeee people.
Three.

Yes you definitely know the context here and didn't just come here believing a bunch of media lies, as is usual for "Wow how can Damore write so much without citing a single thing, he definitely has problems" TCS.
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Absentia » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:22 pm

If y'all want to talk about Covington, make a thread for it. It's off-topic here.




I said that abortion on demand was illegal in the third trimester, meaning the mother can't just ask for one and get it; there has to be a medical certification that the pregnancy would be a serious risk to the mother. You helpfully posted the statute right there, and any third trimester abortion not covered under that statute is a felony (18.2-71).

I think we agree that the abortion laws don't actually apply to the situation he was describing, where the infant is delivered alive. In the interview, he was talking about the abortion law and the interviewer asked him something to the effect of "What if the mother goes into labor?" Maybe he didn't do a great job of drawing the line by explicitly saying that it stops being an abortion issue once the baby is delivered, but it's a hell of a leap to get from there to "supporting infanticide".
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Kate » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:38 pm

Oh it's time for the fun conversation, huh?

As I said on Facebook rather sarcastically, the Virginia governor accidentally defended infanticide and then tried to make it better by saying "don't worry, only for disabled babies!"

He absolutely did not say it is only for non viable babies, but that it may be. He later clarified, and that's good, but it didn't help a lot.



And this is why I am giving the benefit of the doubt of the maybe accidentally, because it isn't actually clear if he is only referring to babies that aren't compatible with life and normal end of life hospice decisions or of he is including "severe deformities" that are compatible with life and leaving born infants to die at the parents' behest; this is something that does happen and that some people do believe should be legal, we have had that discussion on TCS before.

It is amusing because the responses he gives in defending Tran's bill ignore what the bill aims to do; he talks about it taking multiple physicians and only being done in these circumstances, but the bill aims to expand circumstances and to require only one physician. So that was kind of a blunder all around.

My point is, here is a man who went out to defend a proposed abortion law that is similar to what other states have in place and accidentally talked about leaving born infants to die, maybe just the non viable ones or maybe not. He clearly didn't know what he was talking about in regards to the legislation he was defending, and it seriously only takes about 10 minutes to read through it (less, if you know existing abortion law, because it's amending existing law). Why anyone agreed to "Just give me an hour, I can save my job!" After the blunder that got him into this mess is just...why?
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Re: VA Gov Northam yearbook page had blackface, KKK outfit

Postby Absentia » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:56 pm

So we all agree that Ralph Northam does not, in fact, support killing infants. And the argument is about whether the fact that he misspoke and said "may have" instead of "do have" in an off the cuff interview on local radio, and left some ambiguity that people could use to twist his words in the absence of context or common sense, is actually a big deal?

And people wonder why you can't get a straight answer from politicians.

For the record, he's still a clueless casual racist and needs to resign.
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