Ralph Northam ready to make amends for blackface by ... reading "Roots" and Ta-Nehisi Coates

I look forward to his forthcoming memoir, “Awakening: A Journey of Racial Consciousness. By Coonman.”

“In the progressive religion,” writes Inez Stepman, “instead of doing Hail Marys you read Ta-Nehisi Coates to atone for your sins.” True enough. Now that Northam’s blackface transgression has been conveniently overshadowed by credible allegations of two rapes by his subordinate, it’s a cinch that he’ll be serving out his term. If he wants it to be tolerable, the atonement begins now.

I am not ready for Woke Ralph Northam, yet here he comes.

Northam’s policy team is looking at crafting a set of proposals based on the premise that the governor’s mistakes have rendered him keenly aware of inequity and the lack of justice faced by black Virginians 400 years after the first African people arrived in the Commonwealth, at Point Comfort, in 1619.

The centerpiece proposal is not complete in its scope or in terms of what it will seek to accomplish. But there are many possibilities being considered for a broad platform: increasing resources for affordable housing; setting new, more equitable standards in small business procurement; implementing programs that expand economic opportunity for entrepreneurs; pumping money into public services like education and transportation…

Northam doesn’t plan to hold any more press conferences any time soon. Advisers are in the midst of negotiations with major networks for a nationally televised interview they hope will humanize him. Additionally, his advisers have assigned the governor homework: He’s begun to read Alex Haley’s “Roots”, and “The Case for Reparations,” the seminal essay in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

A Twitter pal summarizes Northam’s new message as “Some of my favorite new authors are black.” Respect where it’s due, though: This dude going from a Klan-costume photo in his yearbook to pushing reparations on Virginians to try to save his job would be one of the great shameless panders in American political history. A legislative push for “racial justice” in all its forms would be clever too, not only in that it would quiet the criticism of him on the left — even if you think he’s insincere, why not trade silence for policy gains? — but it would let him paint the GOP as the real villains when they inevitably oppose some of his spending proposals.

Bottom line: The next time Ralph Northam appears publicly in blackface, it’ll be as a gesture of solidarity with black Americans.

Oh, one other thing. One of the reasons Northam’s convinced that that’s not him in his yearbook photo is because the two men are holding beers with their right hands. Reportedly Northam is, or was, so dominant with his left hand in med school that he had to force himself to hold the scalpel in his right. Has that dynamic changed in the years since? Because, er, here’s something Jerry Dunleavy found on Twitter:

Anyway, whether a man who governs a state that’s 20 percent black and is home to the former capital of the Confederacy should be in a position where he needs a crash course on racism when he’s 59, I leave to your judgment. Here’s a sneak preview of his inevitable meeting with Jesse Jackson to seek official forgiveness. (Al Sharpton is in a less forgiving mood right now, per BuzzFeed.) Exit question via Ben Domenech: Which books is Northam reading to educate himself about infanticide?