Yet Another Virginia Politician Is Embroiled in a Blackface Yearbook Scandal

Illustration for article titled Yet Another Virginia Politician Is Embroiled in a Blackface Yearbook Scandalem/em
Photo: Steve Helber (AP Photo)

Another day, another Virginia elected official tied to a horribly racist, ever-expanding scandal.

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Republican Virginia state Sen. Tommy Norment, the majority leader of the chamber, was the managing editor of Virginia Military Institute’s yearbook, The Bomb, in 1968. In this edition, which can be viewed online here, The Bomb featured three pictures of white men in blackface, the n-word, and a variety of anti-Semitic slurs and racist slurs, including “chink” and “Jap.” A caption under one picture reads: “He was known as the ‘Barracks Jew’ having his fingers in the finances of the entire Corps.” The yearbook’s racist overtures—and Norment’s connection to it—were first reported by the Virginian-Pilot on Thursday.

Illustration for article titled Yet Another Virginia Politician Is Embroiled in a Blackface Yearbook Scandalem/em
Screenshot: The Bomb
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Asked by reporters why he included the racist remarks and photos, Norment refused to respond directly.

“The only thing I’m talking about today is the budget,” Norment, who wrote a brief editor’s note in the yearbook, told the Pilot. “I’m here to pass a budget today.”

At this point, it is entirely unclear which men in Virginia if any, are fit to serve in public office, as this is just the latest scandal in a bizarre yet unsurprising week in Virginia politics.

Last Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, came under fire when the right-wing site Big League Politics and then the Pilot reported Northam’s medical school yearbook page featured a photo of a white man in blackface and another white man in a KKK outfit. Northam has so far refused calls to resign.

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Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is the focal point of a troubling sexual assault allegation by Dr. Vanessa Tyson, who in a public statement yesterday alleged that Fairfax assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Fairfax has repeatedly denied the accusations, though on Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Scott admitted that he had been aware of the allegation. Then there’s Attorney General Mark Herring, the next in the line of succession, who admitted on Wednesday that he also dressed up in “brown makeup” when attending a 1980s costume party.

As a quick but necessary reminder: It’s only been six days since the dominos started to fall. Virginia may be out of politicians by the end of the month.

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