Yikes! Now Herring Confesses to Black Face!

Pandora’s box: Unleash the furies!

I’m guessing that some media outlet must have been hot on Attorney General Mark Herring’s trail, otherwise I can’t imagine any other reason for him to make this confession in a statement just released:

In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song. It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.

This was a onetime occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct. That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others. It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then.

If Democrats insist that Northam must resign, will they now insist that Herring must resign? It certainly disqualifies him from running for governor, does it not? Alternatively, now that it has been revealed that all three Democratic statewide office holders have (or may have) committed grievous sins against the PC canon, do the arbiters of political correctness suddenly decide that enough is enough, things have just gone too far? Let the drawing of hair-splittingly fine distinctions begin!

Personally, I find this revelation particularly sweet coming from a guy who launched his campaign based on a direct appeal to the growing hysteria about race, asserting that white-supremacist hate crimes are on the rise. That claim has no factual foundation in Virginia, as I have demonstrated.

Just a reminder of what Herring said about Northam on Feb. 2: “It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Fairfax and assured him that, should he ascend to the governorship, he will have my complete support and commitment to ensuring his success and the success of our Commonwealth.” Ouch!

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44 responses to “Yikes! Now Herring Confesses to Black Face!

  1. Turnabout is fair play.

  2. I wonder if this is going to spread to the elected folks in the GA?

    we’re gonna go back on the history of each and every one? How about new candidates for office? What happens if we find out MORE and MORE have sinned?

    I’m sure someone is HOT on Warner and Kaine now, right?

    😉

    ?w=960&ssl=1

    • They won’t find any of this on Warner or Kaine. They didn’t grow up in the elitist preppy world of RoVa. And yes … Leesburg was very much RoVa in 1979 – the date Herring graduated from high school. Today, suburban creep and the Greenway have transformed Leesburg to the point that it’s no longer a viable recruiting hub for the Modern Byrd Machine.

      Here’s my question for Herring – were there any black people at this rapper party you and your brilliant buddies attended in 1980? Or were you pretty much a “whites only” kind of guy?

  3. It’s like we are living in a SNL or Monty Python sketch as it unfolds around us….Somebody will break into The Lumberjack Song at any moment….

  4. And now the following from Twitter…This is just getting too rich.

    “NBC News has learned that Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax used profane language in a private meeting Monday night, while referring to his accuser, Dr. Vanessa Tyson….Two sources tells us Fairfax said of Tyson: “Fuck that bitch.”

    • What a shame. I assumed Fairfax was a scummy Virginia politician because I think most Virginia politicians are scummy. I have no idea whether he is sufficiently scummy to have done what he’s been accused of doing. That would certainly be beyond the pale for even a Virginia politician.

      However, I also thought Fairfax was smart. Given the state of politics in Virginia, reasonably scummy but smart gets a passing grade. However, now I know he’s not smart. Who, in their right mind, would make the statement he apparently made given his situation?

      I mean if he would have just called the matter another “bimbo eruption” that would be fine with the national Democratic Party.

  5. I started my journalism career at a tiny daily newspaper in Eastern North Carolina in the early 1970s. The paper had policies that put white obits on the front page and black obits on the back. Every Thursday they ran a column titled “Among the Colored” which carried news of potluck dinners for the ladies clubs of African-Americans.

    I went there after graduating from college in Boston in 1974. That summer, I covered the sensational Joan Little Case in which a young black woman escaped from the local jail and the jailer, a white guy, was found stabbed to death. It was international news. I actually broke the news that the jailer had been found naked from the waist down and had engaged in sexual activity. The source was my father, a local doctor. The medical examiner who looked at the body was very upset that the Sheriff’s Department was hiding evidence. My Dad told me. I had to wait until the publisher was out of town before I was able to sneak it into one of my stories about Little.
    This stuff really happened and it was in the 1970s.

    • Yeah, but you’d read Harper Lee and knew, good as you were, your book wouldn’t beat that one! (Still might retell the story, though…)

    • Northam and Herring grew up in Virginia in the 1970s. Virginia was defending its ban on interracial marriage in 1967 (Loving). Massive resistance didn’t really end until 1968 (Green v. County School Board of New Kent County). Virginia’s Jim Crowe 1902 constitution wasn’t replaced until 1971. The last eugenic-based sterilization in Virginia happened in 1979. The final court case ending segregation in Richmond area schools was decided in 1986. The debate over the Arthur Ashe statue occurred in 1995. The Marshall-Newman Amendment was passed in 2006.

