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Should someone be held accountable for racist remarks made 40 years ago? (1 Viewer)

Otis

Footballguy
I think racism especially today is totally despicable. Every now and then they dig into someone’s past to something stupid they said or did when they were young and grill them for it. 

This one feels like an extreme—they’ve gone back to a photo a guy posted almost 40 years ago and are nailing him for it. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/virginia-politics/va-gov-northams-medical-school-yearbook-page-shows-men-in-blackface-kkk-robe/2019/02/01/517a43ee-265f-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html

There’s no statute of limitations on being a crappy person, but man does this seem like it must be a lifetime ago for this guy. On an issue like race relations which has come so dramatically far in the past 50 years, is it fair to destroy a guy’s career over something like this?

What if it’s a guy who expressed racist remarks in the 50s?  Does he get punished the same way?

I don’t have a strong view.  Racism is despicable, but I wonder how long ago is too long ago. 

 
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GoBirds

Footballguy
With this example you have to take into account he didn’t just make a remark but chose this picture out of all pictures to be one of the 3 on his yearbook page? 

 

Chemical X

Chat MVP
I think racism especially today is totally despicable. Every now and then they dig into someone’s past to something stupid they said or did when they were young and grill them for it. 

This one feels like an extreme—they’ve gone back to a photo a guy posted almost 40 years ago and are nailing him for it. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/virginia-politics/va-gov-northams-medical-school-yearbook-page-shows-men-in-blackface-kkk-robe/2019/02/01/517a43ee-265f-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html

There’s no statute of limitations on being a crappy person, but man does this seem like it must be a lifetime ago for this guy. On an issue like race relations which has come so dramatically far in the past 50 years, is it fair to destroy a guy’s career over something like this?

What if it’s a guy who expressed racist remarks in the 50s?  Does he get punished the same way?

I don’t have a strong view.  Racism is despicable, but I wonder how long ago is too long ago. 
i believe you mean statue of limitations.

 

Otis

Footballguy
Yeah, this is more than a remark. And he was 25. 
I get that it’s a photo. And 25 is adult. But lots of 25 year olds are also childish no?  And when people are 50 or 60, I can’t imagine they agree with everything they did or said at 25?

 

ChiefD

Footballguy
Personally, I believe that racism isn’t something you turn on and off. My father was a racist. My grandfather was a racist. Many people around me are racist. When I was a teenager I said racist things. I know because of the environment and area where I was raised racism is in me. I cannot avoid or pretend to think it doesn’t exist. I know still to this day I have awareness and sensitivities to situations that involve people of color.

My job as a man and as a father is that those things die with me. I haven’t said a racist word in 30 years. I have NEVER said anything even close to racist around my children. I have never talked about differences in people based on color of skin when around my kids. The first time we ever talked about black people was when they came home from school after some lessons about Martin Luther King.

My kids are not racist, and they certainly won’t learn it from me.  

So message board.....punish me if you must because of those words above. But know that I believe that the only way racism dies in this country is when all of us old people with racist backgrounds never allows it to pass to another generation. I am doing my part.

 

Otis

Footballguy
 When I was a teenager I said racist things. I know because of the environment and area where I was raised racism is in me. I cannot avoid or pretend to think it doesn’t exist. I know still to this day I have awareness and sensitivities to situations that involve people of color.
Do you think it would be fair for you to be persecuted for what you said as a teenager?

 

ShamrockPride

Footballguy
Depends if said person has shown a continued pattern of questionable behavior/expression over said time frame. If it's a recurring theme, then obviously there's a significant problem. Otherwise, I'd like to try to give people the benefit, and assume they have matured in their views.

 

Chemical X

Chat MVP
I get that it’s a photo. And 25 is adult. But lots of 25 year olds are also childish no?  And when people are 50 or 60, I can’t imagine they agree with everything they did or said at 25?
i hear this a lot.  i was probably as big of a dope as anyone growing up, but i never seemed to think doing anything racist was remotely funny.  i think that aspect comes from a certain upbringing,

 

EYLive

Footballguy
Calling for the resignation from someone that apologized and regrets their actions is stupid. If you think someone can't change and mature over 35 years, then you're stupid.

