Virginia Governor Ralph Northam apparently likes to pose in racist photos, dance around in blackface, and then hold press conferences to lie about it.
So here’s what happened. Ralph Northam graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1984. According to one of the yearbook’s editors, each student was responsible for submitting photos for their page in a sealed envelope.
Northam’s page had a picture of a white man in black face posing with someone in a Klan robe. When the picture recently surfaced, Northam admitted he was in the picture and apologized. Then people started saying he should resign. That’s when he said he wasn’t in the picture, but admitted that he put on blackface to look like Michael Jackson in a dance contest.
As bizarre as all of this sounds, the question is not whether Ralph Northam was a racist in 1984. The question is whether he’s a liar right now. And to me, the answer is clear. First he said he WAS in the picture. Then he said he WASN’T in the picture. One of those statements is a lie. And in the words of my mother, “If you’ll lie you’ll steal.”
Which brings me to the real problem with this story. The problem of Eastern Virginia Medical School.
The people who run such schools are responsible for training the doctors who deliver our babies, and treat us for illness. We trust those doctors with our most personal information.
And yet in a medical school, where the first lesson is to do no harm, the administrators allowed pictures of klansmen to be published in their yearbook. In a medical school, where they train doctors who hold our lives in their hands, the administrators simply smiled and winked at racism.
And now they say they had no idea the picture was there. Well that’s a lie, and in the words of my mother, “if you’ll lie, you’ll steal.”
Schools like Eastern produced the doctors who let prisoners die at Tuskegee. Schools like Eastern produced the doctors who stole cells from Henrietta Lax.
So the issue with Ralph Northam isn’t just about a picture. It’s about racism in the medical community.
So if Northam must resign, the school should pay a fine, or lose accreditation for its role in this whole mess. Because if they lied and claimed they knew nothing about klansmen in their yearbook. What else are they lying about?
Cause in the words of my mother, if you’ll lie, you won’t hesitate to steal.