Virginia AG, Third in Line for Governor, Admits Wearing Blackface in 1980
By Ella Torres
Virginia's Attorney General, Mark Herring, admitted that he dressed in blackface in 1980 during college, he said Wednesday.
"Some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song. It sounds ridiculous even now writing it," Herring wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. "But because of ignorance and glib attitudes _ and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others _ we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup."
Herring said it was a "onetime occurrence" and he accepts full responsibility.
He also noted that "honest" conversations in the days ahead will make it clear whether or not he can continue to serve as attorney general, a position he has held since 2014.
"That I have contributed to the pain Virginians have felt this week is the greatest shame I have ever felt," the Democrat said.
The news of Herring dressing in blackface comes on the heels of current governor Ralph Northam refusing to resign after a photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook page was released showing two men _ one in blackface and the other wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
Northam, who originally said he was in the photo, later said at a press conference that he didn't think he was either of the people in the image. He did acknowledge that in 1984 he darkened his face for a Michael Jackson costume.
"Today I am not ready to ask Virginians for forgiveness for my past actions," the 59-year-old Democrat said. "Right now I am simply asking for the opportunity to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person I was is not the man I am today."
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