 

EYLive

Footballguy
Personally, I believe that racism isn’t something you turn on and off. My father was a racist. My grandfather was a racist. Many people around me are racist. When I was a teenager I said racist things. I know because of the environment and area where I was raised racism is in me. I cannot avoid or pretend to think it doesn’t exist. I know still to this day I have awareness and sensitivities to situations that involve people of color.

My job as a man and as a father is that those things die with me. I haven’t said a racist word in 30 years. I have NEVER said anything even close to racist around my children. I have never talked about differences in people based on color of skin when around my kids. The first time we ever talked about black people was when they came home from school after some lessons about Martin Luther King.

My kids are not racist, and they certainly won’t learn it from me.  

So message board.....punish me if you must because of those words above. But know that I believe that the only way racism dies in this country is when all of us old people with racist backgrounds never allows it to pass to another generation. I am doing my part.
But if racists procreate and pass on the racism faster than non-racists, we're doomed. 

 

Otis

Footballguy
Losing a high profile public servant job isn’t being persecuted GB.
Srsly?  One might argue it’s more persecuted.  Your missteps from nearly 40 years ago are being aired on international television?

 
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IvanKaramazov

Footballguy
The guy did something stupid (and obviously racist) during a different era in a part of the country where people did stupid and racist things at the time.  He apologized and I have no reason to disbelieve that he really is a different person now.  That's good enough for me.

Edit: I'm a pro-lifer and I understand that I have good reasons to want this guy out of office.  But I agree with Otis that there should be a statue (TM) of limitations on stupid and racist behavior.  

 
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Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
This was 1984. He was a college graduate and in Medical School. 

It's not like this was 1954. This was not "a different time".

I was college at Texas A&M in 1984. I imagine it's not that far off from VMI. There was an incident where some dudes dressed up like KKK and chased some guys in black face at a Halloween drunk prank on the Northside strip. People were PISSED. They knew it was WAY wrong. Even for a drunk stupid prank.

 How he could think that was cool to PRINT in a year book is stunning. 

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
This was 1984. He was a college graduate and in Medical School. 

It's not like this was 1954. This was not "a different time".

I was college at Texas A&M in 1984. I imagine it's not that far off from VMI. There was an incident where some dudes dressed up like KKK and chased some guys in black face at a Halloween drunk prank on the Northside strip. People were PISSED. They knew it was WAY wrong. Even for a drunk stupid prank.

 How he could think that was cool to PRINT in a year book is stunning. 
Exactly. I think the discussion of how we hold people from the past responsible for their beliefs is interesting but a college student from the 80s isn't the place to start. If he comes forward, apologizes and establishes a record that shows he is not that person anymore-than I would take a fresh look. I am open to people changing but they need to walk the walk, not just spit that after the fact talk. 

 
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Statorama

gangster
The irony is that in order to win his election, he painted his opponent Ed Gillespie as a racist.

So does this mean that Northam's favorite movie is Partial Birth of a Nation?

 

Han Solo

Footballguy
Otis said:
What if it’s a guy who expressed racist remarks in the 50s?  Does he get punished the same way?

I don’t have a strong view.  Racism is despicable, but I wonder how long ago is too long ago. 
Well if it happened in the 50’s ...let’s say 1959....this person is probably around 80 years old...if we are talking 70’s, 80’s, 90’s until now then yes. Answer for it and move on....it wasn’t right then and isn’t right now. End of story. I would lose my job if a camera was on me and my television with what I say... the difference is I am comfortable enough to keep my opinion to myself....

 

Moonlight

Footballguy
People can change based on life experiences. Exposure to other cultures and other ways of thinking whether through education or first hand experiences can lead to reevaluating your beliefs.

