The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus had been one of the first organizations to call for disgraced Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to vacate his office after a blackface yearbook scandal rocked the state’s politics.
However, on Thursday, the group released a press release making it clear their demands for resignation don’t apply to two other senior Commonwealth government officials, one of whom has admitted to appearing in blackface, just like Northam’s yearbook picture.
The VLBC reaffirmed their call for Northam’s resignation, while declining to make a similar demand of Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax or Attorney General Mark Herring. All three are engulfed in serious scandals and facing calls to leave office.
Fairfax is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. The VLBC press release calls for the allegation to be “fully and thoroughly investigated by the appropriate agencies,” while stating that Fairfax “must receive the due process prescribed by the Constitution.”
Herring, in an ironic twist of fate, himself admitted to appearing in blackface at a college party- after calling for Northam’s resignation.
Yet, the VLBC press release states they’re waiting for “further action on his part to reassure the citizens of the Commonwealth of his fitness for leadership.”
What changed in between the VLBC’s call for Northam’s resignation and the differing response to Mark Herring’s blackface scandal?
Herring even admitted personally to wearing blackface, while Northam still hasn’t been conclusively proven to be one of the people depicted in the scandalous photo of a man wearing blackface and another wearing a KKK robe. (He initially admitted to being one of the costumed individuals, before changing his story and claiming that he was neither.)
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus seemingly disproportional reaction to blackface and sexual assault scandals raises more questions than answers.
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