Alabama governor doesn’t plan to resign over blackface skit
|Toronto Star 03 Sep 2019 at 14:35|
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday that she should not have worn blackface in a college skit decades ago, but she does not plan to resign over something that happened so long in the past.
In her first public appearance since issuing a public apology last week, Ivey reiterated that she was wrong to appear in the skit over 50 years ago and that it does not reflect who she is today. The Republican governor said she has no plans to quit.
“Heavens no, I’m not going to resign. It’s something that happened 52 years ago and I’m not that person. My administration stands on being inclusive and helping people,” the Republican governor said.
Ivey last week apologized after a 1967 college radio interview surfaced of her then-fiance Ben LaRavia describing her wearing “black paint all over her face” in a skit called “Cigar Butts” at skit night at the Baptist Student Union. Her office released the recording after university officials discovered it while working on a project to preserve old university records.
“I didn’t remember being at the Baptist Student Union in any kind of skit like that for sure. But I’ve apologized for it. I should not have done that. I know it’s important to apologize to the people of Alabama,” Ivey said Tuesday.
Ivey’s public apology drew a mixed reaction.
The Alabama NAACP on Friday called on Ivey to resign. The group noted some of her actions as governor, including signing into law legislation that protected Confederate monuments and any other historic statues from being torn down.
Alabama Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, who is African American, said he appreciated Ivey “owning” the incident and apologizing for it.
Ivey said Tuesday that she has mostly received positive reactions.
Ivey is the latest politician to face scrutiny over wearing blackface decades ago. A racist photo in the medical school yearbook of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam led to calls for his resignation. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also acknowledged wearing blackface in college.
The skit, which appeared to have taken place in 1967, came three years after the first African American student entered Auburn and six years after segregationist Gov. George Wallace’s infamous stand in the school house door to try to block the entry of two African American students at the University of Alabama.
In the radio interview, LaRavia brought up the skit when asked by the interviewer to share their “most hilarious moments” from the skit night. LaRavia said if they ever forget their college days, “all we’d need to do is come back to the Auburn BSU and look at some of those pictures they took that night and I understand we would be quite humbled at this.”