Governor of Virginia and former officer in the US Army Medical Corps Ralph Northam has been facing severe criticism from the past couple of months due to a racist photo published on the page of his 1984 medical school yearbook.
The photo, which consisted of two people one wearing a blackface and the other a Ku Klux Klan garb, raised a lot of controversy for the Democratic Governor with its appearance. The Governor changed his statement many times regarding the issue, while first agreeing to it and then denying being a part of the derogatory photo.
The investigation was carried out by the Eastern Virginia Medical School and the partners of McGuireWoods Law firm, Richard Cullen, Benjamin Hatch and George Martin. But, it seems that even after an independent investigation headed by Cullen, Ralph Northam is still in a limbo. The investigation “could not conclusively determine”, if Northam was one of the two persons in the photo.
However, they have noticed that Northam has delivered “inconsistent public statements” on his participation of the photo on various occasions.
The investigation was pursued to find if Ralph Northam really wore the blackface in the controversial photograph to put an end to never ending speculations, blames and calls for resignation.
The investigation has led to the conclusion standing in a sea of probability, neither relieving the Democratic Governor of the accusations nor convicting him. This limbo has not removed him from target of people asking for resignations or accusing him of being a racist.
Since Northam was dragged into a scandal, he has continuously changed his statements with first being admitting to wearing a blackface, followed by denying even being in the photograph.
Later, Ralph Northam admitted of wearing a blackface impersonating Michael Jackson, when he posed as a dancer in a dance contest. He even had to cancel the appearance at fundraising event of Sen. David Marsden.
Since the controversy and the Republicans asking for his resignation, which he denied, he has turned his attention towards the colored community as he annulled two bills focusing on mandatory minimum sentences.
The investigators expressed their opinion on the controversy and said, “No individual that we interviewed has told us from personal knowledge that the governor is in the photograph, and no individual with knowledge has come forward to us to report that the governor is in the photograph.”
Following the investigation, Ralph Northam said, “I am not in the racist and offensive photo that appears under my name in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. I felt it was important to take accountability for the photo’s presence on my page, but rather than providing clarity, I instead deepened pain and confusion.”
An inconclusive investigation might not have ended the controversy successfully – but, the continuous work of the Governor Ralph Northam to improve the conditions of colored community might elevate him from the controversies to good eyes of the people of the state.