      The old Jim Crowe Byrd Machine is alive and well in the hearts and minds of many wealthy, white, preppy, middle aged Virginians.

      My question to Northam and Herring isn’t “Did you do it” but “What other miscreant deeds should we know about?”

  6. Having called for Northam’s departure (probably something Herring had to do politically), Herring needs to be tossed in the lion’s den as well.

  7. I’m ready to dump them all… but I expect to judge all challengers with the same standards.

  8. Or we could all admit, this silly standard of no sin is forgiven isn’t going to work and we all might have something bad we’ve done long ago, so its who we are and what we do today, our more recent record….to borrow a phrase, the content of our character….which matters. Northam is not and apparently was not a racist, Herring is not a racist, not on the basis of that alone. The Outrage Brigade needs to give it up until they find a real problem.

    Wait, this could make Kirk Cox Governor! Suddenly I’m fired up with outrage.

    Its all hyperbole and BS people, trust me. With the door closed and nobody looking, these people laugh at the rubes they manipulate. It’s a game face. A show. They would say to Ralph, sorry guy, let’s have a beer someday, but right now I’ve got to dump on you. Just business, not personal….I’m sorry, this is just freaking hilarious. Calling Michael Palin, Calling John Cleese…

    • “Northam is not and apparently was not a racist, Herring is not a racist, not on the basis of that alone.”

      Yes, that statement is likely true. But both Northam and Herring are chronic long term RACE BAITERS. And they have gone about, and still go about their RACE BAITING, as high ranking state politicians, intent smearing their competitors for office so as to gain private advantage for themselves, despite the fact that their acts tear up the social fabric of our nation, turning citizen against citizen. For this, they should tossed out of political office forthwith, never to return or be heard from again. No more Charlottesvilles! No more racist truck videos!

    • Precisely! Line up all those who’ve condemned Northam — our US Senators and past Governors among them — and ask if they are ready to withstand the same degree of hindsight scrutiny of their own youthful pasts, of their private conversations with people who knew them back when, of things that merely happened at their high schools and colleges, their fraternities and extracurricular societies, while they were there — all fertile ground for guilt by association?

      We punish a criminal pursuant a legislative definition of the crime and a due process determination of guilt and a jury of peers to convict. There is no crime here but an immature error of judgment; no process here but the mob; the intent here is not to punish but to intimidate others, to compel hindsight application of today’s prejudices to yesterday’s society. What we have here, therefore, is not a judgment but a lynching. No lynching is defensible — not when race or sex is the subject, not when the consequence is political rather than physical death.

      As for race-baiting — yes, there’s a temptation to hold those who stoop to such tactics to the same hindsight consequences. But wait! In the Corey Stewart era the dog whistles have come from both sides. My fear, RF, is that if a politician’s recent stooping to playing the race card, let alone dog whistling, were to become new grounds for hindsight political disqualification, there would be few politicians left standing (I daresay fewer among the RPV than across the aisle). Moreover, in this polarized era, where the “Trump base” lives within its isolating silo of Fox News pundits and radio commentators, while the Democrats live in an MSM-biased “fake news” world, one side’s definition of “dog whistle” may seem to be a mere “appeal to common sense” from across the divide.

      No, as others have observed the lesson should be, don’t throw stones in glass houses. Or, “the Outrage Brigade needs to give it up until they find a real problem.”

      • Acbar, as to your first two paragraphs you and I agree totally. And I have never suggested otherwise, on any of these guys.

        With regard to race baiting, you and I greatly disagree. The harm done by the officials handling Charlottesville and the racists ads are beyond calculation and morally abhorrent, particularly so by high officials. Whether crimes or morally abhorrent they should not be tolerated by our society. The fact you can’t put them in jail, doesn’t mean you don’t refuse to support them, vote for them, or condemn them in the strongest terms, or do or say whatever is legal to get them out of office. I say that knowing that far too many politicians of both parties engage is these horribly destructive activities, and have done so, from the beginning of the Republic. The recently deceased George H. W. Bush engaged in this activity to win. We must call everyone on it, or we will end up destroying ourselves, given the tools of modern technology now in our hands. Translated, clean up our cesspool culture by taking stands against those despoiling it. And, by the way, what happened at Charlottesville was far far worse than any over the top Rhetoric. And were those disgusting race baiting slur truck videos.

