Ibram X. Kendi: A Reading List for Ralph Northam

Historians in the News
tags: racism, books, Blackface, White Supremacy, Ralph Northam, syllabus, antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is the Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.

In the years before he became Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam apparently chose not to read books in which blackface was present. “I used just a little bit of shoe polish to put under my—or on my—cheeks,” he said about the day he impersonated Michael Jackson in blackface. “I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”

Now, as governor, Northam is choosing not to heed calls for his resignation. He is denying he’s pictured on his medical-school yearbook page in blackface or in a Ku Klux Klan outfit above the notation of his alma mater, his interests in pediatrics, and his quote advocating having “another beer.”

Is Northam, then and now, two sides of the same blackfaced white man affronting African Americans? He wants to be seen another way.

“Now that he knows better, he is going to do better,” a Northam adviser told BuzzFeed.

Read entire article at The Atlantic

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