Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, right, admits he wore blackface as a 19-year-old college student. Herring is the 2nd Democratic lawmaker from Virginia to become entangled in racist scandals.
Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, left, still vehemently denies being one of two men wearing blackface and a KKK hood in a B&W photo in a college yearbook.
Northam initially apologized for wearing blackface when the photo surfaced, but he later claimed he meant he wore blackface as Michael Jackson at a Halloween party after he graduated from college. He denies wearing blackface in the yearbook photo – even though the photo is among 5 photos he placed on his personal yearbook page.
Calls for Northam to resign continue to mount, as another Democratic lawmaker reveals his racist past.
On Wednesday, Virginia AG Mark Herring released a statement admitting he wore blackface to a party in college.
“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,” Herring said in a statement. “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.”
Herring said it was a “onetime occurrence” which he now regrets.
“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,” Herring said. “It was really a minimization of both people of color , and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then,” he added.
Even though no photos of Herring wearing blackface have surfaced, Herring suggested such a photo might surface one day.
The Democratic Party was once known as the party of the Ku Klux Klan. The Republican Party was formed in Wisconsin to prevent the Democrats from expanding slavery into the midwest.
In the 1800s Virginia was a bustling port for the slavery trade. It was in Virginia where the Underground Railroad was formed to free nearly 1,000 slaves in the South.
Small pockets of racism still exist in Virginia.
Photos by Alex Edelman/Getty Images, Zach Gibson/Getty Images