Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Dangers of "Presentism"

I explain to my students that "presentism" projects modern values and ideas into the past, often for political purposes.  But this scandal described in the 2/2/19 Daily Mail just confuses me:
  • Democrat Governor Northam's 1984 yearbook page was revealed on Friday
  • Shows a man in blackface and another in an KKK hood amid other photos of him
  • Northam, 59, confirms that one of the men is him, but did not say which one 
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam now denies appearing in a racist photograph that he on Friday apologized for.'
The 59-year-old from Nassawadox has done a complete about face according to a fellow Virginia Democrat who spoke to the Associated Press off the record about a private conversation that had occurred.
If this had been in 1934 or 1954, or even 1964, he couldf argue that he was a victim of the times and the values in which he grew up.  But 1984?  Sorry, no pass.  Trump is accused of racism for things far less serious.  So will a Democrat be given a pass because  he supports post-birth abortion (isn't that infanticide?)

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