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Virginia Attorney General Says He Wore Blackface at College Party

Virginia, we have a problem.

Despite calls for his resignation, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) remains in office, following the revelation of a photo on his medical school yearbook page of a man in blackface and another man dressed in a KKK costume. In less than a week, another Virginia official is coming forward to say he wore blackface, too.

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring released a statement on Wednesday morning, apologizing for wearing blackface in college.

"In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song," Herring wrote in a statement.

"It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But, because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup."

"That I have contributed to the pain Virginians have felt this week is the greatest shame I have ever felt," Herring added. "In the days ahead, honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as attorney general, but no matter where we go from here, I will say that from the bottom of my heart, I am deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation."

Northam's yearbook photo was revealed on Friday and Herring is actually one of the many officials, including the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, both of Virginia's U.S. Senators and the Democratic caucuses in both the Virginia House of Delegates and State, who've said the governor should resign.

It seems Herring decided to bring any past issues to the forefront, rather than have them revealed.

"The fact that Governor Northam did not reveal these flaws to the public and apologize for them years ago makes it impossible to trust him now," DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti wrote in his latest column.

"I'd imagine he must have spent some sleepless nights knowing that it was just a matter of time before this blew up."

On Friday, Northam apologized for appearing in the picture. But, on Saturday, he said he was not one of the people in the photo.

He acknowledged that he wore blackface at another time when he dressed up as pop superstar Michael Jackson.

Related Story: Bakari Sellers Definitively Explains Why Blackface is Racist

Bakari Sellers represented South Carolina's 90th district in the lower house of the state legislature, from 2006 to 2014, becoming the youngest Black politician in the country at age 22.

"I think that many times white people do not understand what blackface means," Sellers explained on CNN. "When you have your son going out in blackface for a costume or your son goes to prep school or elite day schools and they dress up in blackface, basically it means you're calling me n***er."

"The reason why I say that is because blackface goes back to the mid-19th century where people were dressing up showing them to be lazy, to be ignorant, hypersexual and to be all-out disrespectful to our culture."

The person who would be taking office if Northam resigns, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, is continuing to face questions over an alleged sexual misconduct incident at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Fairfax has vehemently denied the allegations.

However, if both Fairfax and Northam were to resign, Herring would be next in line.

The Conversation (5)
votetocorrect07 Feb, 2019
What the heck is wrong with Virginia leadership?!
Dan's last response07 Feb, 2019

I will not try to defend him. It was an ignorant and hateful act.

As a conservative, it would be easy for me to agree that he should be thrown under the bus.

Bu this was 38 years ago.

If we are going to go back into everybody's past, I suspect that the VAST MAJORITY of people have some really dumb/stupid/hateful/bigoted/racist/etc. items that would pop up.

I'm 56. Old enough to positively CRINGE in embarrassment at my stupidest moments. I know I'm not alone in that.

I don't know this guy. Has he served ALL Virginians well for the past many years? If so, maybe it's not such a bad thing for a person to admit that in their youth they were not always wise, to ask for forgiveness and maybe even receive it........?

Thoughts?

SanmiFalae@gmail.com07 Feb, 2019

I wonder WHEN and WHAT it will take to make wearing a black face a RACE- HATE CRIME?!!

Middle School Student Arrested After Refusing to Recite Pledge of Allegiance

Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."

An 11-year-old boy was arrested for not following orders and "causing a disruption" when he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

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TV Station Reports on Michigan Governor's 'Curves' and Gets Slammed on Twitter

"I've got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I've got your back," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave her first annual address to the state on Tuesday focusing on infrastructure, education and bipartisanship to reach effective solutions. But a local TV station chose to focus more on Whitmer's curves in her dress. It's "a cheap, sexist and indefensible shot at a strong woman in leadership," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes.

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U.S. Citizens Detained for Speaking Spanish Sue Border Patrol

"It's unconstitutional to detain people just because of their language, accent, or color of their skin," says the ACLU.

ACLU

Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez, American-born Latinas, are suing US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers for racial profiling.

They were detained at a gas station convenience store in Havre, Montana, last year, by an officer who asked the women where they were born after hearing them speak Spanish.

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Senate Backs Legislation to Make Lynching a Federal Hate Crime

"Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.

It's 2019 and lynching still hasn't been properly outlawed. A bill, introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was cleared on Thursday in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The measure will now go to the House. Harris, Booker and Scott are the only Black members of the Senate.

Harris tweeted on Thursday:

Congress has tried more than 200 times to pass an anti-lynching law, but has failed. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005, apologizing to lynching victims.

The bipartisan bill acknowledges the harms of lynching, which is a form of domestic terrorism, and the federal government's failure to stop it.

It defines the crime as "the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person."

In December, the Senate also passed the bill. But it was days before the 115th Congress went out of business, and the measure never reached the House floor.

"It's not the first time we've come down to this body to try to right the wrongs of history," Booker said on the Senate floor.

"For too long we have failed, failed to ensure justice for the victims of history and failed to make clear in the United States of America, in this great country, lynching is and always has been not only a federal crime but a moral failure."

According to the NAACP, "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States."

"Of the total, 3,446 of the victims were Black, accounting for approximately 72.7 percent; and 1,297 were white, which is 27.3 percent."

"These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded," the organization stated.

Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Call Kaepernick 'Controversial' and Remove His Name From Black History Resolution

"Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution," tweeted Rep. Shelia Stubbs.

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is so "controversial" to GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that they refused to include his name in a resolution to honor prominent Black Americans during February. But for members of the Legislature's Black caucus, Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin, is anything but controversial.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball legend Reggie Jackson, are some of the more than two-dozen names suggested by the Black caucus to include in the resolution.

Republicans refused to support a resolution naming Kaepernick "for obvious reasons," Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said during a news conference on Tuesday. He added, "Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure."

Steineke and others in the GOP are following the lead of the head of their party, who has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "sons of bi***es."

Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. He claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.

Wisconsin Republicans initially blocked the Black caucus' resolution. But then they amended it to delete Kaepernick's name on a 61-34 party-line vote. Democrats had to decide whether to go against their own resolution or accept it without Kaepernick. They wound up agreeing to remove his name, and the state Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday.

For the second year in a row, the Republicans, who are all white, in the Wisconsin Legislature objected to how Black lawmakers wanted to honor — Black History Month.

One of the Black lawmakers who authored the resolution, Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, called the incident "a textbook example of white privilege."

Wisconsin's population is 87.3 percent white, a much less diverse population than average.

Crowley also said that Kaepernick, who is a philanthropist, was included, in part, because he gave a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit for teens in Milwaukee called Urban Underground.

Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) tweeted on Tuesday:

State Sen. Lena Taylor said on Wednesday, that she would offer an amendment to include Kaepernick to the resolution.

AccuWeather to Pay $290K in Fines Over Sexual Harassment

Barry Myers, AccuWeather's former CEO, is Trump's nominee to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Barry Myers, former CEO of AccuWeather

Weather giant, AccuWeather, has agreed to pay $290,000 in fines after it was found that the company subjected female workers to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

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