I learned something yesterday during Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s press conference. It’s very hard to get shoe polish off your face. Of course, why would I have known that? I’ve never felt the inspiration to put shoe polish on my face. I know that if you draw a mustache on someone’s face with a Sharpie, like your little sister while she’s sleeping, that’s hard to wash off. But shoe polish? News to me. I also learned that there’s no better way to piss off someone than drawing a mustache on their face that’s hard to wash off, which is why you do it again.
But, our governor knew the shoe polish face thing at 25. During his press conference, he said he was not either of the two men on his page of his medical school yearbook. In case you don’t remember, one of those guys was in a Klan robe and the other was wearing blackface. The governor did confess that he’s worn blackface in the past while entering a dance contest as Michael Jackson. He even said he learned to moonwalk.
The governor went from apologizing for the photo on Friday night to saying it’s not him on Saturday. The press conference was supposed to make everyone calling for his resignation to change their minds. Instead, there are now more calls for his resignation. Now, it doesn’t matter if it’s him in the photo or not.
He also said he had never seen the photo before, which is hard to believe. I haven’t seen any of my yearbooks in decades, but I’ve seen them. He also didn’t explain the “Coonman” nickname.
While explaining the blackface thing, he said he only put a little on because, “as anyone knows who’s ever put shoe polish on their face,” it’s hard to remove. That doesn’t change the fact he put shoe polish on his face to impersonate a black person. And yes, in 1984, Michael Jackson was still black.
I was there in 1984. No, not at his stupid dance contest. I was a teenager in 1984. People, including white guys, were dressing like Michael Jackson. They were wearing those ridiculous red jackets with 27 dozen zippers while wearing one white glove. I don’t remember ever seeing one of them wearing blackface. Let me point out, this was in the south. I was living in Georgia when Thriller came out, moved to Louisiana before the year was over, and never saw guys doing the blackface thing. Then again, I wasn’t very popular so maybe I just wasn’t invited to all the Michael Jackson blackface parties.
So, yeah. There is a bit of a defense. He went from hateful racist attending a party to mock black people, to oblivious racist thinking he was just having fun. That’s not a good defense. Neither is “it wasn’t me THAT time.”
While people were calling for Northam’s resignation after he apologized for the photo on Friday, he was being respected for owning it. He lost that during his press conference.
Ralph Northam has to resign. Just leave. You can moonwalk while you’re leaving, as long as you’re leaving.
Watch me draw.