      • We agree on what ought to be the reaction to race baiting in modern political life. My caution is simply to point out that we’d eliminate a plurality of our governing class if condemned vigorously by everyone starting tomorrow. It’s totally wrong, and it’s too damned commonplace, and it’s near impossible to obtain agreement as to who is engaging in it anyway — too much in the eye of the beholder. But enough people win with that tactic that I can’t say it’s never effective. If I refused to vote for anyone tainted by it I wouldn’t be casting a vote in many races. Undoubtedly you and I agree that many of the choices offered by the mainstream parties these days are a choice between bad and less bad.

  9. “It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then.”

    My translation – I did something stupid that I knew was stupid when I did it.

    He was 19 not 9.

    Not sure why he ought to get away scot free.

    How about a hockey like penalty box….

    1. Herring self-reported so he gets a minor misconduct. Resign and sit out of politics for two years then come back on the ice.

    2. Northam had to get caught then apparently lied. That’s a major. Resign and five years out of politics.

    3. Fairfax (assuming some further level of verification) gets a lifetime suspension.

    Now, will somebody please ask Gillespie, Obenshain and Vogel if they ever …

    Dressed in blackface
    Wore KKK robes
    Shouted “Zieg Heil” at a college basketball game
    Joined the Idi Amin fan club
    Etc

  10. Dear Jim,

    Virginia politics are increasingly looking like Monty Python’s “Upper Class Twit of the Year” sketch! Pathetic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX0xi9tpBRI

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

    • Excellent choice.

    • Andrew – Thank for https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX0xi9tpBRI

      It made my day. And was so spot on. The British know Va. politics better than Virginians. Guess it is the classic case of the fish being ignorant of water. The thing is that when you are operating way outside of civilized rules, when things begin to go wrong, they go horrible wrong, to point of chaos, and then oft times collapse. That is what is happening here. We just cannot to go on the way we have been going on now for decades, the margins for error have grown to thin and brittle in Virginia, just like Monty Python’s “Upper Class Twit of the Year” sketch teaches us.

  11. Maybe, just maybe, this will be a turning point of PC gone haywire. A few too many Jimmy Swaggart moments. Being the first to cry out Mea Culpa my lord might not be the right way to right a PC wrong.

    Anybody read Jeff Shapiro’s column this morning in the RTD? Seems odd that bono fide racists from the 20th century flipped and became true progressives and righted some real wrongs in the world. Yet, now people of arguably good character are getting hung out to dry for childhood indiscretions.

    Wouldn’t it be rich for a Republican governor Cox to capture the top job after this political fiasco.

  12. You know what’s really funny?

    All those folks who were mouthing phrases like “post racial”

    or that Charlottesville was a made-up PC issue

    I can assure folks that blacks folks have for a long, long time, put up with white folks who think there is not a racial divide.

    The irony here is that some folks are openly racist – and as such , not hypocritical… others have “sinned” years ago in the white culture of Virginia but since that time have overcome their racism and accepted the premise that we really are all equal… but others who never accepted that never had “that” … “problem”.. they still believe there is a difference – and always have.

    so the folks who actually moved from prior racist beliefs to non-racist beliefs are the “guilty” ones.. the “hypocrites” and the die-hard racists are the ones with virtue… victims of PC?

  13. Well the good news is, following an off week, I believe SNL is live again this Saturday night.

  14. Still trying to make some chicken salad out of this, Larry? Your stuck with pure chicken %$#*. How about we look at it this way. Belonging to the Klan or to the Nazi party, modern or historical, is per se racism. They have zero virtue, earn no respect, and those who lie down with them (Corey Stewart) share the guilt by association. Believing that black children are academically behind (or Asians ahead) due to genetics is racism, per se. Refusing to be treated by a black or Hindu medical professional, that’s racism. Trump’s screaming about Mexican immigrants – racism! Far too many recent police shootings seem to indicate that too many officers jump to conclusions based on skin color – racism.

