Northam: 'I am not the person in the photo' (but I did put on blackface for a dance contest)

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia made another statement today in which he claimed that he is not the person in the blackface yearbook photo which began circulating Friday.

“There has been much public discussion about racist and offensive materials that appear on my page of the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook,” Northam said. He then read a statement:

“Yesterday I took responsibility for content that appeared on my page in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook that was clearly racist and offensive. I am not and will not excuse the content of the photo. It was offensive, racist, and despicable.

“When my staff showed me the photo in question yesterday, I was seeing it for the first time. I did not purchase the EVMS yearbook and I was unaware of what was on my page. When I was confronted with the images yesterday I was appalled at what was on my page but I believe then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo.

“I stand by my statement of apology to the many Virginians who were hurt by seeing this content on a yearbook page that belongs to me. It is disgusting. It is offensive. It is racist and it was my responsibility to recognize and prevent it from being published in the first place.

“I recognize that many people will find this difficult to believe. The photo appears with others I submitted on a page with my name on it. Even in my own statement yesterday I conceded that, based on the evidence presented to me at the time, the most likely explanation that it was indeed me in the photo.

“In the hours since I made my statement yesterday, I reflected with my family and classmates from the time and affirmed my conclusion that I am not the person in that photo. While I did not appear in this photo, I am not surprised by its appearance in the EVSM yearbook. In the place and time where I grew up many actions that we rightfully recognize as abhorrent today were commonplace.

“My belief that I did not wear that costume or attend that party stems in part from my clear memory of other mistakes I made in this same period of my life. That same year I did participate in a dance contest is San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume. I look back now and I regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that. It is because my memory of that episode is so vivid that I truly do not believe I am in the picture in my yearbook. You remember these things.

Northam went on to say that he knows not everyone will believe him but he hopes he’ll be given the opportunity to demonstrate he’s not the person now that he was then. During the Q & A Northam also addressed a nickname which appeared in his VMI yearbook. He says there were just two individuals who called him “Coonman” and he claims he doesn’t know what their motives were for that but he remembers who they were.

I have to say, it is very hard to believe that’s not Northam in the photo, especially since he’s already admitted it was. Also, I’m not sure how he could actually prove it’s not him unless one or both people come forward and, let’s face it, no one in the photo wants to become part of this media firestorm for obvious reasons.

That said, I was struck by a thread on Twitter this morning which I think made a really good case that 1984 was a different time and it’s easy to forget how different.

My take, having grown up in the same area and gone to school at the same time, is that things really were different then and a white person being Michael Jackson for a dance competition in 1984 isn’t the same as wearing a (fake) KKK hood to a party. And even that, offensive and stupid as it is, isn’t the same as being a KKK member.

The counter-argument, of course, is something like: These are their rules.

I get that. It’s extremely frustrating to me that the rules are almost never applied even-handedly by the people making up the rules or by the media enforcing them. If a Republican were caught in this position, the fury to oust him and then destroy him would be absolutely vicious. It’s only because Northam has a (D) after his name that he has the latitude to even try to hold onto his job at this point. I absolutely believe that.

I also think it’s outrageous that this guy backed Kathy Tran and her repulsive abortion law and then goes on to talk about what a great humanitarian he is and what a devoted Christian, etc. I wish Northam was half as woke about viable human life as he claims to be about blackface. His politics were already disgusting to me this week before the blackface photo.

So why do I hesitate to pile on here? Well, as Rob Geroge said, things have changed since 1984. But here’s the other reason: The SJW’s who use these rules as a cudgel to go after conservatives are bad people. As much as I would enjoy seeing them eat one of their own, I hate to see the SJW mob win. Because no matter who the victim is, every win gives them more power for the next attack. I don’t like Ralph Northam or his politics but I hate the mob. So as much as it pains me, I think he deserves some space to make his case free from the demands of the mob for his scalp.

Here’s the clip: