Ed Boesch, Silver Spring
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ’s blackface scandal puts ABC and NBC in very difficult positions. After all, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, their respective late-night stars, each dressed in blackface earlier in their careers. In fact, Mr. Kimmel has done it repeatedly for the purpose of mocking black people. If appearing in blackface is so grotesquely racist, is so overtly offensive and warrants immediate resignation or dismissal, as we are now being told it is by many political figures and the media, how can the networks possibly sit back and not take action against them? What would it say about ABC and NBC if they allowed their stars to remain at the networks? If the networks don’t terminate their employment, would it not mean that they condone or are complicit in offensive, racist behavior?
And for all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls who have aggressively demanded that Northam resign over his racist conduct, can we assume that none of them will appear on Mr. Kimmel’s or Mr. Fallon’s shows to promote their candidacies? After all, to do so would be to demonstrate the very worst kind of rank hypocrisy, grotesque double standards and selective moral outrage — and prove that being two-faced is as offensive as being “blackfaced.”
Michael J. DiStefano, Jamestown, R.I.
I have admired Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) from his first days as a state senator. I admired him for his military service and his chosen profession as a pediatric neurologist. Without fail, he has proved to be a dedicated public servant who genuinely cares about his constituents. He has been a champion in gun-violence prevention, standing up for bills that would make us all safer.
I worked on his campaign for governor and was proud to attend his inauguration. And, while I don’t believe that he is racist, his actions were confusing, and he must start thinking clearly about what is best for the commonwealth of Virginia. How can we begin to heal and move forward? How can we preserve the progress we have made — that Mr. Northam has helped make? He said stepping down would be the easy way out, and he wanted to do the hard work and reflection required instead. But this isn’t about Mr. Northam. It’s about the rest of us. And we need to get past this.
I hope his final act as governor is one in which we can all be proud. He should do what is best for the state, for its people and for democracy and resign.
Martina Leinz, Burke