Tommy Norment’s Turn in the Yearbook Whipsaw

Da Bomb. The Virginia Pilot is reporting that Tommy Norment, R-Williamsburg, Republican majority leader of Virginia’s State Senate, was an editor for a VMI yearbook called The Bomb that printed “racist photos and slurs, including blackface”.  The yearbook in question was published in 1968.  African Americans were allowed to enroll at VMI in the Fall of 1968, presumably just after the “Norment yearbook” was published.

Full disclosure. The VMI 1968 yearbook included a statement authored by Norment in his position as an editor. His missive included the somewhat ironic line, “Work on the Bomb has permitted me to release four years of inhibitions.”  Hmmm …  Maybe sometimes remaining inhibited isn’t such a bad thing.

Judgement lapses. While it’s fair to debate whether including pictures of white people in blackface in a 1968 yearbook was a lapse in judgement or a sad practice of the day, Mr Norment has been no stranger to continuing controversy.  He was charged with DUIattempted to chase reporters off the senate floor (where they had worked for a century), exposed as a customer of the adultery website Ashley Madison, and had an inappropriate “relationship” with a lobbyist. Norment hasn’t faced a competitive election in three senate campaigns but still receives large campaign contributions from “the usual gang of suspects”.

— Don Rippert

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22 responses to “Tommy Norment’s Turn in the Yearbook Whipsaw

  1. Sick of this. Dump them all.

    • I kind of agree. Sometimes, when a company struggles and new management is brought in all the existing executives are forced to resign and reapply for their jobs. Some are kept. Most are not. Seems like a good idea with regard to the Virginia General Assembly this November.

  2. Dear Don,

    Meanwhile, abortion and infanticide advocates get a free pass. But at least “the right people” can feel good about themselves and still be admired, and ordinary Whites can still be flayed in the media. No contradiction here. It’s just certain people whose sensibilities need assuaging, not everyone’s. We’ve come such a long way!



    • Andrew:

      I have strong feelings about abortion and I was disgusted by Northam’s original comments on the Tran bill and his disingenuous attempt to “walk back” those comments after he heard the fallout. However, blackface / passive racism and abortion are separate issues in my book (although Margaret Sanger certainly said some troubling things that connect the two).

  3. As they say Sauce for the Goose. 1948 maybe. 1968 – no way.

    • I agree but with a twist. Virginia isn’t Iowa.

      You didn’t grow up here. I did. I never saw systematic racism growing up in NoVa. There were dumbasses who made stupid comments and told stupid jokes but they were almost universally shunned by the majority of white kids. Then I went to UVA. What an eye opener. Serious racism was the order of the day from the wealthy white kids who came to Charlottesville from pretty much anywhere except NoVa (or anywhere out of state). Was every preppy a racist? Of course not. But the prevalence of serious racism among the preppies was shocking. Before I got to UVA I thought only very uneducated people held racist views. But it was the rich white kids from private schools who were the worst at UVA. Did the advance of society and their own maturation disabuse them of their racist thoughts? Maybe. Maybe not.

      I’d be happy to draw a line at some age / date. For example, anybody 18 or older (in 1990) who showed racist behavior after 1990 is disqualified. Anybody 22 or over who showed racist behavior after 1980 is disqualified.

  4. “Hey… I’ve lived in Virginia all my life and have never seen anything like this”!

    …. but I might have heard about it……



  5. It’s been startling to me how often the most self-righteous denunciators of other’s are deeply guilty of that for which they would punish their colleagues.

    A prediction I hope is cynical and wrong:
    The Democrat party and the MSM propagandists will bury this embarrassment in their blood lust for Trump and power. The left wing SJW groups recently honored by D invitations to the SOTU and funded by the Obama administration’s thefts/forced contributions have already stood down and will not be screeching on the steps of the capital as they would if this were a Republican. Fairfax’s accuser will be scared/bought/persuaded off or otherwise disappear from view. The Black Caucus will extract some back-room favors for their silence.

    There will be no resignations and this will be gone by this time next week.

