Not just a South­ern thing

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE - THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Her­ring’s ad­mis­sion that as a 19-year-old in 1980 he wore what could be con­sid­ered black­face may be a bless­ing in dis­guise.

Com­ing just days af­ter the rev­e­la­tion of a racist photo in Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 med­i­cal school year­book, it pro­vides all Amer­i­cans the op­por­tu­nity to pause and think through what truly ought to con­sti­tute a fir­ing of­fense in pub­lic life.

By just about any ac­count, Northam’s photo of a man in Ku Klux Klan at­tire along­side an­other wear­ing black­face is shame­ful and racist; his con­tra­dic­tory ex­pla­na­tions make mat­ters worse. There’s a case to be made that, through his strange dis­sem­bling, he has for­feited the trust of Vir­gini­ans.

Her­ring, on the other hand, ad­mit­ted to dress­ing up like New York rap­per Kur­tis Blow at a party once. Disqual­i­fy­ing? We don’t see it.

Mean­while, re­call: Here in di­verse New York, for­mer As­sem­bly­man Dov Hikind, who went out in odi­ous black­face on Purim, re­jected calls to re­sign and won re-elec­tion. Our hands are hardly clean.

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