Author Topic: The Northam mess  (Read 2108 times)

Sandra Craft

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The Northam mess
« on: February 05, 2019, 08:42:06 PM »
I am really having a problem with this, and am probably about to get into trouble on FB because of it.

For anyone who hasn't been following it, Northam is the Governor of Virginia who, at the age of 25, posed in blackface with another student dressed as a Klansman during some medical school party, and this picture ended up in the year book.  The picture has somehow escaped notice until now, when it's causing a general call for Northam's resignation.

Anderson Cooper on the Northam controversy

I will grant right up front that, after a good start with an apology, Northam has been handling this very, very badly.  However, I looked up his voting record and he seems to me to have been a solid and consistent supporter of equality and civil rights in his career as a public servant.

Northam voting record per VoteSmart

I cannot see the point in Northam resigning over a stupid act from 35 yrs ago when his voting record indicates that this is not an ongoing defect in his character, nor has it influenced his politics.  To me, this is just another example of liberals eating their own. 
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Tank

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 08:47:08 PM »
Most interesting.
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Dark Lightning

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 02:18:28 AM »
I really hate to quote the buy-bull, but "Let he who is without sin..., etc." People are reacting in the moment about something that happened so many years ago. It's kind of a sad commentary on the power of the few, via the internet. The chump can walk around talking about "grabbing women by the pussy" and the same people who are castigating Northam let that crap slide. Too damned many children in adult's bodies for the country's good.

Sandra Craft

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 03:46:42 AM »
What I can't get over is the idea that a stupid, thoughtless thing he did decades ago as a medical student is more important and meaningful than all the good he's done protecting minority rights since then as a politician.   Or the idea that carrying on in blackface, distasteful as it is both now and in 1984, is equivalent to an actual crime like rape. 

Northam certainly deserves to be embarrassed by this incident from his past, and it's inevitable that he'll lose votes in the future over it, but to destroy the career of an effective, liberal politician is such an extreme and self-destructive over-reaction.  We're doing nothing but shooting ourselves in the foot over this, and the Republicans are walking off laughing.


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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 04:53:30 AM »
I heartily agree that a dumb assed youthful stunt from 35 years ago is not grounds for his being sacked.

I have been a southern white male for a long time and I confess that I was also somehow insulated from common decency as regards racial issues.  Of course that was long before the Governor was even the twinkle in his fathers eye. 

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 04:41:58 AM »
But he couldn't just man up and really apologize. He apologized and took responsibility on the Friday right after the story came out. Had he left it there, I'd totally agree with you, Sandra.

But then he tried to weasel out of his responsibility later in the weekend, saying he didn't think it was him in the photo (dude, if you had any doubt, there's a problem). Then he gave that horrible press conference in which he brought up another instance of wearing blackface from his past to dress up as Michael Jackson, made a joke about the difficult of getting shoe polish off his face, and then seriously considered doing the moonwalk (his wife had to tell him that would be inappropriate). Talk about horrible judgment.

It was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing all over again. I'm willing to let a public official move on after a genuine apology that seems to have some reckoning behind it. But that was nowhere to be seen.

Asmodean

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 10:01:27 AM »
I don't think that he should have apologized for something he did at a different time, in a specific context, which was not considered a wrongdoing in that time and context. An apology without remorse is that much wasted breath, and why would he feel remorse over that?

He wouldn't have done it today. Times are different, and in many ways, he probably is too. End of story. Or is it..?


But then he tried to weasel out of his responsibility later in the weekend, saying he didn't think it was him in the photo (dude, if you had any doubt, there's a problem).
What responsibility? Oh, I agree that this was poorly handled, but what was the responsibility, which he had in any meaningful way, that he tried to weasel out of? The responsibility of being an honest politician? Is there such a creature?

Quote
Then he gave that horrible press conference in which he brought up another instance of wearing blackface from his past to dress up as Michael Jackson, made a joke about the difficult of getting shoe polish off his face, and then seriously considered doing the moonwalk (his wife had to tell him that would be inappropriate). Talk about horrible judgment.
Perhaps, but should you ignore pandering to parts of his base (which is a good and valid reason for doing Things in politics - not saying it isn't) it was still a thing of different time and specific context therein, was it not? Can you retroactively change the cultural significance of something without some spectacular dishonesty? If using an electric toothbrush is percieved to be racist in twenty years, does me having used one five years ago make me a future racist? (Yes, yes, I know. Feel free to swap muh toothbrush for anything else acceptable by today's standards, though)

Quote
It was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing all over again. I'm willing to let a public official move on after a genuine apology that seems to have some reckoning behind it. But that was nowhere to be seen.
I actually sort-of agree with you there, though I suspect that it may be for completely different reasons.
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Bad Penny II

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 12:23:35 PM »
What the fork are we doing posting here, we know nothing of USA race relations.