    • My experience is that what things look a bit dark, as if they might fall apart, the cowards, haters, bottom feeders and maladjusted come out to feed, showing their true colors, and now the lowest among them, they do it while still from behind their keyboards, where they can hide. It happens like clock work, the fact of history. You got to reach the low point so everyone shows their true nature. That has to happen first. Only then can the ship be turned around. So when this disgusting process is finished, Virginia will fine. Indeed it will be cleansed. And far stronger than before.

  6. Dear JD,

    Once again, I have to say that the past and present racist deeds of Blacks, i.e. interracial crime and political rhetoric, gets covered up by those wanting to suck up to the powerful, while “Blackface” minsteralry becomes an ex post facto “hanging,” or at least career-ending offense. I respectfully disagree with Reed: Nothing of policy- or large-scale hypocrisy is cleansed or solved, though some high-placed past personal-hypocrisy is exposed; the policy-hypocrisy of tolerating real, life threatening bad-behavior by Blacks against Whites continues to be covered-up. (Another irony, Northum’s views of Blacks, even assuming they never changed, has ever influenced his policies against them; his policies, or at least rhetoric, has all been very pro-; so it had no policy outcome, was not at all indicative of how he actually governed, and as “Janus” said, it didn’t affect LBJ’s policies, either).

    JD talks about how our, and I grew up in Northern Virginia about the same time, peers did not use demeaning language against Blacks which is pretty much true, yet, our, or perhaps I should say, my parents made the decision not to live in majority Black D.C. by moving to then (nearly) “lilly-White” Fairfax County, with a pit-stop in Alexandria, where our daily contact was greatly minimized. The “enlightenment” of folk like us rested on not having nearly as much experience dealing Blacks on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps the harsh feelings that JD’s UVA preppy students had more first-hand contact? And let me be candid, harsh feelings, i.e. hatred, is bad, it corrodes the soul and leads to further evil. Blackface, minstrelry, and “local color” or dialect language like that used by the Virginia novelist, Thomas Nelson Page, or Georgia’s Joel Chandler Harris, often was not rooted in hatred, but affection. Sometimes “imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery.”

    The breast-beating about all of this conveniently does not include these facts. It is all, “oh, that bad person who said and dressed a certain way,” towards the favored group, while ignoring the far greater injuries committed by substantial numbers of the same favored group. A true cleansing of hypocrisy would acknowledge these facts and ask, “why has your propensity toward criminality been so vastly greater among yourselves and others?” White flight and White hatred of Blacks is treated as either a delusion or a “systemic conspiracy to rationalize economic exploitation” (i.e. Marxists). We dare not ask what actual bases lie under it. To ask it, and attempt to honestly answer it, results in getting “voted off” the very strange island known as “the Isle of Advanced Enlightenment.”



  7. And Don, I keep referring to you as “JD”; it must be a Freudian slip or something. ;-))< My apologies.



  8. Late to this conversation, can’t really comment using the phone at the GAB…

    So I think one reason why Rippert and I have some divergent views is I didn’t grow up in Northern Virginia, but with roots in rural Southwest Va, a very racist environment. And I entered it after moving back from Southern California, having grown up mostly on integrated military bases. Segregated Roanoke in 1967 was a shock. In 8th grade, on the day after MLK was killed, I made a statement about the tragedy and this lovely young girl called me a N-lover. I remember the moment to this day, remember her name, can see the room at Woodrow Wilson J.H. (and then I learned about HIM)…… Living through the integration of the Roanoke schools an eye-opening experience.

    If I got up on Rippert’s judgmental high horse I’d have to condemn my grandfather and great uncle, many other uncles and cousins, quite a few classmates and neighbors. Most were just thoughtlessly expressing things they grew up hearing, seeing, being told. Most today would be ashamed of their earlier attitudes and actions, and deserve to be forgiven, as we all need forgiveness for something and in order to be forgiven, we must first forgive.

    And a footnote, because by the time I left Roanoke 20 years later, in the mid 80s, things were far better there. But then I moved to Richmond…..and it was time for the education to resume.

    We’re all just people. We’re all sinners. Get a grip. I’m not taking instruction on racial reconciliation, truth and morality from Al Sharpton, either. Too many people have too much to gain by feeding the fires of resentment and preventing any healing.

