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Residents respond to Virginia Governor not resigning, “blackface” yearbook photo

There’s been national outcry for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign, after a photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook recently surfaced.

Governor Northam, a Democrat, is being asked to step down by members of his own party.

The photo in question shows two people, one in blackface, the other person in a KKK robe.

Northam first apologized, then said the photo did not include him.

But in his most recent public appearance, the governor says he’s worn blackface before, just at another time.

“When you see something like that, you have to question whether that person serves as a true advocate or if they see you as someone useful for their own political ends,” said Rodney Montague, Associate Professor of History at Bluefield State College.

Our neighbors in Virginia and West Virginia are split over whether Northam should resign.

“He has the right to decide whether he should resign or not,” said Audrey Smothers, a Mercer County resident. “He could have changed his attitude about things because people do change.”

“I do think he should step down and resign,” said Niven Johnson, a Tazewell County resident.

Regardless of what side of the aisle you fall on, Montague says this is an issue of concern for all residents.

“If he’s willing to denigrate this group, what does that say about you,” said Montague. “Nobody is immune from the stigma of stereotyping, prejudice or bias.”

Jennifer Roberts

Multimedia Journalist

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