Everyone should be held accountable for their past

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Racism has spanned for centuries, whether it has been directly presented or unknowingly passed along. Even though countries have tried to eradicate it, there are some things that cannot be ignored or overlooked.

Recently, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has encountered controversy for having a picture in his medical school yearbook from 1984 of him either wearing black face or being dressed as a member of the Klu Klux Klan, the notoriously racist supremacist group that was prominent in America post-Civil War.

“Racism is still very alive,” AP world history teacher Elizabeth Russell said. “The fact that there are people (in the government) who have public pictures of them with black face should be a red flag.”

Teachers aren’t the only ones to have strong opinions on the situation. Students are divided on the topic of whether or not Northam should stay in office.

“Think of it this way: What if you found out that the cashier at WalMart was a pedophile?” sophomore Skye Handley said. “Why is racism any different?”

Handley believes that Americans should make careful judgment about those who are in power.

“If someone fails a background check, it makes it hard for them to get a job,” Handley said. “If you used to steal, people judge you for that. If you used to act racist, the same should happen.”

Northam first confirmed, then denied that the picture is of him. However, he has admitted that he wore black paint on his face to portray celebrity Michael Jackson.

“Oh, he was Michael Jackson! Is that supposed to make it all right?” Russell said. “People used to paint their faces black and act dumb to portray African Americans as if they were daft. Those memories are still left behind from that. So, no, it’s not okay.”

Northam has said that he will not resign from his position, leaving many people feeling unsatisfied.

“I just want a (political leader) who isn’t a jerk,” sophomore Hannah Guiseppe said. “It shouldn’t be so hard for people to shut up and not be racist.”

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