    • That was good, Steve.

      I too grew up in a military family. Born in Norfolk, grandparents in Sparta and as child growing up, Galveston, Opa Locka and Beauford plus others in between.

      I went to segregated high schools in Virginia. Beyond school, there were separate water fountains and even bathrooms… many motels and eating establishments would not serve blacks. And there was no shortage of the use of the “N” word among whites nor calling each other “N”-lovers if they treated blacks as humans. Blackface and worse – like the Amos and Andy show were fairly common.

      That racist culture is still with us. We’ve “advanced” but it’s not exactly a mass reformation of all people and attitudes. We still have a significant number of folks who still harbor covert and overt attitudes towards race.

      My Dad came to accept blacks, my Mom never did.. she was racist til the day she died.

      But just also remember than Massive Resistance, implemented by whites and Dems – was also rejected by whites – who prior to that lived in a racist culture but then overcame it and then worked against it. But their earlier years as part of that racist culture cannot (and should not) be erased.

      But there is a HUGE difference between folks who were part of a racist culture and have now changed – and folks who were part of a racist culture and basically still have those same feelings but are forced to stifle it for fear of public condemnation – and most do not live, work or play with blacks – it’s still a separate culture to them.

      • “These revelations should have sparked a broader discussion about Virginia and race.”

        Should have, and have, here, thanks to you. The conversation is worth the provocation.

    • Actually, there no divergence between what you wrote and in the comment above and my feelings. Northern Virginians are naive about the depth of racism that existed in Virginia (and in some passive ways, still exists). My guess is that people who grew up out of state and moved here are naive too. Ditto for people who came here from other countries. So, if you add up NoVa, people who grew up outside Virginia and immigrants you have a lot of naiveté. Meanwhile, you have Virginia’s African-American population who are not naive but wonder why so many Virginians can’t understand their perspective.

      My frustration with some on this blog is that they were too willing to just shrug off Northam’s, Herring’s and Norment’s prior poor behavior as essentially “kids being kids”. Or, “that’s just the way things were.” What we should have said was, “We were pretty damn racist here in Virginia. In fact, some of our leaders were showing some pretty racist tendencies (consciously or not) right up into the 1980s. Are we still a racist state?” Regardless of the penalties (or lack thereof) for Northam, Herring and Norment – these revelations should have sparked a broader discussion about Virginia and race.

      And I hope that the next time an African-American says something about his or her feelings of lingering racism their comments are considered rather than just thrown on the junk heap of “social justice warrior drivel”.

  9. Dear Steve,

    I, too, reject racial hatred, including those of Whites for Blacks and the Jim Crow policies that demeaned Blacks. I am glad that those are gone, too. But neither do I care for our present regime’s policies nor agree with its egalitarian assumptions. The definition of a “Liberal,” too, and its policy prescriptions, have changed drastically. There are many an old time Southern Liberal who would be “voted off the island” today: Hodding Carter, William Alexander Percy, etc. In many ways, today’s Liberal insanity on race is a reaction to Jim Crow insanity on race.



  10. There is, in my view, confusion between two words – equalitarian and equity – though.

    And how do we have a society – where all cultures, all people, have equity?

    That does not mean equal outcomes but it ought to mean equal opportunity.

    my opinion, obviously.

    • “And how do we have a society – where all cultures, all people, have equity?”

      By making sure that all cultures, all people have equal opportunity. At least with respect to what government can reasonably be able to ensure with regard to opportunity.

      We have to think in terms of equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcomes.

  11. Dear Don,

    But to hold to an egalitarian anthropology, that all groups are innately equal in ability, while results are unequal, necessarily raises the specter of groups being “kept down,” which then brings the question of government power and uplift programs. This is endemic, you will not be able to purge it. Only the realization of inequality between groups brings the realization that unequal outcomes IS equity, rather than its negation. And by the way, the professional psychologists agree with the inegalitarian premise, but they are disregarded for political reasons. Calling reality “racist”does not change reality.



  12. so maybe a simple question – does racism affect opportunity?

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