This is a tale of two Virginias.
Over the past 10 days, the state of Virginia has fallen from its eventual grace of solidifying coveted blue state status for all the bleeding heart liberals to morphing into a raging political dumpster fire.
Do you know how many times I’ve heard someone seriously ponder aloud, “What the fuck is going on in Virginia” over the last week and a half? Rhetorical. It’s been a lot. A LOT.
A state that’s transitioned from solid red to blue over the past few decades has supplemented its resume.
It’s added a Democratic governor who wasn’t only a physician, but also, moonlighted as a jovial blackfaced white supremacist. Any white person who thinks it’s no big deal to don such theatrics, even in jest, is riddled with a superiority complex. Ralph Northam’s apparent history of latent racism, in conjunction with taking the Hippocratic Oath, comes with a whole other set of (extremely dangerous) problems, as he likely treated and advised Black patients over the course of his medical career. He who confirmed, then denied, then confirmed again, that it was, in fact, really he who painted his face with black shoe-polish. This same man has now “committed” himself to focusing the remainder of his term on “racial equity.” I find his sentiments to be pretty presumptuous as his resignation has already been called for and the completion of his term is not guaranteed.
Adding insult to injury, his would-be predecessor and Black lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax –who I was rooting for–has been accused of sexual assault and rape by two women. And I’m always inclined to believe the victim over the accused.
I won’t even start on Mark Herring.
How did Virginia turn into the meeting place for the Sons of the Confederacy and men who ignore the nuance of consent at the same damn time?
I need to know Who Got Next?? I’m Black and I’m a woman. I can no longer rock with any of these motherfuckers in good faith.
For those confused folk asking, “WTF is wrong with Virginia?“
In the infamous words of the King of Pop, It’s Black. It’s White.
I have lived in VA for most of my natural life. Half in what will forever be solid red state Virginia, the southwestern region. The other half in “DMV” Virginia. But don’t get it twisted. Northern Virginia is still The South.
This is Tale of Two Cities shit.
Virginia is a dichotomy. There’s VA after you hit 66-East and there’s VA after you hit 81-South.
Let me help you. In the part of Virginia I’m from, we were granted a week off for hunting season when I was in elementary school. It was part of our physical education program to learn the Virginia reel. This was a popular folk-dance dating back to the 17th century, better known as the 1600s–when tricking and forcing Black people into legal slavery was picking up momentum. In the 90s, rednecks from my high school drove to school in their pick-up trucks, Confederate flags arbitrarily splashed across windows, rifles conspicuously displayed from the gun mount inside their vehicles.
Quiet as it’s kept, you can still see shit like this if you go to Manassas, VA. However, I personally believe that Northern Virginians don’t actually consider any city past Fairfax in the direction of 66-West to be part of NOVA.
Certainly, while Virginia may be for lovers, it’s also for crazed, egomaniacal white supremacists and racists.
Growing up in rural Virginia, Black friends recounted tales of having the backs of their seats kicked on the bus ride to school and being called “nigger” by their white counterparts. The same kids they shared homeroom and classrooms with.
I was once called “nigger” by a white boy named Scott. I was at a football game on a Friday night minding my magical Black business. I was stumped—really more shocked than anything that the epithet would fly out of his mouth, because in passing, we’d always been cool. I didn’t know what to say or do. Making matters worse, my very visibly Black step-cousin shucked and jived, defending Scott’s disrespectful way of addressing me by iterating that he was drunk.
I wouldn’t be stumped about what to do or say today, believe that. And if the right people had been around in that moment years ago, I cannot say for certain that Scott would have lived to see Saturday morning.
I was at school lunch when OJ Simpson was acquitted of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. While OJ easily slid his Blackness to the backburner, the white kids at my school—who I deem legacy racists—did not. Their disgust was evident in my acquaintance’s retelling of hearing the n-word throughout the halls that day.
It was not uncommon to hear these children speaking of their or their parents’ affiliations with the Ku Klux Klan. Yet, they would still fraternize with Black kids as if their forefathers and fathers didn’t don white hoods to terrorize and instill fear in Black people.
One Saturday night, I’d gone out with my prom date from sophomore year, along with his two brothers. We’d piled into his silver mustang and driven down to what my classmates affectionately called “the river”, a section of the New River which flows through North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. It was a popular hang-out amongst local kids who attended my high school, Grayson County High. Frankly, there wasn’t shit else to do. At one point, during our excursion into the night, my date reached across my lap to assure me that if “they” got out of hand, he was equipped to handle it. The “they” he spoke of were not people cloaked in rich melanin like us. He opened the glove compartment to reveal a handgun. Most women would have been afraid. I felt safer. I understood the nature of my surroundings.
While the state I call home has given us hell these past couple of weeks–and well, literally for centuries, because slavery–I urge you to take a moment to reflect. Let’s remember all the grand things Virginia has bestowed upon us making the world a more tolerable place:
- The Powhatan people are originally from Virginia. Black slaves who escaped commonly joined, and were welcomed by, the Powhatan.
- It’s a Commonwealth. C’mon, that’s gotta count for something. There’re only three others.
- Missy Elliott. One of the most innovative female forces in Hip-Hop EVER.
- Pharrell/The Neptunes/Clipse.
- Ol’ Virginny is within a day’s drive of 50% of the United States population. Fifty. Percent. You have zero excuses not to get together and do hoodrat stuff with your friends.
- There are mountains and beaches. We also have Luray Caverns.
- WAPO once called us the best state in America. I’m serious. Look it up.
- If you want a fantastic education, V-A is the place to B-E. Whether you’re an undergrad or an under-undergrad.
- Virginia wine country. The opportunities to visit someone’s large piece of land and drink yourself into a stupor damn near any day of the week are endless. Virginia is like the Napa Valley of the Mid-Atlantic.
- Healthcare facilities not too shabby, either. If you do drink yourself into a stupor, there’s a nearby hospital with world-renowned practitioners who can pump your stomach or find some other way to treat your over-drinking.
- As evidenced by previous scenarios here, you can either ante up (think DMV) or go off the grid (think rural VA) never to be seen or heard from again, if you so choose.
I recommend you hold onto these for a rainy day. I feel a bullshit storm coming.