Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Refuses to Step Down Over Blackface Scandal

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at a news conference in Beauregard, Ala., on March 4, 2019. Ivey is apologizing after a radio interview described her wearing blackface during a college skit in the 1960s.

Another day, another politician who refuses to atone for their racist past.

Last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey became front-page news when audio from a 1967 radio interview resurfaced. In the interview, Ben LaRavia, her fiancé at the time, recalled Ivey performing in “blue coveralls” with “black paint all over her face” in her starring role as a racist-ass racist in the Baptist Student Union’s minstrel show.

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In her efforts to save face, the 74-year-old issued an apology for the “pain and embarrassment” she caused:

“I offer my heartfelt apologies for my participation in something from 52 years ago,” she said. “I will do all I can―going forward―to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s.”

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Unfortunately for her constituents, their current governor was bred from the Alabama of the 1960s. So despite their pleas for her to resign, Ivey has made it explicitly clear that that ain’t gonna happen.

“Heavens no, I’m not going to resign. That’s something that happened 52 years ago and I’m not that person,” she told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Huffington Post. “My administration stands on being inclusive and helping people.”

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It also stands on defending Confederate monuments, but I digress.

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“Racism—in any of its forms—is never acceptable, not in the 1960s and not now,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell tweeted after the audio of Ivey’s prior exploits surfaced. “Governor Ivey’s actions were reprehensible and are deeply offensive. Her words of apology ring hollow if not met with real action to bridge the racial divide.”

Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam opted to read Roots instead of stepping down after the Ghost of Blackface Past came and knocked on his door and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring exercised his pigment-given right to remain in office after revealing his own flirtation with blackface in the past. So with a precedent set and assuming this is now par for the course, it’s only a matter of time before another public official unveils their own past and compromises their ability to serve their constituency.

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America, ladies, and gentlemen.

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About the author

Jay Connor

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.