Gov Northam’s wife caught in her own race scandal, accused of handing out ‘raw cotton’ to black students

CHILHOWIE, VIRGINIA - FEBRUARY 09: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, and his wife Pam, left, leave the funeral of fallen Virginia State Trooper Lucas B. Dowell after the church service for the funeral at the Chilhowie Christian Church on February 9, 2019 in Chilhowie, Virginia. (Photo by Steve Helber - Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Helber – Pool/Getty Images)

The wife of blackface-sporting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appears to now be ensnared in her own race scandal, thanks entirely to the allegedly disturbing behavior she exhibited when a group of eighth-grade students toured Virginia’s historical Executive Mansion where she and her husband reside.

While hosting the tour on Feb. 21, first lady Pam Northam allegedly handed cotton to the daughter of black state employee Leah Dozier Walker, who oversees the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at the Virginia Department of Education, and her friends. All three are black. She then allegedly asked the three to imagine being forced to pick cotton as a slave.

To some members of the far-left, this behavior reeks of the same racial insensitivity displayed by Northam’s husband, who admitted last month to having worn blackface in times past:

Others have pushed back against the complaint, including Republicans.

Republican state Sen. William M. Stanley, whose daughter also attended the tour, confirmed that, according to his daughter, Northam handed cotton to every student, not just the black ones.

“The first lady’s intent was to show the horrors of slavery and to make sure everyone felt the pain they felt in some small measure,” he said to The Washington Post.

Walker has claimed otherwise.

“Pam Northam — a former middle school teacher — took groups of pages to an adjacent cottage that had long ago served as a kitchen,” the Post reported. “Before a huge fireplace with iron cooking implements, Pam Northam held up samples of cotton and tobacco to a group of about 20 children and described the enslaved workers who picked it.”

“Mrs. Northam then asked these three pages (the only African American pages in the program) if they could imagine what it must have been like to pick cotton all day,” Walker reportedly wrote in a complaint to lawmakers. “I can not for the life of me understand why the first lady would single out the African American pages for this — or — why she would ask them such an insensitive question.”

“I will give you the benefit of the doubt, because you gave it to some other pages,” Walker’s daughter wrote in a letter addressed to Northam. “But you followed this up by asking: ‘Can you imagine being an enslaved person, and having to pick this all day?’, which didn’t help the damage you had done.”

Others share this sentiment:

Northam has for her part apologized for what happened.

“I regret that I have upset anyone,” she reportedly said. “I am still committed to chronicling the important history of the Historic Kitchen, and will continue to engage historians and experts on the best way to do so in the future.”

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Walker’s not convinced.

“The Governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the residents of the Commonwealth to forgive them for their racially insensitive past actions,” she reportedly said. “But the actions of Mrs. Northam, just last week, do not lead me to believe that this Governor’s office has taken seriously the harm and hurt they have caused African Americans in Virginia or that they are deserving of our forgiveness.”

Not everybody shares this perspective. Some believe Northam had nothing to apologize for and that a history lesson is a history lesson, regardless of the recipients of said lesson:

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Vivek Saxena

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