Let me try this again. My name is Ralph Northam, I am the Democratic Governor of Virginia, my wife dims the shine of my star by forbidding me to moonwalk in public, and after a series of conversations with family, friends, and about six to eight members of the African-American community, I have decided that I am delighted by the progress of my blackface scandal.
Growing up white and male, it’s been hard to find opportunities to learn from my mistakes. It hasn’t been hard to make mistakes, but it’s hard for a white man like me to learn without intense public pressure.
For instance, remember when I didn’t stick by my suggestion to move Confederate monuments from public property to museums following the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville? That’s because there wasn’t enough public pressure for me to see through the society that has forever swept me up, shoved me forward, and never slowed down long enough for me to reflect on my own.
So you see my plight. All my life, the ease of upward mobility has dragged me down. Finally, I am learning that my success has been buoyed by what all six to eight of my new black friends call ‘white privilege’.
This has been devastating to learn. For many nights, I have tossed and turned in my sleep, unable to escape the nightmare of a glowing, beautiful woman named Virginia taking me in her loving arms and carrying me wherever I wish to go. At first, the simplicity feels good, it feels warm and right, but then Virginia dresses herself in blackface and no longer do I feel good about us being nude together in a hot tub.
In order to defeat the great white demon of my life, I have decided to focus the remainder of my term on achieving racial equity, which never would have happened without my blackface scandal. Without the scandal, I never would have realized my mistake, I never would have been pressured to consider the ramifications of my actions, and I never would have decided to lead Virginia down the just and necessary path toward racial equity. Thus, my blackface scandal may very well be the best thing to ever happen not only to me, but to everyone who has ever dreamed of racial equity in Virginia.
That said, achieving my optimistic outlook has been no easy feat. This past week has been hard. It’s been the hardest week of my life. It’s been hard on the rest of Virginia, too, and probably difficult on black people nationwide, but consider that, unlike me, most people were already aware of ‘white privilege’ and didn’t have to spend all week learning about it in addition to coping with the kind of intense emotional stress that they had once believed could only be provoked by sweating out the results of a Michael Jackson themed dance contest.
In order to grow from this scandal, I’ve done a lot of reading. After 59 years of life, my eyes have been opened to the wide world of African-American literature. In just the past week, I’ve read The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates – yes, the whole thing! – and the first three chapters of Roots by Alex Haley. Next, I plan on watching Black Panther, or at least the trailer, as achieving racial equity has made me a busy, busy man.
In addition to my reading, I’ve met with six to eight African-American legislators and community leaders. Sorry, I should clarify. I say six to eight not to be rude, but because it’s been hard to keep count. Never before have I met so many black people in my life!
Without these meetings, I never would have learned about our country’s history of minstrel shows or have meaningfully contemplated that after spending a day in blackface, I can remove my makeup and go back to being white, while black people always have to be black. Those are just two of the many incredible revelations that, because of my ‘white privilege’, I was never able to come to on my own.
As for anyone who still cannot find it in their hearts to forgive me, aren’t you at least relieved that this isn’t another sex scandal? Me too! You’re welcome for adding variation to your lives.
Wait, my wife is telling me that joke was in poor taste. Please allow me to moonwalk it back.
In all seriousness, I am sorry for having donned blackface in my younger but still clearly adult days, but I am more sorry for having taken so long to grow from what was a necessary mistake in order for me to become the governor that Virginia needs.
The fact that this scandal happened in 2019, the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves being sold in Virginia, has got to mean something. Of course, it might simply mean that America has a terrible and racist past, for which there is an anniversary worth marking at least 28 days per year (occasionally 29), but I’d rather see it as a sign that there’s a reason for all of this. There’s a reason I was elected governor of Virginia. There’s a reason I dressed up in blackface and that my mistake was uncovered now.
Thanks to the intense public pressure that only this scandal could have produced, I have grown, I am stronger, and racial equity is finally on the agenda in Virginia.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to the day when we can all benefit from our ignorant, insensitive scandals.