    Having told a joke, worn a tasteless costume, sat through a minstrel show without stomping out, laughed with everybody else (white and black) at Blazing Saddles or Silver Streak (Gene Wilder in blackface) – that doesn’t make you racist. You and the rest of the Professional Brigade of Outrage need to get a little perspective, a sense of humor, and focus on the real problems. Are things perfect now? No, but I spent much of my childhood in the Virginia of the 1960s and 1970s and now is not then, no where near.

    • I agree with that too, Steve. I agree with it even through I spent a majority of my time growing up in Virginia, and going to schools there, including graduation from a high school in a small Virginia town, and from UVa. and during all that time, I never once witnessed any of this KKK stuff, or anything remotely close to it.

      • Nor did I witness any of this stuff either. Anybody appearing at a party in blackface or a Klan outfit at my high school would have gotten their asses kicked by the black kids at the party (helped by some of the white kids). I guess there weren’t any black people around Herring and Northam back in the day.

    • I never saw it either. But, then, I was a nerd who hanged out with other nerds. We didn’t drink or party. A lot of this behavior was associated with drinking and frat parties.

      • I was in one of the two integrated fraternities at UVA in the late 1970s / early 1980s. Yeah, and we partied a bit. None of the brothers would have worn a Klan outfit. I suppose a visitor to one of our open parties might have made it a few feet into the house in a Klan outfit before the nearest brother told him to “get the f*** out before you get killed.”

        The idea that people walking around at parties in Klan outfits in the late 1970s and early 1980s was normal is bullshit. It would have taken a special kind of a-hole to party with people in Klan suits.

        Of course, I’m from “fake Virginia” where Klan outfits are not considered humorous and haven’t been considered humorous for a long, long time.

  15. Just read the statement from Prof. Vanessa Tyson. Wow. A graphic statement doesn’t make the statement true but what she wrote is shocking. So shocking that I looked up the statute of limitations for rape in Massachusetts. It’s 15 years. The alleged incident happened 14 1/2 years ago. Young Mr. Fairfax better hope to hell there isn’t a pile of corroborating evidence on the way. As a former prosecutor he knows that you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. It can’t be much harder to indict a Lieutenant Governor. Think there might be some aggressive young prosecutors up in Boston just waiting to make a name for themselves?

    What would help Fairfax’s cause would be even a whisper of a reason why Vanessa Tyson would make this up. She’s a politically active Stanford fellow who worked on Democratic campaigns in the past. Where’s the motive for a smear?

  16. I have commented in an earlier article on this issue that I believe this practice of destroying the lives and careers of men and women for actions 10, 20, 30 years or more in their past is morally and practically wrong.

    But I think Reed’s response above is also absolutely on point. Those who build their careers on or otherwise instigate this behavior should be put permanently in Rippert’s penalty box, whether or not they have such transgressions in their past.

    • I said Northam and Herring don’t appear to be racists, not on this evidence. Like too many politicians they are hypocrites, especially Herring (Northam if the photo is genuine), and it is delightful to see them hanging by their own petards…..we will await their statements of apology to Gillespie, et. al. I’m sure it will be right after the one to Brett Kavanaugh.

    • The blackface is bad but the Klan outfit is horrific. Who would want to party with people wearing Klan outfits? As for the blackface at the apparently ubiquitous “imitate black singers in blackface” parties … how could you be sure there wouldn’t be any black people at the party? Were Northam and Herring’s social circles so segregated that there was no chance that an African-American might be present? Or did they just not care who they insulted?

      I agree that the specific incident of wearing blackface shouldn’t get them thrown out of office. However, I wonder about the white washed life they must have been leading. I also agree that if you live by the sword you probably will dies by the sword.

      I will admit to wearing a pregnant nun costume to a Halloween Party once. Fortunately, I could fall back on the fact that I’m Catholic I guess.

