The state’s new Commission on African American History Education met today in Charlottesville, and Governor Ralph Northam was on hand to support its members.
Ralph Northam says he’s been listening and learning a lot since the public discovered a racist photo in his medical school year book, and he’s all for educating Virginia’s children about African-American history.
"In order for us to move forward, we have to tell the truth. We have to know the truth, and it starts with educating our children," he stated. "That’s what this is about – reaching out to our classrooms, looking at our curriculum, looking at who’s going to teach and how they’re prepared, having the necessary tools to do that accurately."
Northam said he was personally struck by how expressions of racism in our culture have changed.
"The understanding is that when slavery ended that that went away," Northam began. "Then we had Jim Crow and then we had massive resistance, and now we are dealing with mass incarceration, and so the concept of black oppression continues today. It’s just in a different form."
The governor claimed ending mass incarceration was a priority, but he said nothing about reinstating parole, and he called for environmental justice – ensuring poor communities of color did not get stuck with the poisons produced by an industrial society. Asked if he opposed Dominion’s plan for a massive compressor station in Union Hill, a predominantly black community in Buckingham County, Northam would only say he wanted to be fair, and that the decision might be made in court or by federal agencies.