Best to judge a person on their actions. So  what have his actions been since the yearbook? Did he promote civil rights and tolerance in his personal and public life since then?

That said he's put himself into a deep hole to begin with and the burden is on him to provide a detailed explanation regarding the photo and substantial information  satisfactory to rebut the presumption that he is racist.

 

Otis

Footballguy
This was 1984. He was a college graduate and in Medical School. 

It's not like this was 1954. This was not "a different time".
I bet for a lot of people 1984 was in fact really a different time. If you look at racial and gender diversity in the workplace, equal pay, etc, we have come light years even since then, no?

It seems we all agree that around 1960 was a different time, but some are saying that around 1980 was not?  Why is that?  And where in that continuum is the difference between ok and not ok?

 

James Daulton

Footballguy
I was around in the mid-80's and if someone came to a costume party in black face and the KKK hood they'd have gotten their asses kicked.

The fact that this dude did this at 25 and thought they were good pics for a year book say a lot about him.  He needs to go. 

 
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Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
The irony is that in order to win his election, he painted his opponent Ed Gillespie as a racist.
Well, from all appearances, he probably wasn't wrong on that point. And how badly was Gillespie's campaign run not to out this during the election? Unless Gillespie didn't want to get into that war......

I don't know where the line is on age/distance-in-time for stuff like this (& I also believe people can change), but this is a horrible look for Northam and I suspect it may cost him his job. All of his support came from NOVA, Richmond, and parts of Tidewater - white liberal & minority enclaves.

I see Kamala Harris has already asked him to step down.

 

AAABatteries

Footballguy
Otis said:
Srsly?  One might argue it’s more persecuted.  Your missteps from nearly 40 years ago are being aired on international television?
Maybe the two of us just have completely different views on what being persecuted means.  I don’t consider losing your high profile governorship being persecuted.  He leads an entire state - he won’t be able to do so effectively after this.  If this was your or me then I think an apology would be fine and wouldn’t say we should resign or lose our jobs.

 

brun

Footballguy
Unless the picture is one of multiple examples of racist actions that have continued into his public service, I don't care all that much.

I wonder how Jewish people feel about Prince Harry?

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
IvanKaramazov said:
but I agree with Otis that there should be a statue (TM) of limitations on stupid and racist behavior.  
But the question becomes at what point does it become a mute point?

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
This wasn't just racist remarks made by a teen being an idiot with friends.  This guy was 25 years old and his remarks were made by putting racist pictures in his yearbook.    The guy may not be racist any longer but he can't be governor of a state.   

 

Otis

Footballguy
This wasn't just racist remarks made by a teen being an idiot with friends.  This guy was 25 years old and his remarks were made by putting racist pictures in his yearbook.    The guy may not be racist any longer but he can't be governor of a state.   
Another question: are we sure that what he did was "racist"?  Maybe he had no ill will whatsoever against black people?  Maybe they were making fun of the klansman?  Is there a chance this was just incredibly stupid and insensitive, but not necessarily racist?

 

GroveDiesel

Footballguy
I would lean towards forgive and move on, but I would think that any apology needs to include an explanation as well. I think "I screwed up and I'm sorry" doesn't go far enough when it's found out that a guy nicknamed "Coonman" is photographed either in blackface or dressed as the KKK and then CHOOSES to have that photo represent him in his medical school photo.

This wasn't just one mis-judgement. Dressing up like that is pretty terrible. But CHOOSING to be represented by that photo in a yearbook is much more troubling IMO and needs some further explanation about his thought process behind that choice.

 

jonessed

Footballguy
It wasn’t OK to be a blatant racist in the 80’s either.

That picture and the context is horrendous.  Comparing it to a racist remark is ridiculous.

His political career is over.  Good riddance.

 
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Otis

Footballguy
I would lean towards forgive and move on, but I would think that any apology needs to include an explanation as well. I think "I screwed up and I'm sorry" doesn't go far enough when it's found out that a guy nicknamed "Coonman" is photographed either in blackface or dressed as the KKK and then CHOOSES to have that photo represent him in his medical school photo.

