Despite calls for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign, he’s refused and instead gone on an apology tour where he has vowed to make “racial reconciliation” a focal point. AG Mark Herring’s Kurtis Blow blackface admission is seemingly viewed as less troublesome than Northam’s for political reasons.
But as for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who has also been called on to resign, the issue is more complicated. Not because of any serious debate over guilt or innocence, but because of identity politics.
The New York Times published a report today which details the anguish Democratic women and members of the black community are dealing with over Fairfax:
To Constance Cordovilla, the president of the Virginia National Organization for Women, the two sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax are not just grounds for him to resign — the detailed claims also demand that women side with his accusers.
But to Khadijah Vasser, a 23-year-old employee at the Virginia Bar Association and recent University of Virginia graduate, the matter is less clear-cut.
“I think it’s really unreasonable to ask him to resign so early without having a thorough investigation,” Ms. Vasser said of Mr. Fairfax, who denies both claims.
Privately, Democratic lawmakers have been more candid with one another: A Northern Virginia legislator who had planned to file impeachment articles against Mr. Fairfax this week backed off after a handful of African-American members implored him, on a Sunday night conference call that grew tense, to keep the issue out of the legislative domain.
Chelsea Higgs Wise, a social justice activist who is black, said that she had campaigned for both Mr. Northam and Mr. Fairfax and that this was tearing her apart.
On the one hand, she said she felt it was important to believe sexual assault survivors and make sure they were heard, more so when they are black because their stories are often ignored. But she also had to consider the context of how the American justice system treats African-Americans, she said.
“It really is a terrible position to be in,” said Ms. Wise, 34, “to believe women, but to also uphold blackness as a priority.”
Yes, how truly awful it is to be in the position of having to 1) chose whether to believe an alleged sexual assault victim based on their sex/race (versus making a judgment call after a careful review of all available information), and having to 2) decide which to judge a man by: the content of his character or the color of his skin.
It’s too bad for Virginia Democrats that Fairfax isn’t a white Republican or a Trump judicial nominee. Then they could ditch their newfound superficial respect for due process and just go for the jugular.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–