Is That Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a Racist Yearbook Photo? Investigators Don’t Know
After several months of investigating, it could not be “conclusively” determined that a racist photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page was him.
The photo, which first surfaced in February, was of two people – one dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe and the other in blackface.
It was quite a confusing scandal. First, Northam said he was in the photo. Then he said in his rush to appear to take responsibility, he didn’t realize that it actually wasn’t him in the photo. Northam did eventually admit to using blackface in another instance using shoe polish when he tried to dress up as Michael Jackson for a party.
In a statement Wednesday, Northam said: “I am not in the racist and offensive photo that appears under my name in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.”
According to the 55-page report, not a single person that was interviewed was able to say for sure that it was Northam in the photo, and no one has come forward to investigators to say that it was him. But the report also said that they didn’t see any indication that the photo was put on Northam’s page by accident or by anyone else other than him.
However, even if Northam isn’t in the photo, investigators looked through the 1984 yearbook and through yearbooks from other years and found a culture of racism and misogyny. The yearbooks” repeatedly contained other content that could be offensive to women, minorities, certain ethnic groups, and others.”
From 1976 all the way up until 2013, the yearbooks were run by the students and received almost no oversight from the administration of the college.
Northam has refused to step down and so far, it doesn’t appear the people of Virginia want him to either. A Quinnipiac University poll in late February found that Virginia voters, including a large majority of black voters, believed that Northam should not step down.