This wasn't just one mis-judgement. Dressing up like that is pretty terrible. But CHOOSING to be represented by that photo in a yearbook is much more troubling IMO and needs some further explanation about his thought process behind that choice.
Agree with this.  Seems really bizarre that he hasn’t addressed the motivation/how the hell it got into his yearbook.  Some editor also must have looked at it and OKd it too.  Wtf?

 

Capella

CAPELLODINHO
Another question: are we sure that what he did was "racist"?  Maybe he had no ill will whatsoever against black people?  Maybe they were making fun of the klansman?  Is there a chance this was just incredibly stupid and insensitive, but not necessarily racist?
Nah

 

Ranethe

Footballguy
I bet for a lot of people 1984 was in fact really a different time. If you look at racial and gender diversity in the workplace, equal pay, etc, we have come light years even since then, no?

It seems we all agree that around 1960 was a different time, but some are saying that around 1980 was not?  Why is that?  And where in that continuum is the difference between ok and not ok?
I was graduating college in 1984. It was a different time but not a different time, if that makes any sense. For every guy like him who was engaging in this racist BS there were 10000 guys that knew better and weren’t. It’s no excuse. I grew up in the 60’s-70’s with racist parents and I knew better even as a kid. 

No excuses. We’re the good guys, let’s practice what we preach. Let the right wingers collect all the corrupt, misogynist, and racist, let them keep blaming it on political correctness. 

It bugs me that this kind of behavior continually gets written off as somehow “consistent with the era” and it’s therefore somehow not deserving of condemnation. By the mid 80’s everyone should have known better.

 

GoBirds

Footballguy
I was graduating college in 1984. It was a different time but not a different time, if that makes any sense. For every guy like him who was engaging in this racist BS there were 10000 guys that knew better and weren’t. It’s no excuse. I grew up in the 60’s-70’s with racist parents and I knew better even as a kid. 

No excuses. We’re the good guys, let’s practice what we preach. Let the right wingers collect all the corrupt, misogynist, and racist, let them keep blaming it on political correctness. 

It bugs me that this kind of behavior continually gets written off as somehow “consistent with the era” and it’s therefore somehow not deserving of condemnation. By the mid 80’s everyone should have known better.
Take it to the PSF version fella. 

 

parasaurolophus

Footballguy


I was graduating college in 1984. It was a different time but not a different time, if that makes any sense. For every guy like him who was engaging in this racist BS there were 10000 guys that knew better and weren’t. It’s no excuse. I grew up in the 60’s-70’s with racist parents and I knew better even as a kid. 

No excuses. We’re the good guys, let’s practice what we preach. Let the right wingers collect all the corrupt, misogynist, and racist, let them keep blaming it on political correctness. 

It bugs me that this kind of behavior continually gets written off as somehow “consistent with the era” and it’s therefore somehow not deserving of condemnation. By the mid 80’s everyone should have known better.
Yet truly tasteless joke books were a new york times best seller...

Eta: oops didnt mean to quote capella..

 
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Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
I bet for a lot of people 1984 was in fact really a different time. If you look at racial and gender diversity in the workplace, equal pay, etc, we have come light years even since then, no?

It seems we all agree that around 1960 was a different time, but some are saying that around 1980 was not?  Why is that?  And where in that continuum is the difference between ok and not ok?
Agreed workplace diversity and such has improved.

In 1984, we knew without question "dressing up" with KKK outfits and blackface was MILES over the line. Even for a prank. 

To think it was ok to put in the school yearbook is unfathomable. 

 

KarmaPolice

Footballguy
Posted in the other thread specifically about this guy.  

In general, I would say they should be held accountable.  However, to me that is different than being instantly mobbed and called to be fired like happens in a lot of these cases.  Way too much of this online call out culture.  

 

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