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Dr. Thomas writes about blackface controversy in Columbia Journalism Review

Feb 22, 2019

Posted in: News

By Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Associate Director

Thomas, Clarence
Dr. Clarence Thomas

Dr. Clarence Thomas, associate professor in the Robertson School, contributed to an article in the Columbia Journalism Review about the blackface scandal in Virginia. In the article "Virginia blackface scandal: Journalists share their experiences," Thomas wrote that "Reporters have failed to adequately scrutinize the blackface racism story in at least two ways. First, the current Northam blackface scandal might have been preempted if reporters had been more diligent and inquisitive during the Virginia gubernatorial race. In other words, the story should have been covered before Northam became Governor, while he was running."

He added: "Secondly, although the blackface story is a big one, the Northam yearbook pictures included blackface and KKK pictures. While blackface pictures are offensive and might hurt the feelings of African-Americans, the KKK is a terrorist organization that has killed people. Reporters should have also given more coverage and examination to the KKK aspect of the story."

On Monday, Feb. 25, Thomas will moderate a panel discussion as part of the Robertson School's Speaker Series, titled “Blackface, the scandal and the media: A discussion about racism in Virginia,” that will feature Richmond-area journalists and VCU faculty members. The event will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the University Student Commons Theater, 907 Floyd Ave.