By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on February 2, 2019
We all make dumb mistakes in life. Most of these mistakes do not have life-altering consequences. Some do.
In 1984, Ralph Shearer Northam made an error in judgment with life-altering consequences when he posed for a photograph on his medical school yearbook page that showed two white men: one in blackface and one dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia. Yesterday, Northam acknowledged that he is one of these two men.
The men depicted in the photograph were not portraying characters in a play or movie. These men self-selected a permanent image of how they wanted to be remembered by their peers in medical school and by the larger world.
Understandably, Ralph Northam will not say whether he is the man in blackface or the one in KKK regalia. Both images in the photograph are equally racist and inexcusable for a 25-year-old medical student. As such, Northam is in a lose-lose situation.
Today, Northam is the Democratic governor of Virginia. He assumed office on January 13, 2018.
Northam has apologized for posing in this racially offensive photograph. However, his apology is not enough in this circumstance.
This is a classic example of where a grown man made an error in judgment with life-altering consequences. As a result, Northam has lost all of his moral authority to lead Virginia in 2019. He has also lost the respect of people of interracial goodwill who are sick and tired of this kind of conscious ignorance and reckless disregard for the feelings of an entire race of fellow Americans.
Ralph Northam must resign, effective immediately. Northam’s past conduct has exposed his true inner self and has condemned his future. He must take full responsibility for his actions as a grown man.
Ralph Shearer Northam has been outed for who he is -- a publicly announced, proud, and self-proclaimed racist. His self-portrait in 1984 speaks louder than any words of comfort he can utter to us today.
On a personal note, I have a "zero tolerance" policy on racism. I do not give out "look the other way" passes based upon the political affiliation of the racist. I do not make a distinction between racism practiced by whites against blacks and racism practiced by blacks against whites. All forms of racism against human beings are equally bad and will not be tolerated by me.
PHOTO: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's racist 1984 medical school yearbook photograph.