Democrats and Republicans are calling for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign from office because his personal page in his 1984 medical school yearbook shows two people in blackface and a KKK hood and robe–and because of how he has handled the incident since.
Missouri state lawmaker, Republican Shamed Dogan of Ballwin says in his first two press conferences, Northam missed a chance to make amends.
“He did not talk about how he had changed in the thirty plus years since then and I just felt it was a missed opportunity for him to really talk about the legacy of racism and to talk about his own evolution personally,” Dogan told Missourinet.
Today, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to dressing in blackface when he was in college in 1980, “like rappers we listened to at the time.”
Herring said a press statement, “I have a glaring example from my past that I have thought about with deep regret in the many years since, and certainly each time I took a step forward in public service, realizing that my goals and this memory could someday collide and cause pain for people I care about.”
Gov. Northam apologized for being in the photo on his bio page, then in a subsequent press conference, he said he was not. In a press conference, he did say he dressed in blackface to portray Michael Jackson and win a dance contest.
Representative Dogan says there is no forgiveness without real contrition. “What does it say to a little black girl when she knows that someone like that can grow up to be the governor of the state and have power and influence over her life. It just sets us backwards. I’ve seen some people lodge accusations that this is about political correctness; no, it’s about moral correctness.”
Dogan says his call for Northam to resign is not partisan, citing the GOP outrage over comments from Iowa Republican Steve King.
And in Missouri, Dogan says the state Legislature has recently grappled with a similar issue when Democratic Representative Bob Burns appeared on a radio show that House Democrats say fosters “racist, on-air statements.”
“That’s painful to us sitting right here in Missouri. We’re not done having these conversations and it’s especially painful for us to have these conversations during Black History Month.”