Illustration for article titled Jerry Falwell Jr. Reveals Blackface Mask Mocking Virginia’s Face Mask Requirement
Photo: Nicholas Kamm (AFP/Getty Images)

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. is an entire moron.

The man who has appeared to be opposed to social distancing guidelines and public health measures since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic thought it was a good idea to express his opposition to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s order requiring Virginia citizens to wear face masks by revealing a mask of his own design—one with an image of Northam in blackface next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan robe.


“I was adamantly opposed to the mandate from @GovernorVA requiring citizens to wear face masks until I decided to design my own. If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it!” he tweeted Wednesday.


First of all: Can we just acknowledge that the conservative resistance to wearing face masks makes no sense? This isn’t like the push to reopen the economy because, for all of that campaign’s faults, it’s at least about getting people back to work. The anti-face mask thing, on the other hand, just seems like arbitrary defiance for the sake of defiance. It’s just odd that all of these Republican officials, including y’all’s president, seem so hellbent on dying on that particular hill. (Editor’s note: Perhaps literally. COVID-19 is not a game.)

Falwell—the man who once had arrest warrants issued for journalists because they were covering his widely criticized decision to reopen Liberty U’s campus despite the dangers of the COVID-19 outbreak—took things a step further by randomly invoking racism to make his point.

For those who are unfamiliar with the story, Northam caught black people’s collective side-eye last year when a photo from Eastern Virginia Medical School’s 1984 yearbook was unearthed, showing him in blackface next to someone in KKK attire. Northam initially apologized for the photo then later denied it was him in the photo at all. This was certainly a drag-worthy offense, but Falwell is still way out of his lane here.

On its face (pun intended), Falwell’s tweet just makes it seem like he’s planning to wear a mask with a Klan member and a white guy in blackface on it. It just looks like him being racist as hell, which is probably why he needed to clarify things in a separate tweet.


“Just so folks outside Virginia unfamiliar with the pic on the mask understand: it is from the personal page of the medical school yearbook of @GovernorVA,” he tweeted. “Just a way to shine a spotlight on the fact that Democrats are and always have been the real racists in this country.”


At the end of the day, most black people who see that mask will likely miss the context and only see the display of blatant racism. That’s how you know Falwell’s post isn’t actually about addressing racism—it’s just about sticking it to Democrats.

According to The Hill, Northam addressed his new face mask policy at a Tuesday press conference saying, “Everything we do affects someone else. I’m asking us all to remember the golden rule: that we should treat each other the way that we want people to treat us.”

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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