Blackface? No, it’s how Northam handles major issues

Gov. Ralph Northam was recently pilloried for his 1984 medical school yearbook photo showing one person in blackface and another in a KKK outfit. He admits doing blackface in a separate incident, but he does not remember the detail circumstances surrounding this photo. Many politicians and commentators considered this so seriously offensive that they demanded his resignation. I believe that some thoughtful reflection is in order.

Today, most of us are aware of the serious offensiveness of blackface. I served in combat in Vietnam, so I understand serious stress. Therefore, I cannot abandon our wonderful country by remaining silent while watching this episode spiral out of control. This photo is certainly not that serious, but it does however, highlight the important question of how to ensure the continued assimilation of minorities into full equality in Virginia and the USA. It should also trigger very serious discussion about what is best for America, regardless of party, beliefs, throwing more money to the rich, ignoring the common person, gun laws, tax laws, health policies, etc.

Reflexively blasting Northam piously distracts from determining the best path forward. I would ask his accusers to swear that they are so pure that they have nothing in their past which they would mind on the front page of a newspaper. Remember what Christ said: “Let the one without sin throw the first stone.” Ralph Northam has spent his entire adult life helping others, regardless of race or status. The resignation of this compassionate and proven leader over a thoughtless youthful indiscretion would have done nothing to advance the interests of our residents. He handled the explanation awkwardly. Big deal. Far more importantly, he is handling the major issues effectively; that is what counts.

Crucially, in our present hyper political climate, there is a political philosophy which says that in order to correct things, we should raise cane with the organization, criticize others, and shake things up. If you think that this is a good idea, try it at work or in your family.Gov. Northam understands that to achieve effective change, you must listen to all opinions, and respect all viewpoints before your decision. He is quietly and effectively doing that; we should be grateful.

Many blacks today remain supportive of the physician and Gov. Northam, who shows them genuine respect. They understand that he has demonstrated fairness in actions rather than just in words and know him as a real friend. In contrast, other political leaders today openly support discrimination, the KKK, the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, etc.

The ideal key to improving society is to learn, debate, and adopt the best change without violence. This inspiring VMI example of change is relevant for Gov. Northam. His admitted blackface episode two generations ago was not uncommon then. Today he understands how hurtful and inappropriate it was, and he has unequivocally disavowed it. He has spent his adult life helping and healing all people equally and enthusiastically supporting civil rights. Most blacks understand this. We should, too.

Rather than expressions of outrage, we should focus on the thoughtful analysis of how to improve future long-term relationships among all Americans. I believe that after such reflection, most people will understand that we should support Gov. Northam in his efforts to address those relationships and be grateful for his proven and compassionate leadership.

Hopefully this letter will help toward thoughtful healing. It expresses my opinions alone, no one else’s.

Doug Thomas is a resident of Winchester.

Doug Thomas is a resident

of Winchester.

(11) comments


Hey, I just might be willing to maybe, possibly, sorta, kinda give old Northy a pass on that little blackface thingy, seeing that his attorney general did the 'zack same thing and the loo-tenant gubbernor 'did something' untoward 'maybe' with someone. HOWEVER, there is that most egregious violation of the Hippocratic Oath he took to DO NO HARM when he accepted his MD degree. Last April he brazenly approved allowing an INFANT BORN ALIVE during a late term abortion attempt to BE KEPT COMFORTABLE while the mother and the doctor (if a Licensed Physician is actually present) decide TO KILL THE CHILD!!! It was surely a HippoCRITIC Oath that he took that day.

Spock Here

Doug, it's the bumbling hypocrisy that was displayed


I agree, Spock. It was the bumbling hypocrisy of the Democrat party and its media shills that really made this a stand-out event. If Northam had been Republican, we all know he would have been driven from office and from public life, never to be allowed any grace....ever.

Spock Here

You've made your views of "all democrats are alike" quite clear, and lumping all into a box, but, you do forget the cries for him to resign? Quite a few from the party you love to hate. Btw, since you want to play the "if" game let's think about "what if" Obama had invited the Taliban to Camp David? "What if" Obama had "fallen in love" with NK? Oh my! The "if" game is another of your inane points. And, there is a republican who gets away with all kinds of questionable racial comments who is "currently" in office. Steve King for one, your chosen one for another. "What if" we treated them all the same?


I don’t hate at all. I feel sorrow for such bright people who as Reagan said “know so much that isn’t so.”

Spock Here

Is that the same Reagan who hooted it up with tricky dickey, laughing about the UN delegation from Tanzania: “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television, as I did, to see those, those monkeys from those African countries — dam them — they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”


The same Reagan who was President when Robert Byrd was in congress....Byrd who had been the KK recruiter. We can play this old game all day long.

Spock Here

Exactly! Byrd was disgraceful.

"I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." Today, unfortunately, both parties have their goons, and we should not accept any of it. Which I thought I said earlier


You go ping. Finally someone to come back appropriately. 🤗


Your “thoughtful healing letter” continues the lie about “other political leaders today openly support discrimination, the K..the pro-Na-I marchers in Charlottesville, etc.” You obviously and mistakenly infer President Trump, who despite twisting of his words does not support any hate groups. Your healing letter also for some reason seems to exclude Mr. Northam‘s video and audio support for infanticide. Yes sir, we all make mistakes in our life, but some of us still avoid promoting the demise of newborn humans. The paper allowed you to spell out hateful words, but wouldn’t allow me to repeat them here.


How right you are . And again, Republican? would have been forced to evacuate the face of the earth. Hypocrisy yes

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