Forge’s Opinion on Governor Northam


Anne Johnakin, Editor

Recently, Governor Ralph Northam has come under fire after his 1984 yearbook surfaced with a racist image on his personal page. Virginia Democrats have revoked their support for him and many people are calling for his resignation, resulting in protests in Richmond.

During his press conference, Northam said he is neither of the people in the image and denied he knew about the image. He has admitted that in the past he has done blackface.

Now, Northam has embarked upon an apology tour across Virginia, although he cancelled the first stop, which was scheduled to take place at an Historically Black College/University.

A poll of Virginia voters done by Quinnipiac University showed that 48% of people think he should remain in office, while 42% think he should resign.

We conducted a poll of 40 Colonial Forge students on whether they thought Northam should resign with 37.5% saying no, 35% yes, and 27.5% maybe.

One individual’s reasoning for choosing “yes” was “[Northam] made a decision to either participate in black face or appear in a KKK hood. He was an adult in medical school. There is no way he would not know how wrong that is. Also, even if he did not appear in any of the pictures, he chose to have the picture on his page as a representation of himself.”

Meanwhile, students who responded “no” believed that he has changed since then and that he is no longer racist.

Everyone makes mistakes. People change, and individuals should be able to apologize and move forward from past mistakes or wrongdoings,” one student said.

One reasoning for choosing maybe was, “What he did was wrong, and he should absolutely take responsibility for his actions—but I don’t think he needs to resign necessarily. If he truly has changed and if he wants to spread a better message, I see no reason for this one event to ruin the rest of his career when there are plenty of other people far more deserving of such a punishment.”

Since the allegations surfaced, Northam has said that he will spend the rest of his term fighting for  racial equity. We asked students how he should go about this, if he is to remain in office.

One student said “He should rather than blaming upper class citizens, should focus most of his efforts on providing proper education and communities for the lower class which sadly in Virginia are predominantly comprised of mostly minorities.”

While another said, “I know next to nothing about politics or legislation, but if he truly wants to gain more equality, he should use his mistakes as an example. Doing this will show that he, one, has changed his ways; two, has taken responsibility for his past actions; and three, is trying to use his faults to make a better country.”