Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is embattled, to say the least. His blackface controversy has captured national attention and dominated the 24 hour new cycle. There is a heated race between Northam, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring over who will get impeached first. Northam is adamant he is not leaving. What does his advisors do as Northam fights for his political life? They recommend he read Roots by Alex Haley and The Case For Reparations – an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates, formerly of The Atlantic:
Additionally, his advisers have assigned the governor homework: He’s begun to read Alex Haley’s “Roots”, and “The Case for Reparations,” the seminal essay in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
It all begs the question, “Are Ralph Northam’s advisors sabotaging him?” Roots is an excellent book. It traces Alex Haley’s roots from Africa to slavery in the state of Virginia. Roots is a well-known story. If Northam needs to understand slavery or why wearing blackface is wrong then he is too far gone anyway.
The book Northam’s advisors should have recommended is Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead by Ralph W. Baker, Jr. Mr. Baker hales from Prince Edward County, VA, attended Prince Edward County High School, Hampden-Sydney College (’89) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (’93). Northam is at a crossroads in his political career and only a fellow-Virginian can save him.