comScore Gov. Ralph Northam Should Probably Stop Talking and Resign | The Mary Sue
Skip to main content

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Should Probably Stop Talking and Resign

The Democratic governor's response to his racist yearbook photo shows he has zero business being in public office.


virginia governor

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has come under fire after photos from his 1984 medical school yearbook were made public. In the photo spread, there is a shockingly offensive image of two men, one in blackface and the other dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member. It is unclear which of these men (if either) are Northam himself. On Friday evening, Northam released a statement saying, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”

Then, in a bizarre turn of events, Northam recanted his apology and claimed that neither man in the photo was him, saying that had never seen the photo before and that he did not recall taking the photo. Northam followed up by saying the photo was “offensive, racist and despicable” and “I believed then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo.”

But wait, it gets so much worse! Northam’s defense argument is that he would have remembered the incident because of his “clear memory of other mistakes I made in this same period of my life.” Those mistakes? Another incident of blackface, which occurred during the same year.

Northam said, “That same year I did participate in a dance content in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume … I didn’t realize at the time that it was as offensive as I have since learned.” Ah yes, the time-honored “I’m guilty of blackface, but only this one time not the time I’m currently being busted for.” It’s an insane defense, like a man saying he’s innocent of robbing a house since he was busy with a bank heist across town. IT’S ALL CRIME, DUDE.

Northam decided to dig his own hole even deeper, saying he “actually won the contest because I had learned how to do the moonwalk.” Northam then ALMOST did the moonwalk, before his wife told him not to due to “inappropriate circumstances.”

Since then, several politicians and caucuses have called on Northam to resign, including the Virginia House and Senate Democrats, the Democratic Party of Virginia, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, NAACP, MoveOn, Kamala Harris, and many more.

The plain fact is, blackface is and always has been a heinous and racist act, end of story. No publicly elected official, democrat or republican, should be exempt. But it’s Northam’s mind-bogglingly tone deaf response and bizarre Michael Jackson story that cement the fact that this is not a man who should hold any position of power. He clearly has zero concept of the gravity of his offense, and that astounding lack of judgment he has displayed is further proof that he needs to step down immediately. The Commonwealth of Virginia deserve better.

(via Huffington Post, image: Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.