That's what qualifies us, our ignorance dispassion.

35 years ago? probably a US person should have known black face wasn't the done thing.
Did he mean disrespect, what was he doing back then? besides the the blackface partying.
The Michael Jackson thing could of been homage.
But maybe there never was no MJ, it's just a poli's wiley ways, spin.

Sandy has said he has been a nice fellow since.

We've added nothing to this thread.

No not nothing, nuance, we added nuance.
 :foottap:
Ye, OK, we added nothing.
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Asmodean

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2019, 12:52:30 PM »
I think we didn't add that much to this thread because no-one who has posted up until this point disagrees with Sandra's conclusion strongly enough to post a comprehensive rebuttal. Whether that lack of disagreement stems from positive agreement, ignorance or simply not caring, the end result is the same.
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Bad Penny II

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 01:49:42 PM »
I think we didn't add that much to this thread because no-one who has posted up until this point disagrees with Sandra's conclusion strongly enough to post a comprehensive rebuttal. Whether that lack of disagreement stems from positive agreement, ignorance or simply not caring, the end result is the same.

When I said we I meant me and green me.

I think the black face stuff is passe, its decades gone.

An Orange person objecting to dark hued footballers doing a subtle gesture in support of "black lives matter" is current.

I like this one



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« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 02:00:37 PM by Bad Penny II »
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Asmodean

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 02:02:49 PM »
 :lol:

Ok, a self-proclaimed Culcha Warrioh ought not ask, but what is said to be going on in that photo? Because I see two guys going "Yay, I'm a winner!" and one guy being all "meh" about his... Silver? Bronze? Silver, I think.
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Bad Penny II

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 02:31:45 PM »
:lol:

Ok, a self-proclaimed Culcha Warrioh ought not ask, but what is said to be going on in that photo? Because I see two guys going "Yay, I'm a winner!" and one guy being all "meh" about his... Silver? Bronze? Silver, I think.

It's the 1968 Mexico Olympics and black chaps had unresolved issues.
Our guy wanted to be supportive but the raised fist was theirs, not culturally appropriate for him to adopt.
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jumbojak

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2019, 03:34:06 PM »
:lol:

Ok, a self-proclaimed Culcha Warrioh ought not ask, but what is said to be going on in that photo? Because I see two guys going "Yay, I'm a winner!" and one guy being all "meh" about his... Silver? Bronze? Silver, I think.

The raised fist is typically a symbol of the left but in this case was associated with the Black Power movement. That Australian fellow fared much, much worse than they did.
 

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Sandra Craft

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2019, 12:20:31 AM »
But he couldn't just man up and really apologize. He apologized and took responsibility on the Friday right after the story came out. Had he left it there, I'd totally agree with you, Sandra.

I agree he should have stopped after the initial apology.  I suspect spin doctors got to him and were responsible for the later stuff -- spin doctors screw up everything.


Quote
It was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing all over again. I'm willing to let a public official move on after a genuine apology that seems to have some reckoning behind it. But that was nowhere to be seen.

I disagree that this is like the Kavanaugh hearing -- Kavanaugh was accused of an actual crime, way past the date when reporting it would have meant something, but still a crime.  Northam is guilty of acts of stupidity, thoughtlessness and bad taste, however common a part of his culture they were (and frankly, often still are).  They were a poor reflection of his character -- 35 yrs ago.  A reflection of his character now, as a politician, can be seen in his voting record, which is good over all and excellent in promoting and protecting civil rights.

This gets down to the nub of it for me -- how can an on-going excellent civil rights record weigh less in the balance than stupid acts from decades in the past?
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Sandra Craft

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Re: The Northam mess
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2019, 12:30:53 AM »
:lol:

Ok, a self-proclaimed Culcha Warrioh ought not ask, but what is said to be going on in that photo? Because I see two guys going "Yay, I'm a winner!" and one guy being all "meh" about his... Silver? Bronze? Silver, I think.

The raised fist is typically a symbol of the left but in this case was associated with the Black Power movement. That Australian fellow fared much, much worse than they did.

I've never understood what the fuss over Peter Norman was about.  If it was about his wearing an OPHR badge, well, screw them.  If it was about his "just standing there" during the Black Power salute (which I've heard some people say), what on Earth else was he supposed to do?
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