  17. The recent (last ten years or so) use of the term racist was designed by the Left and their allies in the MSM to get rid of conservatives and to eliminate them from the public debate. Disagree with open borders-you are a racist. Oppose massive increases in social spending-you are a racist. Support zoning laws-you are a racist. Oppose giving educrats total control over college admissions-you are racist. Wear a sombrero to a Cinco de Mayo party without 80% Hispanic DNA-you are a racist. How come it’s not cultural appropriation for non-Celts to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

    So having established a standard that’s simply wrong and impossible to satisfy, the Left has to sacrifice some of its own when facts expose them having done things that the Left has defined as racism (or sexism). Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to Bill Clinton.

    Northam should be judged on what he has done in his life. But, as DJR says, live by the sword, die by the sword. And Virginia Democrats have been living by the sword.

    But sooner or later,

  18. This could all be funny except that it isn’t funny. As an audience we’re going to have to start doing the harder work of searching for facts and truth rather than settling for the far easier, reflexive, binary responses. When the #metoo dynamic devolved to a mere allegation derailing lives, you knew we were headed toward this. If Fairfax is being falsely accused, why wouldn’t he spew an insult back at the false accuser behind close doors? Non-story.

    This scrutiny of anything/everything decades ago in the hope of racist smear is dangerous and divisive. What if I’m born into a family of card-carrying KKK and our family portrait is unearthed when I run for office? When may I be stamped “Rehabilitated?” Am I forever cast as racist without question? At what age and through what acts might I convince others that I have never been racist, never shared those beliefs of family? For now, it looks impossible, as if you’d never get off the stink of your family.

    Facebook friend posted that he couldn’t recall anyone donning black face at any UVA events in the early 80s, to which I responded, neither could I. Sorority sister pointed out that this happened at every Bahamas party we hosted or attended. A naive Yankee raised in an integrated neighborhood I thought those guests were alluding to a tropical tan. I thought black face had disappeared in the early 20th c. But if I want to run for office, I best gather up some of those old photos and view them as a risk. I once got 3 male Darden students to dress up with me for Halloween as The Gang of Four (I as Mao Zedong’s widow), which had nothing to do with racism, had everything to do with what I was studying and political commentary. But “risk on” if I run.

    So much energy put into the media discussion and none of it offering any material advancement for racial unity.

    • Good points. We need to figure out how to advance racial unity and stop this mess.

    • Thanks for a measured dose of sanity, here.

      If we go back earlier than the ’80s, it’s not hard to find examples of that different era. Once upon a late ’50s time I went to a summer camp where the season finale was a “minstrel show” consisting of early 20th century vaudeville classics and home-grown lame skits and jokes, with a wonderful honky-tonk piano played by a local townsman in his 80s who had once played these same songs in the old theaters: bye bye blackbird, look for the silver lining, Alexander’s ragtime band, and so on. I was maybe 12 to 14 in those years; it was exposure to a form of entertainment both culturally historic and mysterious, something that made the format of WRVA’s grand ole oprey a little less alien. Black-face seemed just part of the show, like the costumes and other make-up. Somehow other theatrics was substituted after I was gone, probably due to the Camp’s growing integration; but I never felt conscious of vaudeville’s racial stereotyping, just of one more tradition from the past that had about run its course leaving me glad I’d learned the old songs before they were gone.

      So now: for this some would disqualify me for elected office. Not that I’m running.

      • Yes, most of this is crazy, one result of our lightening quick information age, and our lack of a decent educational system, including our near total destruction of the humanities, that teach human nature in all its ironic complexities under pressure. Recall Shakespeare’s Brutus from Julius Caesar. What those short passage teach about human nature in real life. Now all kids learn is grievance, oppression, and victim hood in the most abstract, ideological, tribal and puritan terms.

        Also the Lt. Gov. Fairfax case would reach a terrible result without far stronger evidence. Without that, the accuser has a license to ruin anyone’s reputation and future where in effect the accused cannot defend his or herself.

  19. Goochland Education Foundation: You’re on to something!

  20. How ironic to see our governor fighting to survive full term.

    — from “the internet”

    • Yes, but “our governor”, the pediatric physician, is not having his life ripped out of his body within moments or minutes of its escaping its womb.

  21. At the moment, a hypothetical 7-year term for a possible replacement governor is not looking like a real solid bet.

  22. I suppose it’s entirely possible that if Northam does not resign – all the Dems who wanted him to , can just now say: ” Oh well, we tried …let’s move on”.

    😉

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