Governor Ralph Northam Can’t Erase Slavery

Rebecca Anne Goetz
Feb 22, 2019 - 5:00

On Sunday, February 10, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam appeared on Face the Nation with journalist Gayle King in a bid for redemption in his ongoing blackface scandal. Northam began the conversation by referencing Virginia’s current commemoration of John Rolfe’s

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2 Replies to “Governor Ralph Northam Can’t Erase Slavery”

  1. I have a different opinion on this Northam “black face” situation. I don’t feel that he should step down or that any public servant should step down after something racist from their past comes a float. I think him along with any other public servant should get a chance to respond and then have an open dialogue to discuss the issues of said “racist” or “any” issue we disagree with. I understand that people evolve on their issues and change. Northam has not gotten fair coverage in the media or had the right conversation to discuss his views, Gayle King was definitely not equipped or the person to have that conversation, and 7 minutes is only good for a sound bite. I also think that you were reading too much into his statement. He along with many white’s don’t know whether to say “Black” or “African American”, “Slave” or “Indentured Servant”, but it is our job to educate them and Gayle King did not do a good job.

  2. Hi Brandon, thanks for your comment. I don’t think it was Gayle King’s responsibility to educate Northam. As governor, Northam has access to resources beyond what ordinary people can command. All it would have taken for him is a phone call (or even have an aide call) Virginia’s 1619 commission to clarify the appropriate terminology. In fact, there’s a great website with general, historically accurate information and sound lesson plans about 1619 that the commission has put together (https://www.americanevolution2019.com/) with a lot of relevant information. Northam or one of his aides could have had a look at that. If he didn’t know, fine, but it was his responsibility as a political leader to teach himself and/or ask for guidance. He didn’t do that.

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