A Virginia state senator now has a blackface scandal after it was discovered he was an editor of a Virginia Military Institute (VMI) yearbook loaded with photos of students in blackface and disturbing racial slurs.
The Virginian Pilot reports State Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R) is listed as the managing editor of the 1968 VMI yearbook, which is named The Bomb. Coincidentally, 1968 is the same year the prestigious institution first permitted Black individuals to enroll as students.
Images of white students posing in blackface appear on several pages of the yearbook, including this one from a Halloween party:
The wording on the pages is even worse. The New York Post writes one student of Thai descent is identified as a "c***k," and the word "n****r" is printed on numerous occasions.
On Thursday, Norment issued a statement insisting he was not in any of the photos in The Bomb and that he celebrated the school's 1968 integration.
Statement of Senator Norment pic.twitter.com/oDxbcIOQN0— Tommy Norment (@TommyNorment) February 7, 2019
"The use of blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it," his statement read. "As one of the seven working on the 359-page yearbook, I cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry or word on each page. However, I am not in any of the photos referenced on page 822 or 122, nor did I take any of the photos in question."
"As my comment on page 236 notes, I supported the integration of VMI."
The response from Sen. Norment reflects a similar reaction from Governor Ralph Northam (D), who was caught up in a blackface scandal of his own.
As Blavity previously reported, Governor Northam was identified as one of the individuals who dressed in blackface in a 1984 yearbook while studying at Eastern Virginia Medical School. After first admitting that he was in the photo, Northam then retracted his statement and instead claimed it wasn't him.
The revelations of white politicians in Virginia having posed in blackface has rattled the Commonwealth's political environment.
On Wednesday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) revealed he was once a blackface enthusiast, as well, donning makeup to impersonate a rapper in 1980 as a student at the University of Virginia.
A photo published in a University of Richmond yearbook from that same year shows racism was a feature across campus. The picture in question depicts a Black man cheerfully raising a glass as white men wearing KKK outfits surround him. Attorney General Herring earned his law degree from the University of Richmond.
*UPDATED*— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) February 7, 2019
Blackface politicians so far –
➡️ 1/24: Michael Ertel (R), FL Secretary of State
➡️ 2/1: Ralph Northam (D), VA Governor
➡️ 2/5: Anthony Sabitini (R), FL State Representative
➡️ 2/6: Mark Herring (D), VA Attorney General
➡️ 2/7: Tommy Norment (R), VA State Senator
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