Entertainment

'SNL' Takes on the Absurd, Offensive Virginia Political Scandal

If you haven't been following the ridiculous string of scandals rocking the Virginia state government right now, it's a good reminder that Richmond was, in fact, the capital of the Confederacy. A photo from Governor Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook, which shows him in blackface standing next to a person dressed in a Ku Klux Klan uniform, surfaced recently, eliciting calls for him to resign. In an unsolicited twist, Attorney General Mark Herring then announced that he also dressed in blackface in 1980. On top of that, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, which he has denied. If you're running PR for Virginia Democrats right now, your job is very, very difficult. 

That's the setup for this sketch, in which Kenan Thompson plays the Chair of the Ethics Committee, who's tasked with asking if anyone else in the Virginia state government wore blackface in the past. Even if it was a part of a costume. Even if it was in the 1980s. Especially if your costume was Al Jolson. Unfortunately, it turns out that every single person in the 

It's cringeworthy, mostly because the actual scandal is a depressing reminder that America hasn't really come close to dealing with either the casual or the deep-seated racism that defines much of the nation's history. The lesson, because it seems like some people need to actually hear it explicitly: Don't wear blackface. Ever. For any reason.  

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Wes Rendar is a writer and Saturday Night Live expert.