Virginia Attorney General says he dressed in blackface to portray rapper Kurtis Blow in college

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

If the last few months have taught us anything, we’ve learned that white folks have an affection for wearing blackface.

Enter the latest blackface scandal involving politicians in Virginia.

The state’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, who is second in line to succeed current governor Ralph Northam who’s embroiled in his own blackface yearbook scandaladmitted today that he dressed like rapper Kurtis Blow with a wig and blackface while in college.

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Herring released this statement in response to the controversial confession, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

“The very bright light that is shining on Virginia right now is sparking a painful but, I think we all hope, important conversation. The stakes are high, and our spirits are low.

“I am sure we all have done things at one time or another in our lives that show poor judgment, and worse yet, have caused some level of pain to others. I have a glaring example from my past that I have thought about with deep regret in the many years since, and certainly each time I took a step forward in public service, realizing that my goals and this memory could someday collide and cause pain for people I care about, those who stood with me in the many years since, or those who I hoped to serve while in office.

“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.

“Although the shame of that moment has haunted me for decades, and though my disclosure of it now pains me immensely, what I am feeling in no way compares to the betrayal, the shock, and the deep pain that Virginians of color may be feeling. Where they have deserved to feel heard, respected, understood, and honestly represented, I fear my actions have contributed to them being forced to revisit and feel a historical pain that has never been allowed to become history.

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“This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since.

“As a senator and as attorney general, I have felt an obligation to not just acknowledge but work affirmatively to address the racial inequities and systemic racism that we know exist in our criminal justice system, in our election processes, and in other institutions of power. I have long supported efforts to empower communities of color by fighting for access to healthcare, making it easier and simpler to vote, and twice defended the historic re-enfranchisement of former felons before the Supreme Court of Virginia. I have launched efforts to make our criminal justice system more just, fair, and equal by addressing implicit bias in law enforcement, establishing Virginia’s first-ever program to improve re-entry programs in local jails, and pushing efforts to reform the use of cash bail. And I have tried to combat the rise in hate crimes and white supremacist violence that is plaguing our Commonwealth and our country.

“That I have contributed to the pain Virginians have felt this week is the greatest shame I have ever felt. Forgiveness in instances like these is a complicated process, one that necessarily cannot and should not be decided by anyone but those directly affected by the transgressor, should forgiveness be possible or appropriate at all. In the days ahead, honest conversations and discussions will make it clear whether I can or should continue to serve as attorney general, but no matter where we go from here, I will say that from the bottom of my heart, I am deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation.”

Herring’s confession seemed to have come out of nowhere, but it was just a matter of time before Herring’s racist costume fiasco surfaced.

As for Northam, he is still resisting calls for his resignation from his own party after a bizarre weekend in which he first admitted he was in the picture where one man wore Blackface and another wore KKK garb, and then he denied it was him.

And Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, who many in the party were pushing to replace Northam, is also facing some tough questions after the same conservative web site that outed his boss published material accusing him of sexual assault. Fairfax strongly denied the allegations Monday.

According to USA Today sources, the woman accusing Fairfax has retained Washington law firm Katz Marshall & Banks. Once of the firm’s founding partners, Debra Katz, represented Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting when they were teenagers. He denied the allegation and was eventually confirmed to the court.

Just throw the whole administration away.