In the ongoing national debate over the topic of blackface, spurred recently by the revelations about Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, and officers in the Baton Rouge Police Department, two diverging opinions appear to be emerging.
Some apologists argue that we should let “bygones be bygones,” that judging racial miscues of the past is a pointless and complicated exercise that further pushes us into our corners. Others, including Northeastern professor Moya Bailey, argue that the very act of darkening one’s skin, regardless of when the offense occurred, is indicative of an offender’s belief system, which shapes the way he or she makes impactful and far-reaching decisions.
After initially admitting to it, Northam is now denying that he appeared in blackface in a photo contained in his Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook from 1984.